At the suggestion of a couple of girlfriends who started watching HBO’s Boardwalk Empire series, I decided to check it out on HBO-On-Demand and immediately became addicted. Having just finished watching 48 hours (not consecutively) encompassing four seasons, I thought by the 48th episode I would know what they did. Instead, I’m left wondering what they’re going to do next. And now I have to wait for Season Five for more of my fix.
The Boardwalk Empire storyline is based on real-life mobster characters in 1920s prohibition-era Atlantic City, Chicago, New York and Philidelphia.Many of the behind-the-scenes players also worked on The Sopranos including Martin Scorcese, Terence Winter, Mark Wahlberg, Tim Van Patten, Lawrence Konner, Howard Korder and Margaret Nagle. The result is an earthy, graphic depiction of the lives of such colourful characters as Nucky Thompson, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Myer Lansky and many others.
If you liked The Sopranos, you’ll love Boardwalk Empire. There’s plenty of sex, booze, drugs, violence, corruption, politics and gripping story lines based loosely on historical events as they happened in the era of Prohibition. While watching the series, I was struck by two things:
1. Business is business. Whether it’s legitimate or illegal, there’s a pronounced hierarchy with everyone’s job description clearly defined and compensation not always fairly administered. A lot of time and effort is spent in meetings negotiating for power and trading territories for profit. Just like in today’s business world, it’s a constant pissing match.
2. Being a bad guy is very stressful. Watching the daily lives of each of the characters reminded me that no matter what job we have in this world, life’s not always fair and the good guy does not always win. While bad guys make their share of inroads it comes at a terrible price. How would you like to be looking over your shoulder every minute of every day looking out for someone to “eliminate” you? There’s an unbelievable amount of job stress associated with killing, stealing and being a bad guy or gal. Think I’ll stay squarely where I am in my life choices—on the right side of the law.
Most of the actors in the series are not particularly familiar faces and not beautiful or handsome by Hollywood standards. Teeth are crooked and bodies are not perfect. Interestingly, authenticity was so accurate that even the bare boobs seem to be real ones not surgically enhanced – i.e. they’re not always huge and not always pert (that alone should get my male readers to watch). And the producers have kept the characters and plots moving through interesting and sometimes shocking changes that are not always sympathetic. The costumes are amazing. Photography is exquisite. The acting is delightful. And I’m going to be seated in the front row to watch the 5th and final season. Can’t wait.