• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 19, 2010
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic 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. Frankly, this complex and entertaining show is the kind of things that the networks--cable and broadcast--just don't make anymore: It's a grand, handsome saga about a whole slice of society, from shop clerks and showgirls to fixers and Feds.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    100
    As with the best of these broad canvas series, the players and their allegiances become clear within an episode or two. And from that point on, Boardwalk Empire becomes everything that HBO (and I) had hoped for it.
  4. 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.
  5. There's a vibrancy to the stories in each Boardwalk Empire episode. With echoes of the gangland mentality of "The Sopranos" and the frontier recklessness of "Deadwood," HBO seems to have found in Boardwalk Empire a fertile, sprawling new franchise series.
  6. 100
    The show is gorgeously produced and spectacularly violent but its success depends chiefly on Buscemi....A brilliant, brutally funny performance. [20 Sep 2010, p.51]
  7. 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.
  8. In so many ways, it's as good as television gets.
  9. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    100
    Expectations were certainly sky-high for Boardwalk, but the producers have risen to meet them--in a series that grows richer, deeper and more absorbing with each of the six episodes previewed.
  10. 100
    From its breathtaking cinematography to its meticulous period costumes to its smart, snappy dialogue to its talented cast, Boardwalk Empire presents a TV program that's so polished and beautifully executed, each episode feels as rich and memorable as its own little Scorsese film.
  11. Boardwalk Empire has been the glittering light at the end of HBO's tunnel for so long now that you might wonder if it--or any other show--could possibly live up to the hype. Amazingly, it does.
  12. 100
    They've richly re-created a Roaring '20s world on the edge of an ocean and a precipice, and populated it with a riveting rogues gallery.
  13. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    100
    The most entertaining--and beautiful--new series on TV this fall.
  14. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    100
    This instantly captivating period piece feels thrillingly modern as it captures with remarkable detail a chaotic time of invention and re-invention, of social progress and prosperity upstaged by the gaudy corruption and jazzy debauchery of the Prohibition era.
  15. By the end of the opener, a web of intriguing plot lines (and their treacherous overtones) are firmly in place. As ensuing episodes unfold, the story finds its beating heart as the characters substantially deepen.
  16. 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.
  17. 90
    Boardwalk Empire plays much like Sopranos: The Roots, a malignantly alluring exploration of the emergence of organized crime in the United States. A checkerboard of hazy intrigue and garish violence, of ruthless ambition and easy sexuality, it's an epic tale told darkly and well.
  18. 90
    The show isn't easy to warm up to, to be honest; it's draped in--and at times stifled by--meticulous period detail and too-perfect lighting, especially in Scorsese's premiere. But in episode two, the characters and the script begin to prevail, and the drama becomes more emotionally distinct and fascinating.
  19. 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.
  20. What Buscemi brings to this production is his great gift for channeling neurotic self-consciousness into a man of action. He may fret about retaining his empire, but you believe Nucky Thompson is a lord of venality, right down to his immaculate spats.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 502 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 65
  2. Negative: 11 out of 65
  1. 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. Full Review »
  2. Sep 20, 2010
    1
    Colossal disappointment. Reeks of artificiality and purposelessness from its Greenpoint Disneyland set construction to its dry cleaned, unlived-in costumes, the actors look as if they are desperately unclear on not only the period but their lines. Buscemi is far more miscast than anything Giamatti was accused of in John Adams. Bizarre opening titles with music that seems to be the last survivor of a thousand meetings. And finally, Scorcese's direction looked more like something a film student fan would present to that director (as a clumsy hommage) than the work of the master himself. Those preposterous and pointless angles and abortive tracking shots! Really, I was shocked and I'm not someone who lives to write nasty appraisals in venues like this. But I was driven to make an exception for this, I and every one of my friends (6 people) who watched it with me thought exactly the same thing.
    We are MYSTIFIED at the professional critical score reflected here at Metacritic.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 8, 2010
    10
    I am amazed at these poor reviews. Boardwalk Empire is one of the best shows I have ever seen in my life. And when I look at their dates, most are right after the FIRST episode. How can you even write a review when you have seen ONE HOUR OUT OF TWELVE? This is insane. Boardwalk Empire is one of the best acted shows of all time. Right up there with Breaking Bad. And although some episodes are slower then others, the season overall was filled with amazing moments. Take the character Richard Harrow for instance. Who was a sniper in World War 1, and survived a rifle round to the face... left completely disfigured, and now wears a tin mask over half of his face and can barely talk. All of his twitched and body language seem so believable... You would think the actor portraying him was actually missing part of his face. The only thing I can compare it to is Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight... The Joker felt so real, and so scary... because Heath had so many tiny details he added, like how he licked his lips all the time... And Richard Harrow is obviously a VERY different character, but the same amount of detail went into his performance, and he is only a minor character.

    Boardwalk Empire is amazing, And all of these bad reviews were mostly done after the very first episode... So please ignore all the idiots.. You cannot judge an entire season ON ONE EPISODE.
    Full Review »