The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: HBO - 2012
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Feature running time: 720 minutes
Genre: TV Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Latin, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Kelly MacDonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigam, Michael Stuhbarg, Stephan Graham, Vincent Piazza, Michael Kenneth Williams, Anthony Lacura, Paul Sparks, Jack Huston, Charlie Cox, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Root, Gretchen Mohl
Directed by: Various
Written by: Various
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 20, 2013
America in the 1920s. The Great War is over, Wall Street is about to boom and everything is for sale, even the World Series. It is a time of change: Women have the right to vote, broadcast radio spreads the news, young people rule the world, and Prohibition gave birth to various criminal enterprises.
On the beach in southern New Jersey sits Atlantic City, a spectacular resort known as "The World's Playground," a place where rules don't apply. Massive hotels line its famous Boardwalk, along with nightclubs, amusement piers and entertainment to rival Broadway. For a few dollars, a working man can get away and live like a king -- legally or illegally. The undisputed ruler of Atlantic City is Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, (Steve Buscemi) a political fixer and backroom dealer who is equal parts politician and gangster and equally comfortable in either role.
Because of its strategic location on the seaboard, the town is a hub of activity for rum-runners, minutes from Philadelphia, hours from New York City and a day's drive from Chicago. And Nucky Thompson takes full advantage. Nucky has carved out a niche for himself as the man to see for any illegal alcohol. He is an equal opportunity gangster, doing business with Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg), Lucky Luciano, (Vincent Piazza) Al Capone (Stephen Graham), and Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci).
The show also stars Michael Kenneth Williams ('The Wire') as Chalky White, the leader of the city's African-American community; Michael Shannon as Nelson Van Alden; Gretchen Mol as Gillian Darmody, an opportunistic ex-showgirl; Jack Huston as Richard Harrow, a maimed war veteran; Shea Whigham as Nucky's resentful brother Eli; and Kelly Macdonald as Margaret, Nucky's recent wife.)
'Boardwalk Empire' is inspired by the non-fiction book "Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City" by Nelson Johnson.
My wife and I watched Boardwalk Empire during its first season and really enjoyed it. For some reason we didn’t watch season two and sort of lost sight of it after that. When HBO sent me season three for review we saw it as a great opportunity to jump back into the fray.
Picking up 16 months after Season 2 ended, Season 3 begins on New Year's Eve 1922-23. The Roaring '20s are about to start; though the economy is booming, alcohol has become scarce, competition is fierce, and gangster violence is heating up. Amidst this backdrop, Nucky, whose marriage to Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) has become a sham after she signed away his highway windfall to the church, faces new competition in the person of Gyp Rosetti (new cast member Bobby Cannavale), who builds a new strategic bulkhead between New York and Atlantic City in an effort to siphon off Nucky's alcohol business. The conflict brings out the best and worst in Nucky, who proves his brutal mettle in a series of violent encounters. New and familiar faces also undergo compelling metamorphoses as the season unfolds with plenty of grit, greed and continuing struggles for power.
As with season one, we thoroughly enjoyed season three. The world of Nucky Thompson and his cohorts is brimming with seedy characters, double dealing, gangland violence and hidden passion. Several interesting new faces add a new and complimentary element. The most significant being Bobby Cannavale’s Gyp Rosetti the Italian NY gangster who is clearly determined to make a mark for himself at Nucky’s expense. Their conflict serves as the foundation and in some cases the catalyst for some of the season’s best moments. Relationships some old and new are both developed and tested and there is no question that the ante is upped as blood has to be spilled if “order” is to be restored. Aside from the mob mentality there are several subplots that make for great diversions. My favorite involves Richard, the disfigured war veteran turned servant to Madame Gillian Darmody, who finds solace in his bond with her grandson as well as the potential for romance with a local woman.
The writing and direction is excellent as the narrative stays on point drawing closer to the inevitable conflagration that leaves devastation in its wake. I like the fact that characters that you would deem as indispensable aren’t and plot points that seem trivial wind up being thematically systemic. The finale befits the events preceding and I loved the ending which left enough narrative threads to fuel the potential for season four.
