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<I>Boardwalk Empire</I>: Will Season 2 Be More Exciting?

Last season, Boardwalk Empire was a decent show that had sensational cinematography but some severe pacing problems and characters that were dead weight -- too bad, since it had a lot of hype and a ton of potential. We just dove back into the Prohibition era last night and we're cautiously optimistic that this season will succeed in the places where the series faltered last year. Here's why:

Jimmy/Commodore/Nucky Dynamic
This is an odd threesome to be sure, but Jimmy was suffering baby gangster growing pains and only butting heads with Nucky last year. He didn't realize that the alternative could be just as bad. Now he sees that his actual father and the man who mostly raised him are two sides of the same coin. He's torn between two evils, which is far more interesting that just watching him whine all of the time.

Angela and Gillian
The two of them were not in the spotlight for very much time during the premiere, and frankly, we're not complaining about that at all. So while Jimmy's being pulled between his two fathers, the women in his life are also engaging in a power struggle for who can control his home life. It all makes Jimmy seem a lot more interesting than he actually is.

Van Alden's Bizarre Life
We were in love with Mrs. Van Alden last night. Her distaste for all things Atlantic City was fantastic. And we enjoy seeing the change in this no-nonsense federal agent when she's around and how he likes to show off his crime-fighting skills in order to turn on her prissy uptight self. That juxtaposed with how he handles Lucy was quite revealing.

No Love for Lucy
We really can't stand Lucy and she's one of the things we hated most about Season 1. But in the premiere episode, we only had to see (and, more importantly, hear) her for about a minute. That's more than ample screentime for her. Perhaps she'll just lay pregnant in bed and forgotten for the entire season.

Race Wars
The KKK killed Chalky's men, putting Nucky in an uncomfortable spot (financially and ethically). Spotlighting these racial tensions not only has modern resonance but it also gives Chalky a meaty role to work with, and since he's one of the more complex (and underserviced) characters they have, we approve of anything that gives him more to do.

Nucky 2.0
The Commodore seems dead-set on taking Nucky down a peg or two, and it seems to be working. Instead of the glad-handing schmoozer from last season, we're getting to see the scrappy fighter who is fighting to stay in control. We love our gangsters to be well-rounded in their corruption.

Call Me Al
Not enough Al Capone in the premiere for our liking, but with the big deal with Johnny Torrio in play, that seems like it won't be the case for long.

Mistress Margaret
So far, there's not much for her, but so long as she's not playing the depressing doormat and is instead acting like the commanding lady/mistress of the house, we're fine with her just as she is, especially since scenes with her often mean more of Richard Harrow.

All in all, it was a solid premiere with some promise for a good season, but we're still skeptical that this show (and its gangsters) will ever captivate us in the way that mob husband and wives on The Sopranos did.

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