(The ten best dramas of 2012 will be revealed on Hulu’s homepage each weekday of this week. To view the rest of the list, click here.)
6 – Boardwalk Empire
So, are you that person who hasn’t seen Boardwalk Empire? If you are, I’ll give you the next few sentences.
Hey. You. Watch Boardwalk Empire. You have so much to catch up on.
The rest of this write-up isn’t for you. From here on out, I’m speaking to the loyal Boardwalk Empire viewer. Read my outpouring of praise, and pat yourself on the back for your outstanding taste in old-timey, gangster-related television.
Boardwalk Empire was easily the most exciting hour on TV this fall, filling the hole left in my heart by the unceremonious disappearance of Breaking Bad mid-season.
The character development this season was incredible. Even as characters unraveled from the main story, Boardwalk followed their individual threads. Agent Van Alden’s new life as an iron salesman and Richard Harrow’s developing love life were pleasant diversions from Enoch “Nucky” Thompson’s constant struggle to stay at the top of the Atlantic city food chain. Nucky’s great. Steve Buscemi continues to prove that there’s a place for the ugly man on television, and that place is the ’20s. But the real breakout for me this season was new bad guy, Gyp Rosetti.
Bobby Cannavale, who I personally haven’t seen on any screen in 10 years, lit up Boardwalk this season, and quickly became my second-favorite TV villain of 2012, behind Mitt Romney. Cannavale’s Gyp Rosetti was a hot-headed Sicilian who took offense at just about any word spoken in his direction. In nearly every episode, some character said something, just one small something, that enraged Rosetti to the point of murder. As dangerously fragile as Rosetti was, he was equally cunning, taking over the sleepy town of Tabor Heights, a critical fuel stop between Atlantic City and New York City, thus entirely hijacking all of Nucky’s bootleg traffic. Rosetti’s, violent takeover of the town, his crazy outbursts and (thanks, HBO) his outlandish sexual fetishes were fascinating to behold. If you’re into male full frontal, this was your season.
Gyp Rosetti surviving an assassination attempt, completely nude while being choked out by a waitress, was easily the most memorable scene in a drama in 2012. It’s also the most memorable sentence of this write-up.—Nathan Alexander