Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray
Boardwalk Empire has largely been a show about bootlegging liquor in Atlantic City during the time of Prohibition in the United States. In Season 3, much of the actual bootlegging is sidelined as veteran gangster Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) deals with familial problems and an agressive gangster encroaching on his territory.

The aggressive gangster is played by Bobby Cannavale, whose character, Gyp Rosetti, is an Italian man with an angry streak. After Nucky gets the idea to sell to only one distributor, leaving his other guys to forage for themselves, Rosetti decides it’s time to take the King of Atlantic City down. He strikes some deals, as gangsters are wont to do, and Thompson finds himself with a problem on his hands.

Boardwalk Empire has always been violent and there’s not a lot of shock value related to that violence for viewers by the time they reach Season 3, but that doesn’t mean the show has scaled back on blood spilled in the new season, either. A war between gangsters doesn’t come without a price, and while there are plenty of lives lost, the price for Nucky may also mean his family, as throughout the season his relationship with Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) begins to crumble and then deteriorate. One episode featuring a concussion is both comedic and heartbreaking and tells you everything you need to know about their relationship. It also happens to be one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever seen.

The way the story unfolds in Season 3 is not always the most innovative, but there are enough outside-the-box moments and smart under the table deals to keep audiences invested throughout the 12 episodes. Cannavale’s Rosetti is the loose cannon that keeps things interesting, while many of the characters we’ve come to know and love over the first few seasons either grow or shrink in estimation.

Boardwalk Empire has always been a series with ups and downs in terms of its audiences’ interest in episodes, but Season 3 offers a consistency in quality that prior seasons have lacked. Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season may not be HBO’s best Blu-ray offering, but it’s a damn fine season of TV, packaged in a nice box with plenty of bells and whistles.

You can order Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season over at Amazon.

Best Special Feature: HBO is still trying to exploit the fact that Martin Scorsese is loosely involved with the Boardwalk Empire production in Season 3. There’s an entire bonus feature devoted to his thoughts, but I say skip it and check out the interactive feature “Boardwalk Chronicle” or the newsreel segment, which features introductions from showrunner Terence Winter.

By the third season of a series, it becomes hard to find ways to explain historical stories related to a period drama like Boardwalk Empire, but the newsreels segment explains a lot about characters like the female aviatrix and the Egyptologist Howard Carter who have minor roles in Season 3. It’s clever to use the newsreels to tell a historical narrative, and if you like history at all, the extra should be worth a watch.

Other Special Features:
Boardwalk Chronicle
Distilling Season 2
American Empires
Audio Commentaries
“New Characters”
Scorsese on Season 3

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