Tuesday, April 03, 2012

TV TOPIC: "Boardwalk Empire" Inspires New Mob Shows

For those of you having "Boardwalk Empire" withdrawals, yearning for the backstabbings and double-crosses that make daytime soaps look like amateur hour, you'll be happy to know that Hollywood has heard you and they're eager to please. Ever since the series premiered two years ago, networks have been trying to develop their own mafia-driven tale--actually, ever since "The Sopranos" ended in '07. But with this new-found interest in organized crime, they're finding new ways to show the controlled chaos.

HBO is already airing "Luck," with Dustin Hoffman as a lifelong mobster, who plots to take over the Santa Anita racetrack in Los Angeles and seek revenge on the ones who sent him to prison. And this week, Starz debuts its new series "Magic City," where Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers and Watchmen) plays a nearly-bankrupt Miami hotel owner during the 50s when Castro took over Cuba and the city was crawling with mobsters and CIA agents.

But it doesn't end there. TNT is working on the drama pilot "L.A. Noir" with "The Walking Dead" writer Frank Darabont at the helm. Based on the book L.A. Noir: The Struggle For The Soul Of America’s Most Seductive City, it's a fast-paced crime drama set in the 1940s and ’50s that tells the true story of a decades-long conflict between the LAPD, under the determined leadership of Police Chief William Parker, and ruthless criminal elements led by mobster Mickey Cohen, a one-time boxer who rose to the top of LA’s criminal world. Milo Ventimiglia ("Heroes") is set to star as Ned Stax, a former marine who served with Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal) during WWII, now a budding lawyer groomed to be a master "fixer" for the mob.

Meanwhile, CBS is developing a drama pilot that will star Jason O’Mara ("Terra Nova"), Dennis Quaid, Carrie-Anne Moss and Michael Chiklis. Written by Goodfellas' Nicholas Pileggi and Greg Walker, the project is set in the 1960's and tells the story of Ralph Lamb (Quaid), a former rodeo cowboy who's now the Sheriff of Las Vegas. Chiklis is set to play Johnny Savino, a Chicago "mob fixer" looking to transform Vegas, and finds himself at odds with Lamb. And O'Mara has been cast to play the sheriff's younger brother Frank, "the diplomat in the family."

The verdict is still out on whether all of these shows are running a good theme into the ground, but I guess we'll see in due time.

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