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.