• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 19, 2010
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 541 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 541

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  1. Oct 19, 2014
    9
    There are so many twists, each new season is better than the last. The Roaring 20's is one of the most interesting periods in American History. Boardwalk empire does an amazing job of recreating the feeling one would have during that era. I've just finished Season 3, and there hasn't been a boring filler episode yet.
  2. Aug 18, 2014
    4
    i guess it would help to be right into the gangsters theme, im finding it very slow and full of forgetable characters. after 2 seasons im not invested in anyone, apart from the handful of main characters i have trouble remembering who everyone is, the ones i do know are pretty dull.. like i said not really a gangster fan, a couple of years ago watched underbelly razor set in sydney in the same time period as BE, i thought it was excellent, figured this would blow that out of the water, was very disappointed. really didn't engage me , gave it 2 seasons, cant do anymore Expand
  3. Jul 20, 2014
    10
    "Boardwalk Empire" is just simply amazing television. The music, cinematography, acting, directing and writing all deserve to be singled out as fantastic.
  4. Apr 19, 2014
    10
    This is just television at its best. Steve Buscemi gives the performance of a lifetime. Terrefic performances by the colorful cast, smooth directing, gorgeous writing. A must-see for fans of the mafia genre!
  5. Mar 16, 2014
    10
    Boardwalk Empire is a period drama set during the 1920's prohibition era with Steve Buscemi starring as the corrupt treasurer of Atlantic City Enoch "Nucky" Thompson. Steve Buscemi is amazing as Nucky Thompson and gives the best performance of his entire career which is saying something. The ensemble cast is terrific, the cinematography is beautiful and the set pieces are always on point. Boardwalk Empire was created by Terrence Winter who deserves a lot of credit for delivering such an ambitious television show. Martin Scorcese is also an executive producer of the show which speaks to the it's quality and he even directs the pilot. I cannot praise this show highly enough, it is in my opinion the best show on television. Boardwalk Empire is another home run hit for HBO. Expand
  6. Feb 4, 2014
    9
    Una temporada fascinante con una historia digna de llevarse un oscar, puede alguien controlar toda una ciudad y siendo tan solo un politico mitad gangster, ese es Nucky Thompson y este es su imperio del contrabando, entra en el mundo de la mafia en los años 20 y acompaña a Nucky y a Darmody en su travesia en Atlantic City. De seguro que esta serie no decepcionara a no ser que te guste el tema de la mafia. Expand
  7. Dec 11, 2013
    10
    I see the first two seasons of "Boardwalk Empire" as a whole. The first season is the introduction that slowly develops the story to the point where season 2 can just do whatever it wants. The highlights of season one are the Martin Scorsese directed pilot, "Anastasia" (episode 4), "Home" (episode 7), and "Paris Green" (episode 11). The visual style and direction of this show are one of the best I've ever seen. Expand
  8. Nov 23, 2013
    8
    Its not the best show on HBO but it still pretty good. Production values are insanely high and the acting is pretty amazing. Its not something you get caught up in right away but if you give it a chance you'll be hocked.
  9. Oct 9, 2013
    4
    I can understand why people might enjoy this show, I can. But if you're like me, and you find it hard to watch a show about an entire cast of criminals and villains wherein the best thing they do still amounts to "not completely evil" as opposed to "good", then this show is not for you. It's about gangsters, and gangsters aren't the best people. Many people like interesting characters, but being a villain doesn't automatically make you interesting. I found this show very difficult to watch because nobody ever did anything that made me want to like them, and thus I saw no reason to continue watching it. TV series are about getting behind the characters you like and rooting for them. You want to find out what happens to them and see how they react to certain situations. Well, Boardwalk Empire has many characters, and many situations, but none of them are good. If you like the Soprano's and Son's of Anarchy, you'll enjoy Boardwalk Empire. Expand
  10. Sep 11, 2013
    9
    A wonderful new series by Martin Scorsese.I love the dialogs which are dramatic and thrilling.Based on a very good plot the first season is just awesome.
  11. Aug 23, 2013
    0
    This show fell so far so fast that it almost seems like they want it to fail all of the interesting characters have been killed off, the new ones are uninteresting, Buscemi almost looks bored and the violence does nothing to move the narrative arch along at all, it's just become like something crapping all over itself before it dies. The only way this show was picked up for yet a 4th and maybe 5th season is because of the influence of the producers. Should be shown in film schools to demonstrate what NOT to do with potentially good material. Expand
  12. Aug 7, 2013
    10
    Most underrated TV show on television period. The acting is exceptional.(Come on Steve Buscemi.) Cinematography and the Prohibition period is represented in it's finest.
  13. Jul 19, 2013
    9
    incredibly rich milieu of gangsters, politicians and players, from a bygone age, animated by genius and imbued with vitality and immediacy once more. simply a time portal to another world.

