Boardwalk Empire Back on Terra Firma

Has Boardwalk Empire regained its footing for the third season, which begins tonight on SoHo (Sky 10, 8.30)?

The Herald on Sunday reckons it’s become “badder and much better”, with critic Nick Grant arguing the premiere “demonstrates that Nucky’s (Steve Buscemi) resolution to be the best bad guy he can be hasn’t wavered” after season two ended so shockingly with his killing of Jimmy.

So look out Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Nannavale), a new “mobster with a hair-trigger temper” hellbent on loosening Nucky’s grip on Atlantic City.

Bobby Cannavale

“The smart money is on Nucky to win this fight,” Grant says.

“His glittering hooded eyes are now free of any self-reproach, so the politician turned gangland boss is increasingly looking like a desiccated Grim Reaper scything his way through any opposition.”

Most US critics concur with Grant.

The New York Daily News dubbed Rosetti “the most frightening TV psycho killer since Tony Soprano cut off Joe Pantoliano’s head on The Sopranos” while People magazine observed: “Put his [Cannavale’s] floridness up against Buscemi’s poker-faced acidity and you get fireworks.”

Newsday agreed the premiere provided a “re-energised and immensely entertaining start to the third season” and even a less impressed New York Post critic confessed: “I meant to watch one episode but watched four. That tells you — or maybe me — something is worth watching.”

Among the most trenchant of dissenting voices was Salon’s Nucky-in-a-nutshell verdict: “It remains the most ambitious show on TV with nothing to say at all.”

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