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post #1 of 9 Old 05-06-2015, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Official AVS Forum Review



Check out our review of the complete series of this superbly crafted HBO program that follows the exploits of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) as he builds his successful Atlantic City-based bootlegging empire and takes on a roster of ripped-from-the-headlines rivals, including Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Arnold Rothstein.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89



Details:

Studio and Year: HBO – 2010 to 2014
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Feature running time: 56 hours
Genre: TV/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

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, Michael Pitt, Anthony Lacura, Paul Sparks, Jack Huston, Charlie Cox, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Root, Gretchen Mohl, Dabney Coleman, Jeffrey Wright, Patricia Arquette, Ron Livingston, Anatol Yusef, Ben Rosenfield
Directed by: Various
Written by: Various
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 19, 2015


"When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings"


My Take:

In Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series, fans of the hit HBO series can follow Nucky's (Steve Buscemi) journey over the course of five seasons as he builds his successful Atlantic City-based bootlegging empire and takes on a roster of ripped-from-the-headlines rivals, including Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Arnold Rothstein. Presented for the first time as a complete series set, the release also includes a brand new bonus disc featuring several pieces of never-before-seen content.

My wife and I watched Boardwalk Empire right from the start and really enjoyed it. The world of Nucky Thompson and his cohorts is brimming with seedy characters, double dealing, gangland violence and hidden passion. 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 a variety of subplots that make for great diversions.

Concluding a powerful and groundbreaking run, Boardwalk Empire’s Season 5 jumps forward six full years to 1931. In stark contrast with the Roaring '20s, the country is in the throes of the Great Depression, and with the end of Prohibition in sight, Nucky is looking to legitimize himself by forging alliances with liquor producers, including Bacardi in Cuba. The final season also includes flashback sequences of Nucky’s earlier life as a boy and young man between 1884 and 1900 and features Eli, the Commodore, Gillian and other key players that together, would shape their relationships and their futures. Last but not least season five shows us how Nucky’s story ends.

Over the past five seasons Boardwalk Empire continued to push the envelope rewarding us with taut writing and apt direction as the narrative stayed on point drawing closer to the inevitable conflagration that leaves devastation in its wake. Not afraid to take chances I appreciated the fact that characters that you would deem as indispensable weren’t and plot points that seem trivial wound up being thematically systemic. Contributing to the shows appeal is a sterling cast ensemble made up of regulars and season long guests that seamlessly enhanced its engaging depth. The series ended on a befitting note and I am glad to have had the experience of Boardwalk Empire right from the beginning. Kudos to HBO, the creating/writing/directing team and the superlative cast that have made the show so enjoyable.

Throughout its five-season run, Boardwalk Empire garnered 18 Emmy® Awards and critical accolades for its superb cast and its unfaltering attention to 1920s period detail. Now, fans of the series will have a chance to own all 56 episodes in this collector's box set that comes to Blu-ray ($239.99; includes a Digital HD copy) and DVD ($199.99) on May 19, 2015, just ahead of Father's Day. The set comes housed in an attractive cardboard keep case (with matching slipcover) that holds all six amaray style cases (one per season plus the additional bonus disc) for a grand total of twenty Blu-ray discs.


Parental Guide:

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.**



Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): [img] [/img]
[*]DSU Rating * (non-rated element): [/list][/b]


Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:


Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray Disc from HBO Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

Boardwalk Empire’s 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.




Bonus Features:
  • In addition to the bonus features previously included on individual season releases, Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series includes an exclusive (BD-50 Blu-ray) bonus disc containing never-before-seen content, including:
  • (HD) Building The Boardwalk - Executive Producer/Director Tim Van Patten and crew discuss how the Atlantic City boardwalk was brought to life – 3 minute featurette
  • (HD) Shooting The Series - Learn how the look of the series was developed through conversations with Directors of Photography Jonathan Freeman and Bill Coleman – 5 minute featurette
  • (HD) Designing The Series - Production Designer Bill Groom and Set Decorator Carol Silverman discuss their process and the challenges faced in creating the authentic look of the series – 4 minute featurette
  • (HD) Visual Effects - Whether bringing to life Atlantic City or Havana, Cuba, Visual Effects Supervisor Lesley Robson-Foster illustrates the creation of some of the show's award-winning visual effects – 8 minute featurette
  • (HD) The Final Shot: A Farewell To Boardwalk Empire* - A look back with the cast and crew as they discuss the origins of the show, their favorite moments and more – 29 minute featurette
  • (HD) Anatomy Of A Hit* - Creator/Executive Producer/Writer Terence Winter, Executive Producer/Director Tim Van Patten and Executive Producer/Writer Howard Korder discuss the choreography for some of the series' most murderous hits – 8 minute featurette
  • Digital HD Copy





