Blu-ray Review: Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Second Season (HBO Home Entertainment)

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Boardwalk Empire: Season Two Blu-ray combo pack

In its second season, HBO crime drama “Boardwalk Empire” upped the ante on danger, conflict and tension, showing it had legs and was far from a one-season-and-done show.

This time, “Boardwalk Empire” further emphasized its thematic similarity to a show it’s often compared to, “The Sopranos”, that theme being the price of power. The biggest price, as main character “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) learns over the course of the new storylines, is the constant presence of enemies ready to betray and destroy you to take your power for themselves.

Thompson (based on a real-life person) is a shady politician and bootlegger in early-20th century Atlantic City, N.J., and this time around he and his cronies start playing in the big leagues, rigging an election and getting an “associate” elected mayor. That only increases the swarming of the vulture-like forces that surround him.

Buscemi, an unlikely leading man if there ever was one, delivers a complex and fascinating character in “Nucky.” He’s surrounded by a distinguished supporting cast that includes the creepy Michael Shannon, Dabney Coleman, Gretchen Mol and William Forsythe.

The show has retained its big-budget look and cinema-level photography and production values, clearly inspired by executive producer Martin Scorcese. It looks great in Blu-ray, with the dark tones and sepia colors—punctuated by the bright lights of the Jersey boardwalk—coming through marvelously in a splendid transfer job. As with other recent HBO seasons, this set comes with standard DVDs and digital copy versions in addition to the excellent Blu-rays.

Bonus features include in-screen commentary from cast and crew on the pivotal episode 11, a fascinating documentary on life in 1921, and a character dossier to help you track all the characters.

All in all, this set presents a fine sophomore season in what is looking to be another classic series from HBO.

Buy Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) on Amazon
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  • sandy

    I’m so happy this is finally coming to Blu-ray! One of my co-workers at Dish got me hooked to this show during the first season. I love this show, but I wish it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg for just one season on Blu-ray. Now that I have a Hopper with its enormous hard drive, I’ll be able to record every single episode, and it’ll hardly put a dent in my recording space. The nice part is that it’s Blu-ray quality without the price tag.