Amidst the trash of reality television, there are a few programs worth taking time to watch. Here is a listing of the best of the bunch for the Fall of 2012-
Boardwalk Empire-Season Three
September 16, 2012 (12 episodes)
Enoch "Nucky" Thompson is no longer treasurer of Atlantic City. His brother is no longer sheriff of Atlantic City. His bootlegging territory is being terrorized by Sicilian gangster from New York named Gyp Rosetti, a violent, unpredictable character with strange sexual predilections who isn't too happy about Nucky's exclusive non-compete deal with Arnold Rothstein, which effectively cuts him out of receiving any liquor. Problems start when Rosetti refuses to take "No" for an answer.
So the fight is on, and Nucky cannot afford to be "half a gangster" anymore...
I will not sugarcoat it-I've always felt Steve Buscemi was miscast for this role. He does not have the physical gravitas required of a gangster. Onscreen his performances look contrived, as if he cannot get himself to buy the act he's trying to sell the audience. Also, the writers and directors have fallen into the trap that sunk "The Sopranos"-spending too much valuable airtime delving into the minutiae of the character's private lives, and not enough time with the gangster shit we all tune in to see.
September 23, 2012 (10 episodes)
This series deals with the political, judicial and personal trials and tribulations of the characters that embody the spirit of the city of New Orleans immediately after the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina. Interspersed amongst the corruption, crime and difficult times is some seriously eclectic music that is brilliantly incorporated into the storyline. If you haven't seen it, check it out from Season 1. The series is from the same people who brought us "The Wire", so expect excellent acting and excellent dialogue. The acting from the ensemble cast is so convincing you feel as if you're actually living the days of nights in New Orleans right along with them.
September 30, 2012 (12 episodes)
For those of you who've been arrested without benefit of a phone call and taken to Guantanamo Bay in the middle of the night for some rest and relaxation, you're missing what is by all accounts one of the most excruciatingly irritating, implausible, and interesting series on television. CIA agent Carrie Mathison loses her job and her mind in Season 1, all while having an affair with the very man she's paid to take down-Nicholas Brody, a marine who was held captive for eight years by some Middle-Eastern terrorist organization and was turned by the enemy into a double agent. Despite the fact that he secretly worships Islam in his garage, doesn't get along with his family and goes out murdering people and having secret affairs, he manages to work his way into a slot as a Congressman who is being vetted to run as Vice-President.
The perpetually hysterical Carrie, played with a paranoid, unhinged brilliance by Claire Danes, is surrounded by a great cast-David Harewood plays CIA boss David Estes and Mandy Patinkin plays her direct supervisor Saul Berenson, who is the calming, father figure that seems to be the only one who can keep Carrie from going completely over the edge.
The Walking Dead-Season Three
October 14, 2012 (16 episodes)
Last season, the gang find themselves on the run after the shangri-la of Herschel's farm gets overrun by a throng of zombies. Forced to flee without a plan, they spend the whole winter running around scavenging. Season Three finds them looking ragged, tired, desperate and fucked up. Just as it seems they are at the breaking point, they run into their new home, an abandoned prison. At the moment, they must secure the perimeter and check for a building to hole up in where they won't have to fight off the undead. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Merle is back. Yes, Merle-the redneck dickhead the gang left on top of a department store in Atlanta handcuffed to a pipe as zombies stormed the rooftop.
The first two episodes have re-ignited my enthusiasm. I have always been a fan of zombie flicks, but I can count on one hand films that have given this particular sub-genre the proper respect it deserves. Season Two had me questioning why a third season was necessary if they were going to continue down the path they were headed. But I see now that the season-ending marauding of Hershel's farm was the answer to the homespun "Leave It To Beaver" existence these characters were attempting to emulate.
In this new world, there is no compass of previous experience to guide those who are still alive. They cannot and will not survive by trying to relive a bygone age where Rick's wife cuts tomatoes and cucumbers in the kitchen and browbeats everyone to death while they sit down for "supper", as the head of the household leads everyone in saying Grace. There is no more Grace. It's all about the evil, rotten core that lies within the heart of every one of them, and how they manage their baser instincts knowing the world they left behind is never coming back.
As an aside, this season so far has made up for an incredibly stunted Season 2. We've added new characters, lost some excellent ones and the volume on the action has been turned up to eleven. Absolute fantastic job so far, exactly what I'd expect from such an incredible premise of a zombie apocalypse.