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003797Reviews & Counting
Boardwalk Empire (S1)
DVD disk
01.03.2012 By: Stephanie Cooke
Boardwalk Empire (S1) order
Martin Scorsese, Timothy Van Patten

Steve Buscemi
Michael Pitt
Kelly Macdonald


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The Great War was over, Wall Street was about to boom, women got the vote and everything was for sale, even the World Series. The undisputed ruler of Atlantic City was the town's treasurer, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Buscemi), a political fixer and backroom dealer who was equal parts politician and criminal, and equally comfortable in either role. Because of its strategic location on the seaboard, minutes from Philadelphia, hours from New York City and less than a day's drive from Chicago, the town was a hub of activity for rumrunners. And Nucky Thompson took full advantage.
This show has been on my to-watch list since it first started airing. I watched the pilot way back when, but for some reason, I put the show down and never picked it back up againÖ at least not until now. BOARDWALK EMPIRE is, from what I can tell, a much-loved show and that really comes as no surprise seeing as itís HBO. I went into the show mostly blind (with the exception of the one episode I watched) and hoped for the best.

I may receive some flack for this, but while I do enjoy the show, I definitely donít love it at all like most other people seem to. Firstly, all of the cast members of BOARDWALK EMPIRE do amazing jobs with their roles, especially Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon and Kelly Macdonald. To me, itís not as worth watching for the story so much as for the characters and their evolution during the progression of the first season. Especially the evolution of Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald) from battered housewife to spoiled mistress and Agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) who is much too devoted to his job and to his morals.

Secondly, quite honestly I only remember bits and pieces from my various history classes, so while I do believe that this show is incredibly accurate from a historical perspective; I wouldnít be the person to confirm it. That being said, the story is well thought out and is a far cry from one of those shows that seems to wing it from episode to episode (but again, you can likely thank HBO for that).

I think my only real complaint about BOARDWALK EMPIRE is that at times I find it to be a little bit dry. As the season plays out though, things pick up and become increasingly more and more complicated, especially for Enoch ďNuckyĒ Thompson (Steve Buscemi). I also think that part of my problem with the show is that I donít really give a crap about any of the characters. Sure, I like watching them on screen for the most part, but if any of them were killed off, I donít think that it would evoke much emotion from me.
Making Boardwalk Empire: An extremely in-depth look behind-the-scenes of BOARDWALK EMPIRE. Martin Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg, Kelly Macdonald, Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Michael Pitt, Terence Winter and pretty well just about everyone involved with the making of this first season of the show talks about it. Between their roles to the costumes to the sets and the history behind the show, everything is discussed for a very informative and extensive look behind-the-scenes. Itís actually a really nice feature because a lot of the time, the focus is on the actors and the creators and directors. This feature not only focuses on them, but focuses on the costume designers, the set designers and takes the time to really show you how things came to be.

Character Dossier: This is a pretty neat little feature that lets you get better acquainted with the characters of BOARDWALK EMPIRE. - Follow the development of the major players in Boardwalk Empire with this evolving, comprehensive character guide.

Creating the Boardwalk: The cast and crew talk about creating this 300-foot set that was used to bring 1920s Atlantic City to life. Itís actually a pretty incredible feature that takes a really good look at what exactly went into bringing the boardwalk back into existence the way it was during the Prohibition era. Apparently a set like this hasnít been constructed since something like 1918 (not sure if thatís in general or just in the New Jersey area) and itís pretty damn impressive.

Atlantic City: The Original Sin City: This is an extremely heavy historical feature and focuses on interviewing members of the crew with their knowledge of Atlantic City as well as talking to historians, authors and other people of note that were familiar with the era. In addition to talking about Atlantic City, this feature also dives into a lot of the history behind Prohibition as well. If you like these sort of features, itís an excellent addition. If not, itís a bit dry, but still pretty damn informative.

Speakeasy Tour: A feature that pretty well speaks for itself. Itís a tour guided by Greg Antonacci, who plays Johnny Torrio who was Al Caponeís mentor.

Audio Commentaries - Six audio commentaries including actors Steve Buscemi, Michael Kenneth Williams and Michael Shannon, creator/writer/executive producer Terence Winter, director/writer/executive producer Tim Van Patten, writer/supervising producer Howard Korder and directors Brian Kirk and Allen Coulter: I donít often have much to say about audio commentaries, since you either love them or you hate them. If you love them, then this feature will make you very happy as HBO seemingly always puts a lot of effort into their sets by adding in high quality content to go along with their high quality programming.
At the beginning of the show, I didnít think that I would wind up liking BOARDWALK EMPIRE very much. I had been looking forward to checking out this season and had heard many good things about it and after the first few episodes, I felt really letdown. I chalked it up to a case of a show being too overhyped to enjoy. However, as the first season of BOARDWALK EMPIRE progressed, it got better and better and as I mentioned above, what really got me interested in the show was the brilliance of the characters and how in this one season, you see so much growth in them.

Even with just the first episode, you can totally understand why Martin Scorsese was so interested in being a part of this projectÖ itís very up his alley. You get a chance to see notorious gangsters like Al Capone when they were just smalltime criminals working up to the big leagues.

The special features and the feature itself are of the quality that we have come to expect from HBO. If you havenít seen the show before or if youíre already a big fan, you wonít be disappointed with this collection for the complete first season of BOARDWALK EMPIRE.
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