Plot Summary: Chronicles the life and times of Nucky Thompson, the undisputed ruler of Atlantic City, who was equal parts politician and gangster.
Creator: Terence Winter
Stars: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald and Michael Pitt
Serious Jest: (Watch it Live) Buscemi is awesome as Atlantic City’s version of Tony Soprano, and Pitt nails the amazingly-written part of Jimmy Darmody (based on the real-life Jimmy Boyd), a Princeton-educated World War Vet struggling for redemption in many different ways; in fact, all of the characters are interesting, for different reasons, and brought to life by a top-quality cast. According to IMDB, Martin Scorsese (executive producer & director of the pilot) even insisted that the boardwalk floorboards for the Brooklyn set be cut identically to those actually used in Atlantic City at the time in which the story was based; while the average person may not notice or care, this illustrates the level of commitment and attention to detail put into this project. Don’t confuse the first few episodes as slow; instead, like The Godfather, they are deliberate and methodical, and the payoff scenes are explosive and satisfying. In my opinion, the best character in the show doesn’t even show up until later in the season (at a Veterans Hospital); can’t wait to see more of Richard Harrow (played by Jack Huston) in Season 2!
Update (4/23/12): Season 2 is even better than the first. The suspense is thick, the plot is compelling, and the action is not for the squeamish–I watched someone’s face get beat in with a wrench, someone else get a meat cleaver in the head, and yet someone else’s throat get slit…all with no cut-aways. The themes continue to be deep: struggles with faith; the long voyage home from war; family ties; the sanctity of trust, racism, the adequacy of the justice system, etc. I love this show. Season 3 can’t come fast enough.
Update (2/4/16): I unintentionally put off seeing Season 5 until recently. I can honestly say that the quality did not drop off. One of the best series I’ve ever watched. You could teach a college course on this show.