For a long time, I thought I had Boardwalk Empire pegged. I thought it was a good show that aspired to greatness but could never quite get there, due to genre constraints, lack of imagination, and the unique bondage of Steve Buscemi cast as a leading man. For most of its first season, and the first several episodes of its second, Empire inched along, hinting at grand confrontations and climaxes but constantly retreating from committing to those decisive moments. It felt like a series of false starts, of one exciting episode followed by two and a half slow-bordering-on-dull ones. It was always teasing and hinting; rarely satisfying.
I was wrong.
A full discussion of the series, including spoilers through the end of season two, after the jump.