Season three is spread out over five BD-50 dual layered Blu-ray discs. The bonus content is integrated and viewable by selecting the Enhanced viewing option or as applicable individually. There are also six audio commentaries by writers, directors, and cast members that further enhance the viewing experience. After having watched the show previously I found that it quickly becomes addicting and season three is no different as it has plenty of twists, turns and surprises as we follow the 1920’s era riff raff from New York Chicago and of course New Jersey. I look forward to the next season and what lies in store for this excellent TV series.
The show contains violence, language, sexual content, nudity and strong thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Boardwalk Empire The complete third season comes to Blu-ray Disc from HBO featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This high definition video presentation looks great and features a distinctive visual aesthetic that utilizes a reserved chromatic palette which makes use of sepia tones and muted primaries. This along with the application of filtering/lighting provides the period style look the show’s creators were striving for. Certain sequences/elements make bolder use of color with noticeably deeper saturation. Contrast and brightness are well balanced which results in distortion free and satisfying image quality. Blacks appear deep and punchy but delineation in low level scenes can range from very good to average. Flesh tones are a bit on the bland side but retain enough complexional variety to avoid appearing lifeless. Close ups offer appreciable texture and subtle refinement. Wide angle shots, especially those shot in the natural light of day, have excellent depth, with sharp resolute definition quality that is rarely questionable. I didn’t notice any signs of compression or video related artifacts.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound keeps pace with the video and is quite good. Dynamics are robust and highs are crisp without being strident or edgy. Dialogue is rendered with defining tonal expression and room penetrating depth through the center channel. The front soundstage is diffused with excellent separation and clearly articulated detail. The presentation makes ample use of the entire surround platform. At times it opens up quite nicely to create an involving surround mix containing a mix of directional and ambient sounds. Bass response doesn’t reach subterranean levels however it appropriately supports the source elements and provides an appreciably tight, and punchy low end.
- American Empires: Prohibition did little to quench the country's thirst for alcohol, and proved to be a boon to the era's gangsters. Learn more about these gangsters, their influence, and their systems of distribution in this interactive compendium that focuses on New Jersey, Chicago, Pennsylvania and the Mid-West.
- Boardwalk Chronicle: Track the major players and locations within each episode, and learn more about the historical threads woven into the season three storyline with this interactive, in-feature guide.
- (HD)Newsreels: Explore some of the real-world events and historical figures that inspired Boardwalk Empire season three with these 24 exclusive featurettes (approximately 2 minutes each).
- (HD) Distilling Season 2: Look back at season two with this 14-minute recap featuring creator/executive producer Terence Winter – 14 minutes
- (HD) New Characters: An introduction to Gyp Rosetti, Billie Kent, Gaston Means, Dean O'Banion, and Benny Siegel – 5 minutes
- (HD)Boardwalk Empire - Director's Chair: Hear directors Tim Van Patten and Allen Coulter break down key scenes from season three, and how they approach taking the series from the script to the screen – 30 minutes
- (HD)Scorsese on Season 3: Award-winning director and executive producer Martin Scorsese provides a unique and detailed perspective on the third season of Boardwalk Empire – 4 minutes
- Six audio commentaries with cast and crew including creator Terence Winter, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Gretchen Mol and more.
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
Boardwalk Empire is a well executed character driven show that pushes the envelope with its gritty period based theme which is drawn from the book "Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City" by Nelson Johnson. Being a fan I appreciate its evolving, multi-layered story and enjoy the depiction of real life people set into dramatic motion. Season three continues in that vein with its compelling, violent and dark composition that is enhanced by apt direction and a superb ensemble cast. The show looks and sounds terrific in high definition and contains an assortment of fan friendly bonus features that enhance the experience on Blu-ray Disc. This five disc set is a must have for fans and comes recommended if you’re looking for a rewarding and darkly entertaining TV series.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package