Monday, December 12, 2011

Whacking "Boardwalk Empire"

The agonizing, confusing, infuriating second season of  HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" came to an end last night. Finally, I won't be wasting an hour of my life each Sunday night on a show which seemed to have no focus and no clear purpose. It was just kind of all over the place.

Of course, no one was forcing me to watch it. But I had watched the first season last year so I had something invested in the characters and the story and I wanted to see where it all was headed. The answer seemed to change from week to week. It was as if the writers really had no clear idea of what they wanted to do with the characters. It felt like each week's story was created on the fly and didn't necessarily relate to the previous weeks or to the future.

By the time this season was halfway through, I had frankly lost all interest. There were really no characters that I cared about except the poor little children and they were just ciphers, props for the adults. Still, I kept watching, hoping that the series might redeem itself. Today, several of the reviewers that I read on the subject, thought that it did find redemption with last night's episode. They saw it as a powerful story that tied up the season nicely and finally brought everything into focus. They must have been watching a different show than I saw.

The effusive praise for last night's episode all seems to relate to (Spoiler alert!) the whacking of James Darmody. Whenever any series kills off one of its main characters, it seems to trigger a response from reviewers that praises the courage of the creators of the show. Frankly, the only relationship that was left that I found at all compelling was that between James and his friend and cohort Richard, both of them World War I veterans who were seriously injured both physically and psychologically by their time in the trenches. Nucky's cold-blooded killing of James brought that relationship to an end.

As it turns out, Darmody may be the luckiest character in the show. He's well out of it.

I read that the show has been renewed for a third season, so the question now is will I watch it or have I whacked it from my life for good? Well, we'll see, I guess. Maybe by the time season three rolls around I will have forgotten how bad this season was. Or maybe I'll be bored and looking for a way to fill an hour on Sunday night.

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