‘Boardwalk Empire’: Will Season 2 Be More Exciting?

Fall TV
Nucky's not so lucky in Season 2 (Macall B. Polay/HBO)
Nucky's not so lucky in Season 2 (Macall B. Polay/HBO)

(Television Without Pity) — Last season, "Boardwalk Empire" was a decent show that had sensational cinematography but some severe pacing problems and characters that were dead weight. That was too bad, because it had a lot of hype and a ton of potential. Last week, we dove back into the Prohibition era, 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 Jimmy 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 than just watching him whine all the time.

Watch a clip from the "Boardwalk Empire" season premiere right here:

Angela and Gillian
The two of them were not in the spotlight for much of 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 control of 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, we only had to see (and, more importantly, hear) her for a minute. That's more than ample screen time for her. Perhaps she'll just lay pregnant in bed and forgotten for the entire season.

[Check Out Photos from the New Season of 'Boardwalk Empire']

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. Since he's one of the show's more complex (and underserviced) characters, 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.

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