Coming to terms with the end of Boardwalk Empire isn't easy, even though it hasn't reached its potential - yet.
While Boardwalk Empire has never hit the narrative heights of shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and most recently, Breaking Bad, it has always proved to be an aesthetic feast; chock-a-block with whip-smart dialogue and some of the most elaborate camerawork allowed on network television.
So the news that HBO have decided to make the prohibition drama’s fifth season its final one saddens me; there’s so much more to come from the trifecta of disobedience that is Atlantic City, Chicago and New York. And how will the writers effectively wrap up the brooding tensions that have so often come to the fore?
"It has been an incredible honor to bring this powerful and groundbreaking series to our subscribers. Terry Winter has created one for the ages,” said programming president Michael Lombardo. "We're thrilled to get the go-ahead for a fifth season of Boardwalk Empire," said Winter. "After much discussion with my creative team and HBO, we've decided to wrap up the series after such a great run and look forward to bringing it to a powerful and exciting conclusion." (THR)
There’s now an intricate job afoot; the writers need to give the brilliant characters they created – like Rothstein, Capone and Van Alden/Meuller – the ‘send offs’ they deserve, whatever they may be. The relationships that have peaked and troughed in the four seasons so far need to come to a head in a way that doesn’t feel rushed.
Season four was lamented by many fans and critics for being too slow, but the glacial pace was a mere smokescreen for some of the best – and most overacted (I’m looking at you, Jeffrey Wright) – performances of the show. Stylistically noir, the embellishment in saturation and spectacle behoved a quasi-comicbook tale as opposed to the gritty period drama it so frivolously claims to be.
Chalky, Nucky and Eli
Boardwalk Empire is poetic, moving a speed dedicated to the now rather than the next. Like its core characters, it waits for no one and is unrelenting in the search for beauty and extravagance twixt heartbreak and loss. Often, it blares nothing at you while sometimes the noise is unbearable. Pompous, overawing, gratuitous and overspilling with grandeur: HBOs stylish drama was a risk. But it paid off and despite being – for want of a better word – ridiculous, at times, it never failed to entertain me, and that’s its job.
Let’s savour season five, and hope it gets the treatment it deserves.