    this is getting a 9 by default. it isnt as good as the sopranos or the wire, but giving it anything other than a 9 would be a lie.
  14. Jun 19, 2013
    10
    Wonderful show. Great acting, writing, all the way around. HBO does it again with this show and Episode 01 in this season is one of the best on TV thanks to Martin Scorsesse directing. A must watch.
  15. 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
  16. Mar 7, 2013
    10
    It has a well composed cast, and an intoxicating set. The props seem to match the period of the 1920s. Even though Scorsese doesn't direct all of the episodes it has the feel of a Hollywood production. I like the story and think touches on some great themes of the time: Jazz, alcohol, and organized crime
  17. Feb 24, 2013
    9
    Absolutely brilliant TV show. Easily in my top 10 favorite TV shows of all time. Scorsese proves that he is the best man to bring us into the fascinating world of crime and gangsters. The characters are probably the best written of any show I've seen. The setting and atmosphere of the show are also amazing, crafted with true skill and finesse, and manage to bring us from the 21st century in the beginning of the 20th. The story is complex, compelling, and full if unexpected twists. My ONLY complaint and the reason I can't give Boardwalk Empire a 10/10 is because whenever they need to kill off characters, they will die very easily, whereas when they want to keep other characters around, they will survive every assassination attempt thrown at them (ahem Nucky). Expand
  18. 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
  19. Nov 9, 2012
    8
    At times Boardwalk is classy and elegant, and then it shifts over to savage and wild. I happen to like both versions.
  20. Sep 28, 2012
    2
    This Boardwalk is no empire. I had great expectations for this series but I found it almost unwatchable. The introduction is so inappropriate it's laughable. The characters are vapid, contrived and poorly cast. The plot development is a boring, muddled mess filled with unconvincing scenarios. Far fetched scenes are exacerbated by unrealistic dialogue while the writers and producers engage in a politically correct tap dance. The whole thing comes off as unauthentic and self indulgent. Expand
  21. Sep 18, 2012
    8
    Hard to follow but a good show. Hard to follow but a good show. Hard to follow but a good show. Hard to follow but a good show. Hard to follow but a good show.
  22. Jun 20, 2012
    8
    Very good series and directing as directing movies! The representation is very good ... The best thing it's not long per season! Old friends are and they said to me about the series that the series is very excellent ...
  23. 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
  24. Mar 31, 2012
    0
    The most boring thing I have ever seen on TV. I have no problem with shows which take a few episodes to really kick in, in fact it's good as the tension builds and you know it's about to get interesting. Bored-walk Empire just plods along and then... plods along some more and, well that's it actually. Nothing happens. The characters are so bland and dull that I just couldn't bring myself to give a toss about them. Nucky Thompson is supposed to be a respectable businessman with a vicious, ruthless side. The perfect cover for a mobster. I felt that he came across as neither though, the performance from Buscemi being uncharacteristically weak. In fact you get the feeling half the time that he doesn't really want to be there at all. Even the vaguely interesting characters are so dull (FBI man, Kelly MacDonald) that you just don't really care about them and lose interest. One season was one too many. Boardwalk Empire does have one saving grace: if you find it difficult to get to sleep at night, just put this show on and you'll be out like a light in no time! 0/10 Expand
  25. Feb 8, 2012
    8
    Season 1:
    Set at the US prohibition time in the 1920s and with well known characters like Al Capone this TV-Series shows the criminal actions of Lucky Thomson as he pretends to be one of the good guys. A beautiful set and top actors.
  26. Feb 4, 2012
    2
    The plot moves so slowly that I will have reached old age before anything happens. Classic mistake: young characters look very similar so its impossible to tell who is doing what. Come on ... one of them needs blonde hair, a moustache, earings etc. Sex on every page : yawn Confusing story line, which goes into every detail whether you want it or not Bottom line : amazingly boring. It's like watching 1920 style Big Brother Expand
  27. Jan 4, 2012
    8
    The first season of Boardwalk Empire seemed to develop slowly and admittedly, I was a tad bored in the first few episodes. The pacing of this second season was also a bit uneven. Put that aside and the show has lush sets, increasingly worrisome behaviors on the part of the main characters, and an incredible finale. Definitely worth watching.
  28. Dec 21, 2011
    10
    One of the best tv series ever. The plot and character development are better than the Sopranos. The 1920s sets and costumes are beautiful.

