I have some questions for Terence Winter and the creative team of Boardwalk Empire after watching Sunday night’s season three premiere.
1. Why do you continue to insist on giving the least compelling characters the most screentime, and vice versa?
2. Why did you think that anyone would prefer to watch Nucky Thompson as the lead of a show rather than Jimmy Darmody? And despite all the reviews praising you for your courage in killing Jimmy, from a story perspective…wouldn’t killing Nucky have been the much more ballsy choice, from both a story and a real-world perspective?
3. Why is Margaret the new Skyler?
4. Why is Mickey Doyle — who resembles nothing more than the weasels in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? — a going concern on this show? Are you forgoing realism completely and slowly transitioning us to animation?
5. Where’s Chalky?
6. After my disillusionment at the end of last season, I consoled myself with the prospect of a season-long war between Richard and Manny…the two best characters on the canvas. Why did you have to ruin my dreams so quickly?
7. Why is Michael Shannon still on this show? He’s a great actor, but he hasn’t been essential to the action since season one.
8. Come to think of it, why are any of the Chicago characters on this show? Al Capone is entertaining, but he doesn’t fit, and every time an episode cuts to Chicago, it’s like we’re watching a different series altogether.
9. Van Alden just happens to walk into the floral shop at the exact moment Al Capone is about to execute the Irish dude? Really? A little convenient, no?
10. I miss Jimmy’s wife. Can you fix that?
11. Did you decide to off Manny on Rosh Hashanah to send some kind of message?
12. I know Nucky’s rich, but is he really rich enough to offer an ENTIRE TREASURE chest filled with gold, jewels and diamonds to a giant mess of party guests?
13. Does Bobby Cannavale’s character signal a shift to a Sopranos mode of introducing a new antagonist for Nucky each season?
14. Why is Gyp Rosetti even here? He’s a stereotypical hotheaded gangster with nothing to add, and there were already plenty of potential antagonists for Nucky on the canvas (Richard, Manny, Rothstein, Lucky, Margaret, Eli, Capone, some political dudes). Does Nucky’s evolution from half a gangster to full gangster mean that the show now has to traffic in ever gangster cliché imaginable?
15. What motivation would Nucky have for leaving Richard — and even Gillian — alive? Wouldn’t he suspect that Jimmy’s loyal right-hand man (and lethal assassin) might be out for revenge?
16. Why does a show that looks so fantastic, and has so many interesting characters and ideas, feel so flat and aimless?