Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire

                 Let me start out by saying that I love Dexter. In fact, it was one of the reasons I got cable last year and I consistently rate it among the highest quality shows on TV right now. In the past, Dexter hasn’t had much competition for the fall, 9 p.m. Sunday slot.

Enter Boardwalk Empire, the new show helmed by Terrence Winter (creator of The Sopranos) and Martin Scorcese. In three words: I love it. Why?

It’s stylish. Set in Prohibition Era New Jersey, the sets are rich tapestries of Americana. The costumes are beautiful – wing tips, three-piece suits, flapper dresses, I could go on and on. Its visual decadence is unmatched.

It’s smart. This cast of characters is intriguing. Played by Steve Buscemi, Nucky Thompson is a savvy politician who walks the line between good and evil. He is supported by a host of excellent actors – Michael Pitt as the up-and-coming gangster Jimmy, Kelly Macdonald as the charming Mrs. Schroeder, Michael Shannon as the intense FBI Agent Van Alden, and so many more. Three episodes in, it’s easy to see the skill of the actors and writers that goes into the making of each episode.

It’s all about the stories. Each week, a new layer of this world is revealed. The politics of the time – including prohibition, women’s suffrage, early civil rights – are fascinating. But the personal stories are just as riveting – the growing interest Nucky shows in Mrs. Schroeder, Jimmy’s friendship with Al Capone, Jimmy’s relationship with the mother of his son, Jimmy’s relationship with his showgirl mother – I could go on and on.

With Dexter off to a slow start (I know, I know the last episode was better than previous weeks), Boardwalk Empire has firmly jumped to the lead for best show on Sunday at 9 p.m.

Mea culpa and fall TV

Fringe is back for another great season, along with a host of other shows.

It’s been a long time, and I have to apologize for my absence from Remotely Entertaining. With a full lineup of fall TV, a tidal wave of work and more than a few social calls, it’s been tough to find time to write in the last couple weeks. Kudos to my co-blogger, Mark, for keeping things fresh.

Wow! What a fall lineup we have. Here’s what I’m loving:

  • Fringe – Every season seems better than the last. Last week’s premiere delved into Olivia’s predicament on the other side, and set the stage for another very interesting season. In interviews, I’ve heard the show’s writers say that they intend to fully develop the alternate characters, rather than simply setting them up as ne’er do well dopplegangers. Next week, I’m hoping for a good monster of the week, as this show does mythology and one-off episodes equally good.
  • 30 Rock – You’re my pube shirt. Enough said.
  • Boardwalk Empire – We all knew this would be great, and guess what? It is. From the excellent cast (particularly Steve Buscemi) to the directing and writing to the costumes and sets, this show is nothing short of enthralling. It’s no surprise that after one episode, it was picked up for a second season.
  • Dexter – To be sure, it was a depressing first hour of Dexter on Sunday. With Rita gone, Dexter is definitely off his game. Deb is trying to pick up the pieces whilst sleeping with Quinn (who is quite nice, I might add), and the kids are a wreck. From week to week, I can never predict where this show is going, but I’m on the edge of my seat the entire time I’m watching.
  • Vampire Diaries – This show hit the ground running, and the twist of Caroline becoming a vampire is a great one. Also, I love that Damon continues to be a bad guy and I was genuinely shocked when he snapped Jeremy’s neck in episode one. The werewolf element is also promising, and the show has a unique mythology related to its supernatural elements.

Like I said, there’s lot to watch right now. I also have a few new and returning shows that I’m not loving as much, but I’ll save that commentary for another post.

Everyone, including me, is watching

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Has anyone seen the new HBO teaser trailer?

I watched it today, on the lookout for anything related to the next season of True Blood, which I am absolutely addicted to. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have cable until True Blood came to HBO – I had been a long-time fan of the Charlaine Harris books, and was thrilled when she announced the show. And, true to form, HBO delivered. The first and second seasons were great – and I can hardly wait until June when season three begins.

Needless to say, this short trailer is not giving too much away. But, we do see Jessica at the very end dragging a body into what looks like Bill’s house. So we can assume she’s a girl gone wild (which seemed evident in the last episode of season 2). I just hope it’s not poor Hoyt she’s dragging in – they make such a sweet couple on the show. Nice shot of Eric in there, by the way.

Other items to note about the trailer:

  • Ricky Gervais Show: I’ve been watching this season and it’s pretty hilarious. Karl Pilkington, Monkey News – it’s all good and definitely makes me chuckle. Is anybody else watching this?
  • Funny or Die Presents: Thus far, I have been disappointed in this latest effort from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Aside from a few funny bits (Drunk History and Snakes come to mind) the show is just plain silly – and not always in a good way. Its saving grace is that it has about a 26-minute run time. Sometime’s I’m astounded that HBO actually went for this.
  • Boardwalk Empire: I’m going to give this show a try when it comes on. It looks to be a hard-edge drama, along the lines of the Sopranos (which I never watched, but have been thinking about checking out on DVD). I’m a fan of Steve Buscemi, so I have high hopes for this one. Is anyone else going to tune in?
  • Where is Kenny-effing Powers? I really hope HBO isn’t going to abandon Eastbound and Down.