    There are no true "good guys" and "bad guys" here. Everyone has some major faults, yet the story makes you sympathetic to all (except, maybe, the commodore -- that guy is a jerk!). I really love the complicated character of Margaret Schroeder.
    Her feelings of guilt and need for forgiveness make the perfect foil to Nucky. Expand
  29. 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.
  30. Oct 3, 2011
    8
    Even though it is at times, dull as hell, it still manages to attract me to my couch on Sunday nights. Mayeb it's the fact that there is some compelling ass stuff towards the end of each show. Or the marvelous acting and wonderful period flavor, It's just kick-ass
  31. Sep 6, 2011
    10
    Have you ever marinated or slow-roasted something to eat? Sure, it gets annoying that you have to wait longer, but it's always worth it at the end. It's practically the same with Boardwalk Empire: The show doesn't have build things up just to blow it off the end. They have on-going stories that build week after week and then finally get blown off at its apex. Granted this show isn't for people who have ADHD or cannot wait until things unfold, but for a patient viewer who like an interesting plot, intriguing sub-plots, excellent cliff-hangers, well-established characters, characters fitting into their roles, with a well-structured and writer, a great cast, and the best director to ever step foot into the movie business, this show is without question for you. Expand
  32. Aug 15, 2011
    1
    Disappointing. Uninteresting. Pointless. [Duplcate of previous post. I didn't notice I was submitting a rating. Show deserves a 1, not the 10 I inadvertently submitted.] What possible appeal does the show have? Sad that there are people who enjoy the show. The characters represent humanity's dregs. It's sole "good" quality is high production value. However, that hardly makes up for everything else. Expand
  33. Jul 14, 2011
    10
    Boardwalk Empire is one of the best shows on tv. I don't think it disappoints at all. I don't see why it gets so bad reviews. It's a brilliant show
  34. Jun 27, 2011
    10
    I've heard a lot of people complain because Boardwalk E. Didn't have good enough action, but bad dialog? No way, I personally think that Boardwalk empire is a very well written and entertaining series, and one of my all time favorites! And obviously the writers were trying to make this a series with a deep story along with great actors, not a fast pace action. That's what Spartacus is for : }
  35. Jun 24, 2011
    7
    Boardwalk Empire started painfully slow. The show took its sweet time in character development, and that, at first, was frustrating. However, as soon as Chalky White was introduced, the show began to take off. Very good season that required a bit of patience on the part of the viewer. It's well worth it, though.
  36. Jun 20, 2011
    10
    Unbelievable!
    Won't drone on, but I will say it raises the bar for TV! HBO have struck gold with this. The best series they have ever produced! Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt and Kelly Macdonald lead this brilliant series.
  37. May 23, 2011
    10
    This is mafia at its best! Great level of detail in decors and really engaging storyline. Buscemi is a very convincing crook and I like the detail on Al Capones rise. Great to see a story without giants explosions, car chase and gunfights every three minutes! I love the way you get to look back in American history, before the internet and the car society...
  38. ajr
    Apr 6, 2011
    5
    Yep...agree with Frumplestein....very disappointed with ep 1...clunky dialogue, and the un-lived in sets make the whole thing seems stagey and theatrical. I am not convinced that Scorsese can direct TV....remember the beauty of the economical tight scenes in Sopranos, sharp dialogue, no meandering with zero impact on plot....thems were the days. Hope it gets better...
  39. Feb 15, 2011
    9
    Great show! It starts off a little bit slow, which may have put off some viewers (and which is why I've taken a point off in the rating), but it really picks up and turns into a fantastic thriller. No, it's not quite The Sopranos, but I think that's a bit of an unfair comparison as this incorporates historical elements with nods to true events. The action ratchets up at the end and promises an exciting second season. A must watch! Expand
  40. Feb 11, 2011
    3
    Corection to my earlier post, I think the show has been a big disappointment and Kelly McDonald is one of the woest actresses in recent time, I cringe everytime she opens her mouth.
  41. Feb 11, 2011
    6
    The acting is great and the writing is great.

