Mailbag: ‘Boardwalk’s End, ‘Murder’s Start

boardwalk-empire-finale-terence-winter_article_story_largeA friend writes:

How did you think ‘Boardwalk’ ‘s finale rated on the satisfaction scale? More intellectually resonant than emotionally, maybe. But extra points for being self-reflexive to a fault with the whole ‘cable series are always about anti-heroes’ business. The whole season’s worth of flashbacks can be read as leading up to the moment he turned bad! Major think piece stuff.

I’ve been out traveling for a few days and only just saw the finale last night. I’d say it was a very measured conclusion, making sure to wrap up its many story lines in a manner other than just gunfire (though there was some of that).
The revelations of the flashbacks all season were mostly in the remarkable casting — has the attempt to hire actors playing younger versions of show stars ever been done better? That Nucky was scarred by his first wife’s childbirth tragedy and having a role in Gillian Dormody turned over to the Commodore were things that were certainly established before this year. Maybe they meant to just remind us and give us details.
Especially in recent seasons, they’ve tried hard to establish Nucky as a businessman who was forced to deal with adversity extremely in order to keep the business going. In the end, he’s still diving for gold. The final twist was a good one, but only for anybody who watched “Boardwalk” from the start, and had any memory at all of little Tommy Darmody. I remember some who thought of “Boardwalk Empire” as the Jimmy Darmody story who thought the series didn’t hold up as well since his departure.
I think overall “Boardwalk Empire” was about as consistent and detailed a series as HBO has ever run that never veered far off track and I thought the finale was as true to the story as it could have been.

An anonymous email addressed my assessment of the new “How to Get Away with Murder:”

Was browsing reviews of this show on Rotten Tomatoes and noticed yours.  You’ve obviously never seen the show.  The professor never tries to teach criminal law by “getting them to imagine how to commit crime.”  The title may make it sound like that’s what she does, but that just isn’t what happens.  I’ve watched all the episodes and, in each one, she asks students to propose all sorts of defenses to murder charges.  Once or twice they look at a crime scene and try to figure out how the crime might have been committed, but most of her instruction is about defense strategies that involve other approaches.  Sound like you never watched the show and just went with what it sounded like it was about.  The show isn’t the best ever, but it’s far better than your sloppy, inaccurate review.

That review was based on what I saw in the pilot and I have to say I haven’t kept up with it, nor am I inclined to.

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