Briefly Noted: Boardwalk Empire

Crammed with corrupt cops, nymphish flappers, black market violence, and prunish, prudish temperance activists,  HBO’s latest drama has lots for a libertarian to like. Boardwalk Empire follows the rise of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a character loosely based on Enoch Johnson, the bootlegger and mobster who ran Atlantic City during Prohibition.

The corruption that comes with forbidden vice is illustrated well. We see city treasurer Thompson (played deftly by Steve Buscemi), the city’s mayor, police chief, and other officials gather on the eve of the Volstead Act taking effect. They’re discussing not how to enforce the alcohol ban but how to keep the boardwalk well-liquored, assigning responsibility for distributing the first underground shipment of whiskey.

The series was created by Emmy-winning Sopranos writer Terrence Winter and is produced by Hollywood deity Martin Scorsese, who also directed the first episode. HBO has already announced it will order a second season.

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  • ||

    This show is a brilliant piece of work. I was a fan even before it premiered and there are very few shows I can say that about.

  • FreeLibertine||

    I've seen every episode shown so far. It's a great show.

  • ||

    I wasn't too sure about it during the first few episodes, but now I am hooked and waiting for the season finale like a kid waits for Christmas morning!

  • ||

    Yeah this is a great show, I'm a little surprised it hasn't generated more buzz. Prohibition is of course a major theme, but there is also plenty of interesting stuff on women's suffrage, civil rights, government sausage-making, the effects of war on a society, etc. Highly recommended.

  • cynical||

    Well, progressives don't like like being reminded of how their puritanical and technocratic tendencies A) failed hard and B) empowered repressive, proto-Nazi shits like Wilson. So you can see why they wouldn't like it.

  • ||

    Yeah, perhaps. The show is actually more of a character story than any sort of overt political tract, and the cast and writing and setting are (to me) interesting enough to outweigh any political objections. But hey, people can be damn petty when they want to be, so maybe.

  • Robert||

    I've heard Allen L. "Big Al" Rickman is in it.

  • vornline||

    They’re discussing not how to enforce the alcohol ban?Which city to perform?

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