Board­walk Em­pire

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Satur­day, 9.30pm, SBS One An­other rat­tling good read — sorry, drama — from the pub­lisher — damn, pro­ducer — of the best sto­ry­telling TV, HBO. Board­walk Em­pire is set in the re­sort town of At­lantic City, New Jersey, dur­ing Pro­hi­bi­tion in the early 1920s when the US banned al­co­hol but failed to for­bid peo­ple feel­ing thirsty. The cen­tral char­ac­ter (it’s a bit hard to call him a hero) is Nucky Thomp­son (Steve Buscemi), who uses his po­lit­i­cal ma­chine to con­trol the sly grog game and the prof­its from the booze to ex­tend his influence. But it’s not all about Nucky. There are sub­plots aplenty, fo­cused on the greed and lust of power­bro­kers, hang­ers-on and peo­ple strug­gling to make a quid. For all the 20s clothes and mu­sic the show has a mod­ern sen­si­bil­ity: vet­er­ans home from World War I strug­gle psy­cho­log­i­cally, peo­ple are trau­ma­tised by losses in the flu epi­demic, over just a few years be­fore the show starts, and there is a sense that in Amer­ica life is or­gan­ised to suit the in­sid­ers. Se­ries three of Board­walk Em­pire is run­ning on pay-TV, so if you get on to the board­walk tonight (episode three of the first se­ries) you will be well set for a great yarn with a long way to run.

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