    I hated the first episode but it has grown on be to a great extent and I will be tuning in for the future episodes on Sky Atlantic!
  42. Jan 17, 2011
    10
    HBO style. Drama, Mafia= sopranos (also from HBO) It appears they needed another new hit to recover from the ending of sopranos... and they got it!!! Very original dialogue and storyline. HAVE TO WATCH
  43. Jan 16, 2011
    10
    This series is related to the Award Winning Australian Series Underbelly & it could take some time to get used to it but once you've settled in you will really enjoy it
  44. Jan 8, 2011
    9
    One of the best shows that came out this year. I think that the acting is just amazing, and the script is really interesting! The set and the clothes are really accurate, and the characters are really well structured. I think this show has everything to succed and be (even more) huge!
  45. Jan 3, 2011
    9
    "Boardwalk Empire" is a long, roller coaster ride of Atlantic City's liquor trade that takes you round and round without letting you walk away. Each and every episode grabs you more and more, so much to the point that you can't help but to watch. Week after week another puzzle piece is taken out and laid on the table---each character serving as its own piece of the puzzle with a mystique and sense of unknown that can't afford to be missed. Expand
  46. Dec 31, 2010
    8
    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
  47. Dec 14, 2010
    10
    this show in my opinion is after breaking bad the best of the year,great acting,great story way better than the sopranos I saw the whole season is just amazing HBO is done it again
  48. 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.
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  49. 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
  50. Nov 19, 2010
    9
    Ok one word for you, Phenomenal! This show is the one to watch its a very interesting and educational program. Even though sometimes i get lost and can't recognize some characters in it i believe this one deserves recognition. That's why i give Broadwalk Empire a 9 out of 10.
  51. Oct 29, 2010
    9
    Boardwalk Empire looks and feels like a fresh wind from the past. The main roles, are based on fact. With Terrance Winters(Soparanos) as lead writer, we will be guided into a interesting and seductive tale of the roaring 20s ala Atlantic City. Steve Buscemi is great as Nucky, the corrupt boss of the Boardwalk and all of AC. His brother the police chief, gives him the protection and latitude to conduct business as he sees fit. The other gangsters of the day, young Al Capone, Lucky Lucciano and others are shown to be climbing the ladder of crime. Plus the under belly of life, gambling, prostitution and graft bring a new level of truth and expose the dirty little secrets of our grandparents time. This show is a slow brewing hit, and should be watched by all those who like the other side of the coin! Expand
  52. Oct 27, 2010
    6
    Scorcese is getting old, no question about that. He's not trying anything new as far as i can see, it's pretty much Goodfellas revamped into a tv-series. I still like it though it's well made with nice costuming but the costumes as well as the atmosphere is a little bit to clean and well polished to be considered authentic.
    The acting is more then decent and the story has some nice
    intrigues and turns.
    It could have been so much more though with this budget and these actors, there's so much talent out there just waiting to to something amazing out of something like this. Still they go with the safe and proven formula and it's a good show compared to what else there's to watch this fall , that doesn't really say much though.
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  53. Oct 20, 2010
    5
    Pros: Personal preference to historical contents, decent performance by supporting characters

