• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 19, 2010
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Boardwalk Empire Image
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 522 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: Atlantic City in the 1920s is the setting for the series based on the book by Nelson Johnson about how the city turned into the infamous gambling locale.
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Boardwalk Empire has everything you'd expect in an HBO drama--sharply drawn characters, large-scale stories intercut with intimate moments and a sense that you couldn't find something like it anywhere else on the guide. It's maybe the best new show HBO has launched in several years.
  2. Watching HBO's new Boardwalk Empire is like sitting in your favorite tavern and hearing someone say, "Drinks are on the house." Friends, it doesn't get much better.
  3. 100
    The characters are unforgettable, and the history, of course, is more entertaining than fiction. The filming of Boardwalk Empire just may be more decadent than the decadence it's celebrating. It's not TV, and it's not really HBO. It's an event, not to be missed.
  4. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    90
    Like a good whiskey, it's rough and smooth in all the right ways. By a few episodes in, you'll want to order it by the case.
  5. Reviewed by: Paul Bullock
    90
    Writer Terence Winter (The Sopranos) delivers the most exciting new series in recent history with Boardwalk Empire, a sweeping Prohibition gangster saga that redefines the boundaries of television storytelling.
  6. 80
    The first six episodes (which I've watched, dutifully at times) draw you in but sometimes feel overstuffed, overproduced and weirdly gauzy where the series means to be an exercise in crisp, razor-sharp filmmaking.
  7. 60
    It's a big production-the first episode alone cost nearly twenty million dollars-and it looks authentic in a way that, paradoxically, seems lifeless. You're constantly aware that you're watching a period piece, albeit one with some vivid scenes and interesting details.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 67
  2. Negative: 11 out of 67
  1. Sep 21, 2010
    10
    The first episode was truly fantastic, and in fact so much more than most mafia movies. The music, atmosphere, setting, seemed truly authentic, and very entertaining. In comparison to many other modern good series, this appeared to be really entertaining after the first 20 minutes, while for others you have to wait for at least two first episodes to get into. I only wish there was more "Omar".. Expand
  2. Dec 13, 2012
    10
    Where the pacing slowed, I found myself immersed in the style. Jimmy Darmody grabbed my attention from the outset and kept me engaged through to the end, even though he wasn't supposed to be the main character. I learnt a few things about the Mob. The plot was highly fictionalized and turned some real life gangsters into mere supporting characters, unable to hold their own against some upcoming politician. I guess that was to be expected if the show had to avoid becoming predictable. I think they should have cast someone more original and engaging for Al Capone, given that he was not a second rate hit-man but arguably the most successful crime boss in history. I liked the portrayals of Luciano, Rothstein and Nucky Thompson. Jimmy's sidekick is also someone to look out for. Expand
  3. Sep 22, 2010
    10
    As a fan of the mafia film genre I would say that Boardwalk Empire does not disapoint. The sets, cast and costume design give the series such an authentic look and feel. I would say that we are only seeing the beginning of what will be a historic series. Expand
  4. Oct 10, 2011
    9
    This is probably the best tv show today. Impeccably written, finely photographed, sharp performances by Buscemi, Pitt and Macdonald and brilliantly directed by Scorsese. Expand
  5. Apr 2, 2012
    8
    First and foremost, the writing on this television program is some of the best I've ever personally seen on the small screen. It's simply prodigious in both quantity and quality. The acting is fantastic. There really isn't a single performance throughout the entire season that I disliked. Perhaps my only criticism of the first twelve episodes is the overall slow, almost snail-like pace in which the story-lines are uncovered. Everything else about the show is great though, the costume & wardrobe departments should hopefully win A LOT of awards! Expand
  6. Apr 2, 2013
    6
    Coming from HBO Boardwalk Empire focuses on Atlantic City in the 1920s. Prohibition has just come into effect and the city's corrupt treasurer Nucky Thompson, seeing a business opportunity, begins working to tighten his already firm grip on the city. Unfortunately for Nucky he will have to deal with equally violent rivals and determined FBI prohibition agents if he is to succeed.

    Being created by Terence Winter Boardwalk Empire is always going to be compared to masterpiece that was The Sopranos. In this regard the first season is certainly lacking in the emotional complexity and tight script that made The Sopranos the show it was with some of the violence and sexual scenes not always feeling essential to the plot. Despite this Boardwalk Empire does have enough going for it to forge its own identity and by the series end it was safe to say it that it had earned its early season 2 renewal. Being a character based drama it obviously relied heavily on its cast and it was here that this opening season excelled. Lead by the always excellent Steve Buscemi the supporting cast were equally as successful at bringing the interesting characters and plots to life and ensuring audiences stayed tuned in. While Boardwalk Empire hasn’t exactly reinvented the gangster genre it is has certainly shown enough potential to bring me back for another watch next year.
    Expand
  7. Dec 3, 2010
    0
    So far I am not impressed with the show. It's very boring. The female characters have no personality or backbone. It's supposed to be a time period where women were trying to improve themselves and in this show they appear to be nothing more than sex objects. The gratuitous nudity takes away from the show. It's way too forced. I loved the Sopranos, which had a lot of nudity, but it was never forced like this show does. You don't need to show naked women just to show them. I'm going to give it a little more time to see if it gets better. Expand

See all 67 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. Ranked: The Best & Worst TV Shows Based on Books

    Ranked: The Best & Worst TV Shows Based on Books Image
    Published: August 13, 2014
    The trend of adapting the written word to the small screen has been accelerating in recent years, and especially this summer, when nine such shows will launch. We look back at the best and worst TV adaptations of books from the past 30 years.
  2. 2013 Fall TV Preview: Our Comprehensive Guide to the Season's New and Returning Shows

    2013 Fall TV Preview: Our Comprehensive Guide to the Season's New and Returning Shows Image
    Published: August 28, 2013
    Get a detailed look at every new and returning show coming to broadcast and cable networks this fall, including Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, Sleepy Hollow, The Crazy Ones, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, and much more.
  3. Episode Review: Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Finale

    Episode Review: Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Finale Image
    Published: December 12, 2011
    Last night's shocking season-ending episode of "Boardwalk Empire" has critics and fans talking. Find a dozen reviews for the episode inside.
  4. 2011 Emmy Awards: Winners, Reactions, and Reviews

    2011 Emmy Awards: Winners, Reactions, and Reviews Image
    Published: September 19, 2011
    The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards are in the books. Get a list and analysis of last night's winners, and find out how critics are reacting to the broadcast hosted by Jane Lynch.
  5. 2011 Emmy Nominations: Who's In, Who's Out?

    2011 Emmy Nominations: Who's In, Who's Out? Image
    Published: July 14, 2011
    Find out who scored nominations -- and who was snubbed -- in our look at Thursday morning's announcement of nominees for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
  6. 2010-11 TV Scorecard: The Best and Worst Shows and Networks

    2010-11 TV Scorecard: The Best and Worst Shows and Networks Image
    Published: May 3, 2011
    It's time for our annual look at the best and worst of the past television season. Find out which first-year broadcast and cable shows impressed critics and users the most, and see how the major networks compared.
  7. 2010 Television Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 7]

    2010 Television Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 7] Image
    Published: December 13, 2010
    Over the next month, we
  8. Fall 2010 TV Scorecard: The Best & Worst New Shows

    Fall 2010 TV Scorecard: The Best & Worst New Shows Image
    Published: November 2, 2010
    Now that all of the season's major new series have debuted, we reveal the fall television season's winners and losers.