Wednesday, 2 February 2011

On 2.2.11 by KieronMoore in , ,    No comments
A lot has happened in the important world of me watching television in the short time since I last blogged. So much that I just have to lie in bed telling the world about it when all my bodily functions are telling me to go to sleep. I've finished my second run all the way through The Wire (I know, over 121 hours, nearly 127 hours even, but totally worth it, more so than being stuck in a cliff), got up to the half way point of season 3 of Mad Men and the catalyst that finally set off this post was Sky Atlantic's showing of Boardwalk Empire.

No "Way Down in the Hole".

The first 2 episodes of Martin Scorsese's prohibition drama have been shown so far and after the first episode it seemed to be getting off to a strong start. Scorsese's masterful direction and the very impressive and vast Atlantic City Boardwalk set gave the pilot a cinematic aesthetic that managed to pull me in.

The story got off to an interesting start and Steve Buscemi's acting was of a very high calibre, with his corrupt treasurer Nucky Thompson showing a wide and believable range of emotions, from sinister spite to fond nostalgia for his late wife, as he sympathises with Kelly Macdonald's beaten housewife Margaret Schroeder. However, as I got to the end of episode 2, I realised that I was not sympathising with Nucky as much as I would like to with a main character, perhaps due to his unagreeable meaner side. I'm also finding it hard to get behind the supporting characters; neither Schroeder nor Michael Pitt's Jimmy Darmody are grabbing me as much as Mad Men's Peggy Olsen, the at first innocent yet ambitious girl in a changing sexist society, or Pete Campbell, the arrogant yet ambitious tit in a blue suit, were at the same stage of the show. That said, with the slow paced, long form nature, maybe my feelings for these characters will grow.

I was looking forward to seeing Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire) in Boardwalk Empire, but so far he's played the enormous role of sitting on a chair impatiently for 3 seconds. I'm sure he'll play a greater role (he's not quite earned his place in the title credits yet), but so far, Boardwalk is losing on the actors from The Wire front. (Interestingly, when judging TV series based on how much of them features actors from The Wire, the same show comes out top as when I rate shows with a more conventional system. Bet you can't guess what it is.)

The aesthetic style of Boardwalk Empire is still impressive, although the second episode, not being directed by Scorsese, was not as good as the first in this respect. I do like the little period touches, such as the Henry Ford book The International Jew and the Ku Klux Klan chappie, who is likely to become more significant in future episodes.

Hey, it's still winning the "Actors from Reservoir Dogs" ratings system.

Overall, it has some faults but is a pooload better than most of British TV. I've not seen enough yet to make a full verdict but will stick with it.

And, of course, I intend to keep watching Mad Men. The last episode I watched was called Guy walks into an advertising agency. The pun in this title works on so many levels, but I won't go into it because I know at least one of my many readers is not up to this episode yet and I wouldn't want to spoil what happens (plus I'm falling asleep). Let's just say it's not Sterling Cooper's finest hour.

What, you want me to end this post with another Jon Hamm pun?

No way, I'm porking better than that.


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