I was thinking about it a couple of months ago, and realised there was a distinct lack of modern show based on prohibition-era gangsters. “Man” I thought, “That would be a cool show to watch. A show with tommy guns, and flappers, and spats. Oh, and imagine if it had Steve Buscemi!” Well, it turns out that HBO pre-emptively read my mind. Set in 1920 Atlantic City, this is everything you could want from an HBO drama. By which I mean it has characters whose motives are complex and who got some of that ‘inner turmoil’ stuff. It is easy to call it The 1920 Sopranos, but with a half-dozen plots set up and several key characters, this first episode is much more an introduction to a bigger story than a standalone piece. It is fairly slow, as you could expect the beginning of a complex saga to be. HBO shows usually are slower, but since they usually build to something later on, it makes is harder to judge this early.
It helps that Buscemi looks to be an amazing main lead. He plays the treasurer of Atlantic City, and since he is not a straight up gangster, there’s the whole larger question of how good or evil he is, compared to if he was a straight out crimelord. One other thing about this show, which I loved, but might get annoying if overdone, is how faithful it is to the period. Though it could easily go too far, and descend into, ‘look at me! I’m in the 1920s! I can talk about votes for women!’
This is a great show, precisely the sort of thing HBO specialises in. If this is the sort of thing you think you might like, chances are you will love this. But it is not as mainstream as say...
Later that day I was thinking, “I would love to see an old-school, buddy cop show.”
This is a remake of a show from the 70s, set in Hawaii. It follows an elite police task force, mainly centred around the leading cops, Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams, as they share some witty banter and investigate crimes. Steve is following the trail of his father’s murder, and it looks like that will take the back seat as each episode follows the pair as they try to solve crimes.
It doesn’t feel like anything original, it doesn’t feel like must-watch-television. The pair have some quick witted dialogue between them, and the crimes are interesting. There are some fun shoot-outs, and it is all very well filmed. It is what it is, and it didn’t make any attempt to push itself further than what it was. If you want to watch a buddy cop procedural, then this is for you. It is exactly what you want. You don’t have to tune in every week, or pay attention to every little thing that happens, but it is a good show worth your time.
Then I thought to myself, “what if we had a sitcom based solely upon cultural differences. One where a young middle-management dude has to move to India, when his office is outsourced there?” No, hang on, wait, I never thought that because it sounds like a horrible idea.
Seven minutes in there is a joke about how curry makes you poop. Before this, there was a joke about how an Indian man has the name manmeat, and that cows are sacred. Yes, I know, it is funny that foreign countries are... kinda like foreign countries. They do things differently there.
They’ve thrown in a cute Australian girl as the potential love interest, and lots of references to how cultural differences lead to wacky miscommunications. I have no idea why you would want to watch this show, there are already brilliant comedies set in offices. It’s in no way worthy of your time.