Boardwalk Empire premiere buzz was bound to be huge. The Boardwalk Empire premiere touts big names and rave reviews, hyping Boardwalk Empire as the premiere event of the year. Of course, this project carried the risk of having too much hype, given its elements. Since this is an old time gangster saga, helmed by a head Sopranos writer and Martin Scorsese himself, anything less than classic status might seem disappointing. Instead, tonight’s Boardwalk Empire premiere, and the episodes that follow, are said to even exceed those expectations.
At 9 pm est, HBO will unveil its most expensive, ambitious project in the post-Sopranos era. The pilot alone cost $20 million, much of it spent on an extensive recreation of the 1920 Atlantic City boardwalk. According to most TV critics, it is money well spent and then some.
The Boardwalk Empire premiere is helmed by Scorsese himself, who also serves as producer. But the creator is Sopranos writer Terrance Winter – the second Sopranos writer to create his own cable series. Since the first one was Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner, it only set the bar even higher.
Winter and Scorsese recreate Atlantic City in 1920, when Prohibition first went into law – and the gangster first rose to power. It was also a time for corrupt politicians to thrive, chief among them Atlantic City treasurer Nucky Thompson. Steve Buscemi, normally a quirky/creepy supporting player, gets promoted to lead status as the “half-gangster”
For all the hype around the Boardwalk Empire premiere, critics state that the best is still to come. HBO sent the first six episodes out for preview, with reviews stating that things only get deeper and better from here. On Meta Critic, the series has an average score of 90, with 12 out of 24 critics giving it a perfect score.
Assuming that the second half of the season does just as well, the Boardwalk Empire premiere could begin a second wave for HBO. Despite having True Blood and award-winning movies, Showtime, FX and AMC have had better drama series’ in the last few years. The rest of cable has caught up to HBO since The Sopranos, but they are counting on Winter and Scorsese to bring them back.
Tonight’s Boardwalk Empire premiere gets a head start, as the big kickoff to the TV season in general. Over the next few weeks, the show will have to compete with the end of Mad Men Season 4, and the new season of Dexter, for cable attention. Yet with all of this massive hype, it may find its place before long.
After three years of Mad Men dominating the drama landscape, could one former Sopranos writer overthrow the other? The Boardwalk Empire premiere sets to start answering that, as the 70 minute episode airs tonight at 9 pm est on HBO. However, it will then air again at 10:15 and 11:30, for those tuning in after football and Mad Men.
Meta Critic- “Boardwalk Empire: Season 1”