DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Created By:
Terence Winter
Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, Gretchen Mol, Steven Graham, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Kenneth Williams, Shea Whigham, Patricia Arquette
Writing Credits:

The fifth season takes place in 1931, seven years after the previous season, during the Great Depression,[6] with flashbacks to 1884 and 1897 detailing Nucky's childhood and young adulthood.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 480 min.
Price: $59.99
Release Date: 1/13/15

• Audio Commentaries for Four Episodes
• “Scouting the Boardwalk” Featurettes
• “Season 4 Revisited” Featurette


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Fifth Season (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 4, 2015)

HBO’s Boardwalk Empire comes to an end with Season Five. This DVD set includes all eight shows from that year, and the synopses below come from the DVD’s package.

Golden Days for Boys and Girls: “Nucky recalls his Atlantic City roots and plots a post-Prohibition future in 1931 Cuba.” Season-opening shows tend to be somewhat general, as they need to launch themes and stories. That trend occurs here, and “Days” begins the season with reasonable intrigue. I admit the glimpses Nucky’s childhood offer the most interesting material, though.

The Good Listener: “Nucky meets with ‘Boss of Bosses’ Salvatore Maranzano, sending a message to Lansky and Luciano.“ “Listener” continues to reintroduce characters – including some I didn’t think we’d see again – as well as develop Nucky’s story and views of his childhood. The areas with supporting roles add value, but Nucky’s tale makes this a strong show, as I like the contrast between the child and the man.

What Jesus Said: “Nucky hosts a ‘big fish’ from Boston; Chalky heads in a new direction; Margaret finds herself in a quandary.” Over the years, Empire occasionally lost focus on Nucky, but it seems determined to concentrate on him for its final year. I like that renewed emphasis, and “Said” gives us another good show that advances the season’s narrative.

Cuanto: “Nucky and Margaret face a dilemma; Luciano encounters an old adversary while with Capone in Chicago.” Five seasons in and I still don’t like Margaret, so her scenes with Nucky become a bit of a drag. Other sequences fare better, especially those with Capone. The non-Margaret elements redeem the rest of the show.

King of Norway: “Chalky returns; Nucky takes a meeting with Maranzano and gets some bad news from Cuba.” Matters heat up a fair amount here, as a number of threads go into higher gear. Add to that more interesting material from Nucky’s youth and “Norway” delivers a strong program.

Devil You Know: “Chalky strikes a deal with Narcisse; Eli and Van Alden target Capone; Nucky copes with a loss.” With so little left to Season Five – and the series as a whole – events accelerate in “Devil”. This means the demise of some major characters and other tumultuous activities in a dramatic episode.

Friendless Child: “At war with Luciano, Nucky looks to hold onto his assets in Atlantic City.” Plenty of major events occur here, though the show tends to rush them. This is where the decision to shoot eight episodes instead of the usual 12 becomes an issue. It’s still a good program – I just wish it had more room to stretch its legs.

Eldorado: “Nucky faces a post-Prohibition future.” Obviously I don’t want to provide any spoilers here, so I’ll keep my thoughts fairly general. “Eldorado” offers a good conclusion to the series, though perhaps not as strong as I might like. The finish to Season Four was stunning and this one doesn’t live up to that level. Nonetheless, it ends the series fairly well.

My biggest issue with Season Five stems from its brevity. As I alluded earlier, I think that if it’d stretched to the usual 12 episodes, it could’ve worked out matters in a more satisfying manner, as the year tends to feel rushed at times. Still, that’s a minor complaint, as the series finishes up in a mostly positive manner.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Boardwalk Empire appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 sets. As usual, the series offered good but not great visuals.

Overall sharpness seemed positive. Occasional softness affected wider shots, but these weren’t an enormous issue; the shows could look a bit more tentative than expected but not in a manner that distracted. Jagged edges and edge haloes remained absent, but a smidgen of shimmering occasionally occurred. No source flaws occurred.

Like most period pieces, Empire opted for a subdued, fairly sepia look. More prominent hues appeared at times – such as during scenes in Cuba - but the general impact remained a bit desaturated. Within those parameters, the colors seemed well-rendered, and blacks looked pretty deep. Shadows showed nice clarity for the most part; a few were a bit dense, but those weren’t a big issue. This became another reasonably positive-looking set of shows.

No obvious changes came from the series’ Dolby Digital 5.1 audio either. As always, the soundscape maintained a limited sense of ambition, so we got general atmosphere and not a lot else. Some violent sequences opened up the side and rear speakers reasonably well, and other elements like the ocean demonstrated some vivacity as well. These stayed fairly infrequent, though, so expect a soundfield without a lot of range.

The quality of the audio appeared fine. Speech seemed accurate and distinctive, while effects followed suit; those elements came across with solid clarity and punch. Music also provided lively, full material. The soundtrack suited the series.

Season Five comes with fewer extras than what we found in earlier years. Four episodes boast audio commentaries. Here’s what we find:

“Golden Days for Boys and Girls” - executive producer/writer Howard Korder, executive producer/director Tim Van Patten and actor Steve Buscemi.

“Cuanti” - Korder, Buscemi, creator/executive producer/writer Terence Winter and actor Vincent Piazza.

“Friendless Child” - director Allen Coulter and actors Michael Zegen and Ben Rosenfield.

“Eldorado” - Winter, Korder, Van Patten and Buscemi.

Across the various tracks, we hear about cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, period details and historical elements, themes and story elements, and other areas. Fans who’ve listened to commentaries for prior seasons will know what to expect here.

This means inconsistent but generally informative chats. Of the four, “Days” probably offers the best discussion, as it digs into the meatiest material. The other three come with good moments but tend to be more up and down in nature. Still, all of them give us enough useful details to deserve a listen.

Across all three discs, Scouting the Boardwalk bringss us episode-specific featurettes with a total running time of 18 minutes, 37 seconds. In these, we hear from location managers Amanda Foley and Audra Gorman. As implied by the title, “Scouting” looks at various locations used for Season Five. The programs give us quick but informative notes.

Disc One provides a featurette called Season 4 Revisited. Hosted by Terence Winter, this seven-minute piece gives us a quick overview of the series’ fourth season. It’s a nice refresher, as it gets us back up to date before we launch into the fifth set of shows.

Although I think Boardwalk Empire peaked with its fourth year, Season Five finishes the series in a satisfying manner. While it may seem a bit rushed, it manages to conclude its saga well. The DVDs offer good picture and audio along with a smattering of decent bonus materials. Fans should feel pleased with the way in which S5 ends a high-quality series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2 Stars Number of Votes: 5
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main