It’s not often that I’m excited by television-yes, now and again you can be treated to some fantastically well-produced gritty dramas or some excellent cartoon humour, but I generally tend to regard the idiot-box as serving those with a penchant for reality television. Now, if 'The Running Man' has taught us anything (and it has), it's that reality TV is fundamentally a good idea; it's just that in the execution of it, we're treated to freaks of the Big Brother/Strictly Come Dancing/X-Factor variety.
The last time I was genuinely excited by a television show was 'The Sopranos' (granted, I love 'Californication'-and not just for the women-but it is really only popcorn compared to 'The Sopranos' steak). From 'The Sopranos' writing stable emerges Terence Winter with a new show based on prohibition-era America-a time little covered by recent* cinema and television. With a stellar cast on board, Martin Scorsese at the helm for the pilot episode (fun game: try to pick out how many shots serve as direct allusions to other gangster films-including some of his own) and a budget to rival a mainstream Hollywood film, I'm starting to get very excited by what Boardwalk Empire will be capable of in the coming season. I just sincerely hope that it doesn't fall into self-parody and that it maintains strong story-arcs for all the characters introduced in the first episode. There is much potential for the show to surpass even 'The Sopranos', if only everyone involved doesn't fritter away that opportunity.
And I promise 'Machete' will be up in due course.
*Of course, The Untouchables (Brian de Palma's last good movie), Once Upon a Time in America and Miller's Crossing exist from recent history, but there are countless 30s and 40s films that should not be neglected starring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart amongst others-Angels with Dirty Faces probably being my personal favourite.