All that hand wringing about filling The Sopranos void on HBO is finally over and it just took one episode of the brilliant Boardwalk Empire.
Created by Terrence Winter (a former writer and producer on The Sopranos) and starring Steve Bushemi (what do ya know, another Sopranos alum), the show is set in Atlantic City on the eve and shortly after Prohibition outlaws alcohol throughout the country. Buscemi plays Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, Atlantic City’s treasurer/ bootlegger/criminal mastermind. In one of his best roles to date, Buscemi plays Nucky as an extremely likeable kingpin and womanizer, far more nuanced than Tony Soprano. With his brother as the head of the local police force and his political buddies all on the take, Enoch need only worry about out-of-town mobsters and the local temperance group. Michael Pitt does an equally impressive job as Jimmy Darmody, a military vet and sometime protégée of Nucky.
As if this pedigree weren’t enough, Martin Scorsese executive produces and directed the first episode.
Adding to the compelling plots, there is plenty of historical filler with real political figures and gangsters making cameos throughout the series.
Boardwalk Empire – The Complete First Season/5 DVDs/733 mins./HBO Studios/2012