    Cons: Painfully slow, incoherently awkward plot at times, almost cg like boardwalk set, main actors including buscemi quite disappointing

    Overall, I feel this is so far quite disappointing given I expected somewhat more given the names involved. The plot is dry, dialogues are mundane,
    characters lack depth, and above all no clear adhesive to glue all elements of a fine piece. I guess i gotta wait for it to develop further to see if I want to continue to watch this. 5/10 Expand
  54. Oct 12, 2010
    1
    A disappointment. The writing is certainly wooden and stilted, as is the plotting and character development. Not sure if better writing would help, but Buscemi seems miscast - too ambivalent a personality to inspire the sort of power and control his character demands. The sets are too sepia, as is the music - the show looks and sounds like a period picture one takes at an amusement park, artificial and without credibility. And while breasts are nice the show has even managed to make them tiresome - there seems to be a breast quota which each show must meet. Breasts cannot make up for the show's many deficiencies. Nice try HBO, but worry about their judgement since cutting off Deadwood for John from Cincinnati and ending Rome, which was excellent. They have had their hits but this is a miss. Expand
  55. Oct 11, 2010
    10
    Loving the show so far, best piece of television since The Wire, . Just good to have a break from reality television and procedural police shows. Steve Buscemi is outstanding and almost unrecognisable as the Steve Buscemi you would be expecting.
  56. Oct 5, 2010
    1
    It's deadly slow, has awful dialogue, and dull storytelling. Note to the directors and editors: Way too much screen time is devoted to the "meaningful stare". What a waste of acting talent and HBO money!
  57. Ted
    Oct 5, 2010
    10
    Buscemi, who is an interesting guy in general and who has been terrific in the right part, just doesn't have the charisma and gravitas for a part like this. This make the whole show sag. I found myself wishing for James Gandolfini. I am trying to muster up the gumption to watch the second episode, but my gut tells me don't bother. Doesn't bode well for the series.
  58. Oct 2, 2010
    6
    Not bad but not to good either. It has the atmosphere of that time but the characters are poorly made and the plot is rather slow-paced. I expected more out of this but who's to say it won't get better.
  59. Sep 28, 2010
    1
    zero except for the acting. Scorcese should be fired! His gimmicks and the look of the subject matter is too staid and stale. Awful show!! And the Montages. Please!!!! And montage scene after montage scene. Oh really!!! Get a life and a little more inventiveness.
  60. Sep 27, 2010
    10
    This would have been one of the two or three best movies I saw all year. The fact that it's a pilot bodes extremely well for the series, and I'm glad I resubscribed to HBO if only for this show.
  61. Sep 25, 2010
    9
    It definitely feels as though this show will be a winner. its got incredible writing and the actors are superb. so far the stories are very engaging and i will be sticking around 'til the end of the season.
  62. Sep 24, 2010
    7
    More gangster tales? This hasn't been done to death yet? Vampires and mobsters, sounds like HBO is starting to run out of ideas.
  63. Sep 22, 2010
    9
    Seems like HBO has another winner on its hands with this one. It all starts with the stellar casting - too many greats to bother mentioning. The premise is fertile ground for some great stories, and the writing is rock solid. It's the way you tell a story that matters, and I didn't want to blink during this first episode. I've certainly dropped my fair share of HBO series (Rome, Carnivale, Deadwood) in the past, but I think I've got a Sunday Night keeper here. Expand
  64. 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.
  65. Sep 22, 2010
    9
    http://tvtastic.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/boardwalk-empire-hbo-sundays-900-p-m/ Apparently HBO has decided that they are sick of playing second fiddle to Showtime for having the best drama on premium cable. After watching the pilot episode of Boardwalk Empire I feel rather ashamed. I feel like a crook, in fact. I feel like I robbed HBO of the $10.50 that I should have paid them to see this show in the theater. Because it's not a TV show, it's a Martin Scorcese Academy Award winning film that comes into your living room once every seven days for twelve weeks. There is only word to describe this monumental television excellence: Epic.

