From one of the producers of The Sopranos, starring Steve Buscemi, and telling the story of the beginning of prohibition, Boardwalk Empire seemed like a no-brainer for me. Buscemi plays the corrupt politician who becomes an ersatz gangster smuggling liquor and happily taking payoffs. I watched the first episode and the second one named “The Ivory Tower” and I can say the show does deliver on the premise and on it’s promise with nice layers of corruption, everyone with an angle and none of them quite coming clean with exactly what they are, and a peculiar bad-ass Dabney Coleman role. Yet, I didn’t quite enjoy the show. I came away from it feeling like it was clever and well done but not the kind of entertainment I want on a weekly basis. The historical accuracies are, I’m sure, meticulously researched and appropriate as background. But it’s jarring to see characters in black face, women getting beat up in the spirit of subservience, Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic book, and KKK members recruiting in public. In today’s era, it is unusual to see such sights on screen without a bent toward showing how they are wrong. It isn’t that Boardwalk Empire presents them as good – it’s just being honest in their portrayal and recognizing that things in 1920 were a lot different than they are now. So, for me, a brief two-episode look into history is sufficient for me and makes me all the more pleased about the progress of society in those 90 years.
Rating: 6 (out of 10)