Final Thoughts:

Over its five season run Boardwalk Empire proved to be a well-executed character driven show that pushed the envelope with its gritty period based theme which was drawn from the book "Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City" by Nelson Johnson. Being a fan I appreciated its evolving, multi-layered story and enjoyed the depiction of real life people set into dramatic motion. The final season brought the storyline and its characters to their conclusion in a style befitting of the show and proved gratifying.

The show looks and sounds terrific in high definition and this complete series box set a wealth of supplemental material which includes brand new previously released extras that provide lots of insights from the show’s cast/crew. This 20 disc set is a must have keepsake for fans. Boardwalk Empire comes highly recommended if you’re looking for a rewarding and darkly entertaining TV series.






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 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 AV8802 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
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" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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Ralph C. Potts
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-06-2015, 10:11 AM
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Thanks for the great review, Ralph!

I purchased the first four seasons individually and will be receiving the final season soon, but this looks like a fantastic blu-ray package for those wanting to get it all with a single purchase.

Looking forward to completing the series...

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-06-2015, 10:14 AM
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Nice review! I was rather disappointed that I was unable to get into this series. After a season and a half I had to call it quits, it just never grabbed me despite the solid acting and beautiful production values.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-06-2015, 11:39 AM
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great acting, costumes and production design but overall the show never reached its full potential...maybe because of all the real-life historical figures and knowing how most of the characters fates would turn out but it's not on the same level as The Wire, Game of Thrones, Deadwood or The Sopranos in the pantheon of all time great HBO dramas...might be on the 2nd tier...the memory of Jimmy Darmody hung over the show until the end and it was never able to get past it...it's obvious he was meant to be a central figure and his demise was due to the actor being difficult to work with (Michael Pitt has built a reputation for being a difficult actor on set)...I did like the final episode and how everything tied together with Jimmy but this show should have been way more epic then it was
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-07-2015, 03:19 AM
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Loved the show, however I felt season 5 felt too cobbled together. As if the writers said "Meh, let's just write a few episodes to tie up everyone's stories and call it a day." The end of Chalkys story really sucked. And honestly I didn't have to the same draw to season five because there was no Richard. Season 3 was the highlight of this show.

This one is up there with the great series but as far as HBO is concerned, with Deadwood is my measuring stick,(favorite series of all time by far) this ranks right below GOT and the Sopranos. Deadwood will never be touched.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-07-2015, 05:55 AM
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Thanks good review. Good story, good writing and great sets. To me every character was portrayed by the absolute correct actors.
Sad to see it go, but they couldn't have pushed it too much more without killing the whole concept. I guess a good rule in show business is to get off the stage leaving the desire for more. Very smartly done.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-07-2015, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNestico View Post
Loved the show, however I felt season 5 felt too cobbled together. As if the writers said "Meh, let's just write a few episodes to tie up everyone's stories and call it a day." The end of Chalkys story really sucked. And honestly I didn't have to the same draw to season five because there was no Richard. Season 3 was the highlight of this show.

This one is up there with the great series but as far as HBO is concerned, with Deadwood is my measuring stick,(favorite series of all time by far) this ranks right below GOT and the Sopranos. Deadwood will never be touched.

Deadwood IS the greatest show of all time...but, it pisses me off evey time I think about it. We never got the 2 movies we were promised!!!!
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-07-2015, 08:14 AM
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I'd have preferred more seasons. But the two movies would've sufficed.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-12-2015, 02:22 PM
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I really loved this series as well. I'll definitely miss it. Would like to purchase this at some point but will have to wait a while until it's cheaper.
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