Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Second Season

WSR Score5
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HBO Home Video
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Tim Van Patten, David Petrarca, Susanna White, Ed Bianchi, Jeremy Podeswa, Allen Coulter & Brad Anderson
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In Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Second Season, Nucky (Buscemi) and his lieutenants appear to have solidified their hold on power by rigging an election and getting a crony elected mayor. However, after a bloody KKK attack at Chalky White's bootleg warehouse, Nucky finds his hold on Atlantic City weakened, first by state agents who arrest him for election fraud, then by members of his own inner circle, and even his family, who align against him. Meanwhile, mobsters like Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Al Capone wait in the wings, looking for the chance to grab a bigger piece of Nucky's pie. Based on the book Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson. (Tricia Spears)

Special features on Disc One include Character Dossiers; commentary for Episode 1 by Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Terence Winter, Director/Writer/Executive Producer Tim Von Patten, and Michael K. Williams (Chalky White); and the featurette Back To The Boardwalk (HD 14:37). Disc Two includes Character Dossiers and commentary for Episode 5 by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Howard Korder and Jack Huston (Richard Harrow). Disc Three includes Character Dossiers; commentary for Episode 7 by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Howard Korder, Co-Producer/Writer Steve Kornacki, Director Allen Coulter, and Charlie Cox (Owen Sleater); and commentary on Episode 8 by Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Terence Winter, Director/Writer/Executive Producer Tim Van Patten, and Steve Buscemi (Nucky Thompson). Special features on Disc Four include Character Dossiers; commentary on Episode 11 by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Howard Korder, Director Allen Coulter, and Gretchen Mol (Gillian Darmody); and the featurette Secrets Of The Past: Storytelling In Episode 11 (HD 59:53). Special features on Disc Five include Character Dossiers; commentary on Episode 12 by Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Terence Winter and Director/Writer/Executive Producer Tim Van Patten; the interactive guide "Living In 1921"; the featurettes New Characters (HD 03:35), Updates To The Boardwalk (HD 03:14), and The Money Decade (HD 24:33); and a Season Two Promo Spot (HD 01:37). Also included is the DVD and a digital copy.

As with the previously reviewed Blu-ray Disc™ of The Complete First Season in Issue 163, the 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture on this release is gorgeous throughout, with a historical feel, yet exhibiting a warm and rich color palette that is strongly saturated yet toned with browns and golds. Hues are vivid, with incredible reds and deep, solid blacks. Fleshtones are natural in appearance, yet slightly toned, for an aged effect. Contrast is consistently well balanced, with excellent shadow delineation. Resolution is superb and reveals fine detail in facial features, hair, clothing, and object texture. At times the picture exhibits a softer focus for effect. This is a wonderful filmic experience that is absolutely mesmerizing. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is effectively produced, but at times the surround soundfield collapses, with frontal focus prominent. Still, when the action is energized the surrounds come alive and provide a sense of dimensionality. At other times the surrounds are subtle but provide ambiance support. Dialogue is nicely produced with generally good spatial integration. The music score is nicely recorded and, at times, is rip roaring and at other times reserved, but always supportive. Bass support is provided with generally reserved .1 LFE energy. While the sonics are not as well developed as, at times, the visual suggests, the overall result is an effective sonic experience that nicely supports the dramatic storytelling. (Gary Reber)