Boardwalk Empire 10/9

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Registered: 11-15-2001
Boardwalk Empire 10/9
Mon, 10-10-2011 - 11:01am

One of the hallmarks of a great television drama is the ability to shift between small character-focused stories and larger, more serialized, show-defining narratives. Series as diverse as The Sopranos, Deadwood, 24, Lost, Breaking Bad, The West Wing, and Mad Men are all great at portraying how massive world shifts affect individual characters' interactions, and also how those individual characters and their highly specific emotional journeys affect the world around them. (Breaking Bad is probably the most adept at nailing this mix, shifting on a dime from microscopic character study to macroscopic modern-western epic.)

My only major gripe with Boardwalk Empire is that it feels like a huge story without those little character moments: Less like a genuine story, and more like a Cliffs Notes diagram of a Charles Dickens novel. Last night's episode, though, hit that micro/macro mix very effectively, moving nimbly between a pair of plotlines that pushed the whole "Nucky Vs. Everybody" plotline forward without sacrificing some valuable characterization. Heck, you could argue that last night's episode practically reinvented one character -- or at least, finally gave her some meaningful motivation.

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