Boardwalk Empire gets chance to live up to ‘new Sopranos’ tag
- Brian Donaldson
- 8 February 2011
TV series features Martin Scorsese, Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald
With the ballyhoo of its pilot being the most expensive in the history of TV and with Marty Scorsese at the directorial helm, Boardwalk Empire (Sky Atlantic, Tue, 9pm) now gets a chance to settle into its Prohibition groove and show whether it is indeed ‘the new Sopranos’. Time will only tell on that front, but with its glorious 20s setting, a stirring cast (Steve Buscemi, Gretchen Mol and wee Kelly Macdonald are the neon names) and crackling dialogue that could only have been created by someone (Terence Winter) involved in the great mob drama of our times.
For Tony Soprano, read Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson (Buscemi), the flawed and contradictory controller of Atlantic City who in public preaches the ills of inebriation and fights for women’s rights, yet behind starched closed doors takes whoring and boozing (as well as ordering assassinations) to a whole new level. Chuck in some determined cops, Irish widows, Al Capone, wise mentors and hot-headed protégés and you should be left with a head fuzzier than a night on bootlegged liquor. But the intoxicating direction and sharp script make this a rich and rousing ride. It also marks a seizure of the finest US drama by Sky Atlantic which is not only showing Six Feet Under and The Sopranos from the off, bringing us the latest Mad Men and Entourage, but debuting the likes of David Simon’s Treme, fantasy epic Game of Thrones and family-cop show Blue Bloods. Buckle up.