    The grand scale and visually stunning aesthetics are like nothing that's been on TV since 2001's Band of Brothers. The pilot alone cost $50 million and it's perhaps the best $50 million spent on a television series ever. The sets are absolutely amazing and the level of detail is like none I've ever seen for a period piece outside of Titanic. There really is no question that you are in Atlantic City circa 1920 and this show does what I've pointed out that other quality dramas do and that is make the city as integral pf character as the politicians and gangsters.

    The story and depth of characters are rich and engaging and you're hooked from the opening scene and the role of "Nucky" Thompson... well, let's just say the Steve Buscemi was born to play him.

    Thompson is the epitome of the corrupt community leader for the prohibition era. He's an institutionalized pillar of the community and gangster rolled into one. He's the city treasurer who has built his power through graft and payoffs and is the most powerful man in town, controlling the police department and mayor's office who hang on his every order. Like most crooked politicians in bed with organized crime he views as himself as morally superior to the gangsters he regularly does business with and he does his best to keep them at arm's length. This is very interesting to note about his personal character because unlike most corrupt politicians, he truly does care for the citizens of his community and goes out of his way to help those who need it the most with no ulterior motives and his magnanimous attitude and tenderness isn't out of guilt. As crooked as his empire his, he truly is a man of the people and believes in the virtue of public service. This dichotomy presents itself often as there appears to be a perpetual internal conflict between the noble and the nefarious going on inside of Nucky.

    One of the more notable exchanges is between Nucky and his protégé, Jimmy, where he tells Jimmy, "You'd be very foolish to underestimate me, James. I could have you killed," right after he lectures him as a father would about going back to school and making something of himself for his wife and son. But, it's how he says it that's interesting... it's kind of like that he has to convince himself that he could have Jimmy killed and he isn't really comfortable with the idea even though we all know it's true, he could, but still, we don't buy it. Jimmy doesn't buy it either as his classic response indicates while at the same time serving to polarize Nucky's internal conflict. "Yeah, but you won't. Look... you can't be half a gangster Nucky... not anymore," and THAT is what Boardwalk Empire is all about.

    It's about how Prohibition changed this country during an era of excess. It's about our own good and dark sides squaring off. We see the likes of Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano and Al Capone as small time hoods, who we all know will become kings over the next ten years and rule their particular kingdoms through violence and terrorism but what's often forgotten is that it was the average citizen that made that reign possible. It's a part of our collective history as Americans that hasn't been told before and Boardwalk Empire shines a spotlight on it.

    Boardwalk Empire is going to be one helluva journey. This is the best show on television... period, and yes, it only took one episode to figure it out.
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  66. 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"..
  67. Sep 21, 2010
    8
    I watched the first episode last evening. I am not sure that the time period is conveyed in a believable way. I am just not feeling it's quite right somehow. Maybe it is the acting or script? Anyway, I did still enjoy it and am hoping it will build from here.
  68. 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.
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Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 70
    [The first three episodes] contain no evidence that it'll rival or exceed season four, an intricately wrought and unexpectedly spare and bluesy batch of hours whose quality exceeded anything that Terence Winter's gangster saga had given us in seasons one through three.
  2. 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.
  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.