I never have been bored with Boardwalk Empire. It's one of the most underrated shows on television.
Underrated is a relative term, since the show is entering its fourth season, beginning Sunday, Sept. 8 on HBO Canada. I obviously can't be the only one who likes it.
But I don't think it gets the respect it deserves. For an HBO show, it flies a little under the radar. More people watch Boardwalk Empire than another HBO show, Girls, but the latter is staggeringly more buzz-worthy.
Nonetheless, the 1920-sets Boardwalk Empire hypnotizes with its sense of time and place. I find the atmosphere intoxicating.
We're so far removed from the 1920s that I can't, and therefore don't, judge minor details in the same way I would judge a current show set in, say, the 1980s. They could be getting stuff wrong on Boardwalk Empire all the time, and I wouldn't really know. But it's not a documentary, and I just go with the flow. Of booze.
Boardwalk Empire stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, the biggest player in the Atlantic City-centred bootlegging business during Prohibition. Nucky loosely is based on a real person.
When I hear criticism of Boardwalk Empire, the bulk of it comes down to people saying, "I don't like Steve Buscemi in that role." There's not really a rational argument to have, since so much of what we perceive as good or bad on TV simply comes down to personal taste. All I can say is, I do like Buscemi in this role, and I've never had a problem accepting him in it. That's just me.
Notably, the plot of Boardwalk Empire consistently has seen challengers refusing to accept Nucky in his role, i.e., the king of illegal booze on the East Coast. At the end of season three - SPOILER ALERT if you're not caught up - the most recent direct challenger, Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), met his demise. Gyp was a terrifying villain and Cannavale rightly earned an Emmy nomination.
As season four begins, Nucky is navigating the deals that got him out of his Gyp jam. And Nucky has learned the dangers of being a public figure. He wants to be in the shadows now.
The same can't be said for Nucky's Chicago colleague Al Capone (Stephen Graham). Season four will see Capone taking the early steps that thrust him into the spotlight he so deeply craved.
Meanwhile, Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol) is battling her own demons as she tries to regain custody of her grandson, while Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) definitely is forging his own path.
Speaking of forging their own paths, I'm interested to see what happens with Nucky's estranged wife Margaret (Kelly Macdonald). One could argue that her role in this saga has reached its logical conclusion. If and when Margaret gets looped back in, I hope it happens in a believable way.
Boardwalk Empire is violent and sexual. And it's a period piece, which turns some people off right there.
But there's no other show like it on TV. It still gets me drunk. You know what I mean.
Here's HBO's teaser for season 4: