Boardwalk Empire: A Gangster’s Paradise

There are few shows on TV right now that are better than, or at least as good as, Boardwalk Empire. The show focuses on the (mis)adventures of Nucky Thompson, a gangster/politician who basically ran Atlantic City during the times of the Prohibition. I have to start off by saying that some of the characters in this show are unbelievably well rounded. The main character himself is an evil doer who breaks the law at whim, but we often also see him helping needy people. And even if sometimes it’s just to further his own purposes, there are many who wouldn’t even do that.

However, I have to admit that some of the episodes are stronger than others, but that is to be expected in just about any TV show. Some of my favorite episodes are those that take place around Lolly’s Casino. I don’t know if it’s the gambler in me, but I just find some of those episodes among the most appealing in the series. Before I get deeper into things, I should also mention that the show is inspired from real life events, but doesn’t mean it follows them to the letter. With that in mind, I am just astounded by the feeling of reality I get from this show.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like that’s actually the way things were back in those days. Lolly’s Casino is an illegal gambling joint and all the stuff that goes on there is just unbelievable. Luckily for me, I have never set foot in such a place. I enjoy going to Atlantic City and spinning the slots a few times a year, but that’s all. And things today are, at least for the most part, a lot more glamorous and, well, legal. But I find myself enraptured with the darkness and the danger of it all. Those people not only gamble with their money, but also with their freedom and lives.

As this is an HBO production, the violence is also very well executed and included in all of the stories. For example, a gang takes everyone hostage in a season 1 episode, which leads to a lot of unexpected and violent events. There are just so many amazing details that I just can’t wait to watch the entire series again. I’m sure there are still a few elements I must have missed.

Now let’s talk a bit about the cast. First of all, Steve Buscemi is an absolutely excellent Nucky Thompson. This guy was born to play amazing parts and, at least in my eyes, he can do no wrong. I love the chemistry he has with his girlfriend and the members of the supporting cast play their parts more than adequately. But even if the cast was weaker, I’d still watch the show, just for the amazing plots and incredible sets. The casino often steals the show for me and I find myself admiring the setting more than the action itself.