I watched about twenty minutes of Boardwalk Empire last night and switched channels. Boardwalk is one of those series I liked without feeling attached to any way. I'm a big fan of Steve Buscemi but still say he was mis-cast in this. And while the entire cast offers memorable performances the souped-up crafting and pacing of the show tends to make my eyes glass over. Last night we were introduced to so many different characters and plot points a feller could get whiplash just jerking scene to scene. The more serious flaw is that I don't believe any of it. Not a minute. The writers and directors are so dedicated to shock and crisis that there's no air, no grace notes (except when they laboriously signal HERE COMES A GRACE NOTE) and thus no believable (for me) humanity. A lot of fine people involved in what could have been a triumphant piece of television.
James Spader was so cool in the final episode of last year's The Office but when he returned this year the writers clearly didn't know how to play him. Now The Office was once a show I was really attached to. What writing, what a cast. But I'm afraid it's lost its way as has been obvious the past two or three seasons. Michael Scott was the only thing holding it together. When you watch how they wrote Jim in the season's opener (unlike any "Jim" we'd ever seen) you know how far astray the writers have gone. I imagine this'll be the last season. I say this with no pleasure at all.