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4. Boardwalk Empire

Network: HBO
Stars: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Aleksa Palladino, Stephen Graham, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael K. Williams, Paz de la Huerta, Anthony Luciara, Gretchen Mol
Premiere Date: September 25
Why we’re excited: After a triumphant first season, the pressure’s off for Boardwalk Empire creator Terrence Winter and executive producer Martin Scorsese. Heading into last year’s September debut, HBO’s 1920s gangster series was the center of intense anticipation, fanned by Winter’s involvement with a little show known as The Sopranos and Scorsese’s own status as an iconic mastermind of crime drama. The void left by The Sopranos seemed to finally have a filler, as long as Boardwalk Empire capitalized on its stellar cast and bountiful, Prohibition-era Atlantic City setting.

Eighteen Emmy nominations later, Winter and company definitely showed and proved; now, Boardwalk Empire is off and running. Spoilers for Season Two have been non-existent so far, and that’s a good thing; all we can gauge is that, based on the brief teaser trailer, Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is the primary target of damn near everyone in AC’s criminal underworld, especially former protégé Jimmy (Michael Pitt). But, as Season One confirmed, one shouldn’t fuck with Nucky. We can’t wait to see fools try.

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