It has a gifted cast and a conflicted central character. It has outstanding production values, a high-class pedigree and it spins out multiple narratives depicting people involved in questionable, if not nefarious, activities. It's an expensive period drama that airs on HBO, for goodness' sake.
And it should be to 'Boardwalk Empire's' credit that it does its utmost to lay out a meticulous panorama of Atlantic City in the '20s. We critics are always complaining about shows that drop plots, lose focus or go down blind alleys, but 'Boardwalk Empire' has a certain relentlessness when it comes to building the world of bootlegger and politician Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi).
But there's a problem here. Despite all the attention to detail, or maybe because of it, 'Boardwalk Empire' is a slog. For long periods of time, it's boring, glum, bloodless slog.
Fortunately, I don't see a SAG strike in the future. However, here are ten things I'm betting will happen by the time the ball drops on December 31st.
1. Martin Scorsese will be the next big thing on HBO. He's producing a drama based on the book Boardwalk Empire. HBO is overdue to launch another big series in The Sopranos tradition. Boardwalk Empire seems to have all the right elements: violence, sex, gambling, and Oscar-winning, iconic director Martin Scorsese.
Martin Scorsese is developing a new series for HBO along with Mark Wahlberg about the development of Atlantic City. The new series will based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson, which was optioned by HBO.
Scorsese has been getting into television more and more, and it will be interesting to see what he and Wahlberg (who will both serve as executive producers) will come up with for this new series, but if it has to do with gambling, power struggles, and back stabbing, I can't think of anyone better suited to helming the project than Scorsese.
Wahlberg is also developing an English language version of the Israeli drama In Treatment for HBO.
Actually, AC, while not the "Shangri-La" that Las Vegas is, isn't as horrific as TV writers would lead you to believe. But it was a good backdrop for tonight's rare one-story episode.
So...Marshall and Lilly are back together. Like I said last week, it would have been nice for them to explore them trying to co-exist as friends in the group for a little while longer, but the deed is done. Now, they're starting to talk about marriage again; Marshall even makes Lilly get down on a knee and propose all formal-like. But instead of getting up in front of Marshall's family, who still might be a little miffed at Lilly for leaving him, they decide to elope in Atantic City.
- At 8, CBS has a new Big Brother: All-Stars, followed by a new Rock Star: Supernova.
- NBC has a new Fear Factor at 8, followed by a new Last Comic Standing.
- AMC has Jaws at 8.
- Also at 8: ESPN has two new episodes of The 2006 World Series of Poker (circuit championships, from Atlantic City and Las Vegas).
- At 9, ABC has a new ep of The One.
- Discovery has a new Dirty Jobs at 9.
- TLC has a new Overhaulin' at 9, followed by a new Miami Ink.
- There's a new episode of Work Out on Bravo at 9.
- Also at 9: Sci-Fi Channel has a new Eureka.
(S01E05) Before I get into this episode, let me just say that season one of The X-Files is phenomenal. I had forgotten how many terrific episodes were packed into the first season. Chris Carter really seemed to have this show down solid right out of the gate. He set up the series with aliens, government cover-ups and monsters; and episode five of season one introduced us to the agents.
We learn that Mulder lives and breathes his work. He and Scully travel up to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Mulder butts heads with the local PD, who have jurisdiction over the case of a Bigfoot-looking creature that is killing homeless people. Mulder thinks it's the famous Jersey Devil, which chewed a man's arm off in the 1960s. He chooses to stay in Atlantic City for the weekend to look for the 'devil', while Scully returns to Washington, D.C. for her godson's birthday.
The question is... are CMT viewers the ones who will revive the beauty pageant?
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