I’ve grown so accustomed to the automatic likability of high-profile HBO shows that long-awaited premieres like Sunday night’s first episode of Boardwalk Empire seem almost routine. Perhaps this is the ultimate compliment to HBO; network tv shows often have to prove themselves with an entire season’s worth of friends telling me “you know this show’s actually pretty good” before I’ll commit to following a full season, but HBO shows bring with them an assumption that they’ll be great, and any deviation from this greatness is shocking (I’d make a joke about the movie Cars here, but I’ve sufficiently run that reference into the ground.)
I found the Boardwalk Empire premiere to be extremely entertaining, and gave it the coveted “Season Pass After One Episode,” but I was in no way surprised by this, as it combined three of my “I know I’ll like this” elements: Martin Scorsese, high-budget HBO shows, and constant olde timey slang. Despite my instant liking of this show, though, I can’t get over being amazed at how high HBO has raised the bar for television; if Boardwalk Empire came out 15 years ago — a film-quality weekly tv drama with absolute A-List producers, writers, directors, and actors — it would’ve been culturally earth-shattering. Now, it’s just what we expect HBO to do. I DVRed the premiere, watched it the next day when I had some free time, said to myself “wow this is great,” and none of this in any way seemed out of the ordinary.
So what did people think of the Boardwalk Empire premiere? Liked the direction it was heading? Season Pass worthy or not quite? How obvious was it that Jimmy would’ve been played by Leo DiCaprio ten years ago (or now, if they could’ve gotten him)? Anyone else briefly confuse Jimmy and the immigrant husband and get shocked when he was hitting his wife? Anyone laugh when the dude said “Al Capone”? (His daughter’s wedding is also the day of the KENNEDY ASSASSINATION – Dun dun DUNNNN!!!) Worth a weekly Recap?
Get back on the trolley and toss those Boardwalk Empire reactions in the comments.