HBO has another winner on its hands and as the first season of this epic series winds down it is time to grade the first season. Firstly it is hard to watch this film and not realize that the outdoor scenes do not occur on the actual historic Atlantic City Boardwalk but in a recreated set somewhere in Brooklyn.
As the series began so did Prohibition. The main protaginist of the series (Nookie Thompson) sees this as a great opportunity as he can control the illegal alcohol business in Atlantic City and make a whole lot more now that it is illegal and scarce. Nookie controls the politics in Atlantic City, having been the Sheriff and now having his brother as the current Sheriff.
Nookie focuses on gaining the favor of Margaret Shroeder, a major voice in the League of Women Voters. With women's sufferage near passing, Nookie realizes that Margaret can be a major voice in keeping his hold on local politics. He finds out that her husband is abusing her and arranges to have him killed. Eventually, Nookie will gain the total confidence of Margaret and make her his "concubine."
Nookie is being in investigated by an agent (Nelson Van Alden) of the Internal Revenue Service (note: the FBI did not exist until the Dillinger days of the 1930's). Nelson believes Nookie to be responsible for the murder of four men that were transporting illegal "spirits."
The show is rife with historical figures from Lucky Lucciano, Al Capone, Charles Ponzi, Warren Harding, and Hardeen Houdini (brother of Harry) and history (World War I, the Black Sox Scandal, etc.)
As season one winds down Nookie is battling for the control of all the alcohol on the East Coast with Arnold Rothstein, who is partner with Lucky Lucciano and Meyer Lansky. Nookie uses his right hand man Jimmy, who has loyalties to Al Capone and Richard Harrow (a facially disfigured friend of Jimmy's. A major showdown is looming.
Meanwhile Agent Van Alden is a closet religious fanatic who harbors a fascination with self punishment and thoughts about Nookie's girlfriend Margaret. Van Alden goes totally "rogue" killing his partner and going against the Agency.
This is the best show on HBO since The Sopranos and it fills a void that had been looming on Sunday nights. The production and the directing are first-rate. If you watch a few episodes ot this series you will be hooked!
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Martin Scorsese was involved in the project even before creator Terence Winter. He directed the pilot and established the look of the show, which other directors later emulated to make the show feel seamless. He is also one of the executive producers of the show. Winter stated that Scorsese weighs on the casting decisions, watches all the cuts and dailies. Up until the shooting of the show's first season, Scorsese and Winter would meet every Sunday afternoon to review what went on during the week where Scorsese would have comments and suggestion. Martin Scorsese is expected to continue to be creatively involved in the ongoing production and if the series ...