"Boardwalk Empire" Puts Its Bets On The Table In Series Premiere

Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) on Boardwalk Empire. (HBO)

NEW YORK (CBS) The new HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" began this Sunday.

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The show is set in Atlantic City, at the dawn of 1920s Prohibition when anything goes in the filthy-rich resort town (well before the advent of the Las Vegas Strip).

The series boasts a robust cast including Steve Buscemi (as Nucky Thompson), Gretchen Mol, Dabney Coleman, Kelly Macdonald and, in a breakout portrayal as Jimmy Darmody, Michael Pitt.

The Martin Scorsese-directed pilot to "Boardwalk Empire," much like his film "Gangs of New York" is ripe with sharp creative direction and rich period detail.

The widely advertised drama has won over many TV critics and is expected to become one of the new season's hits.

For creator Terence Winter, the decade the series is set in is ripe for storytelling, much like "Mad Men" and the multitude of storylines that came out of the Sixties.

"So much is going on," says Winter. "Women get the right to vote, the Black Sox scandal had just happened, broadcast radio came in and young people were starting to come to the fore influencing culture. All that, plus Prohibition was enacted."

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