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Setting & Set Design - TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison
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posted on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:26PM

TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison

Setting & Set Design

By Jeremy Whitley
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H2H ROUND-2: Setting & Set Design

H2H USER SCORE
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BOARDWALK EMPIRE: Atlantic City, 1920s

The set for Boardwalk Empire is amazing. One look at their mock up of the 1920’s Atlantic City boardwalk and you’ll fall in love with the show. The entire backdrop of the show is incredibly well researched and constructed. The real events of the time are pulled artfully from history and integrated seamlessly into the fictional events of the story. Every time I read about the show, I find myself surprised to find out which events were real and which are entirely contrived.

 

Perhaps the greatest strength of Boardwalk Empire is the depth of its setting. As soon as you’re convinced that Boardwalk is entirely computer generated, somebody opens a real door to an interior set. The shops are real and populated by real people. Perhaps this is also what makes the history aspect so amazing as well. When you meet Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, you’ve been trained to believe that the real gangsters will be merely set pieces. If you leaned against them, you’d expect them to fall over. The fact is, though, Al Capone was a real guy. Before he was the kingpin of crime that we’re all familiar with, he was kind of a punk.

 

Boardwalk Empire tv show set, comparison review of hbo boardwalk empire vs showtimes dexter
(Credit: NJ.com)


Capone lives in a crappy little Chicago apartment with his wife and his deaf son. Boardwalk Empire invites you into that apartment. You and Jimmy eat dinner with the Capones and get to know them as real people. As the season goes on, the same applies to everyone, whether they’re gangsters or senators.

 

DEXTER: Miami, Contemporary 

The setting is perhaps the largest thematic connection between Boardwalk Empire and Dexter. While I would never make an argument that 1920s Atlantic City and ‘00s Miami are essentially the same, they do offer the characters a place to hide: in the light.

 

While most of Atlantic City’s lights are manufactured or social, Miami’s lights are literal and natural. Miami is known almost solely for bright sunlight and beautiful beaches. The world of Dexter offers us that sunlight and those beaches as well as the sun blanched suburbs, the sunny glass police station, and the thoroughly modern apartment of our protagonist. Everything about Miami is open and inviting. There is nowhere for you to take cover. Every inch of the city, down to the police station itself urges you to let your guard down. Nothing bad ever happens on vacation.

 

set of showtimes dexter, in comparison review compared to boardwalk empire on hbo, set in chicago in the 1920s
(Credit: iwannagothere.com)


While there is very little about the set of Dexter that would blow you away, it fits the key of the story perfectly. Like its defender, Miami’s sunny exterior hides an endless supply of secrets, mysteries, and dead bodies. I believe that if Dexter took place in Seattle, it would be a far less charming show.

 

Winner: While Dexter’s Miami functions perfectly for the story it’s telling, you have to take your hat off to the depth of the recreation present in Boardwalk Empire.


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Setting & Set Design - TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison
BETA
HEAD-2-HEAD REVIEWS
Top Reviews>>
posted on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:26PM

TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison

Setting & Set Design

By Jeremy Whitley
 

H2H ROUND-2: Setting & Set Design

H2H USER SCORE
View Official Scorecard

BOARDWALK EMPIRE: Atlantic City, 1920s

The set for Boardwalk Empire is amazing. One look at their mock up of the 1920’s Atlantic City boardwalk and you’ll fall in love with the show. The entire backdrop of the show is incredibly well researched and constructed. The real events of the time are pulled artfully from history and integrated seamlessly into the fictional events of the story. Every time I read about the show, I find myself surprised to find out which events were real and which are entirely contrived.

 

Perhaps the greatest strength of Boardwalk Empire is the depth of its setting. As soon as you’re convinced that Boardwalk is entirely computer generated, somebody opens a real door to an interior set. The shops are real and populated by real people. Perhaps this is also what makes the history aspect so amazing as well. When you meet Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, you’ve been trained to believe that the real gangsters will be merely set pieces. If you leaned against them, you’d expect them to fall over. The fact is, though, Al Capone was a real guy. Before he was the kingpin of crime that we’re all familiar with, he was kind of a punk.

 

Boardwalk Empire tv show set, comparison review of hbo boardwalk empire vs showtimes dexter
(Credit: NJ.com)


Capone lives in a crappy little Chicago apartment with his wife and his deaf son. Boardwalk Empire invites you into that apartment. You and Jimmy eat dinner with the Capones and get to know them as real people. As the season goes on, the same applies to everyone, whether they’re gangsters or senators.

 

DEXTER: Miami, Contemporary 

The setting is perhaps the largest thematic connection between Boardwalk Empire and Dexter. While I would never make an argument that 1920s Atlantic City and ‘00s Miami are essentially the same, they do offer the characters a place to hide: in the light.

 

While most of Atlantic City’s lights are manufactured or social, Miami’s lights are literal and natural. Miami is known almost solely for bright sunlight and beautiful beaches. The world of Dexter offers us that sunlight and those beaches as well as the sun blanched suburbs, the sunny glass police station, and the thoroughly modern apartment of our protagonist. Everything about Miami is open and inviting. There is nowhere for you to take cover. Every inch of the city, down to the police station itself urges you to let your guard down. Nothing bad ever happens on vacation.

 

set of showtimes dexter, in comparison review compared to boardwalk empire on hbo, set in chicago in the 1920s
(Credit: iwannagothere.com)


While there is very little about the set of Dexter that would blow you away, it fits the key of the story perfectly. Like its defender, Miami’s sunny exterior hides an endless supply of secrets, mysteries, and dead bodies. I believe that if Dexter took place in Seattle, it would be a far less charming show.

 

Winner: While Dexter’s Miami functions perfectly for the story it’s telling, you have to take your hat off to the depth of the recreation present in Boardwalk Empire.


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6 Comments So Far …

  1. Joey Boots Joey Boots says:
    Boardwalk Empire is the best show on tv in the last 20 years! I like Dexter, but it's kind of common. It's good, but B.E. is really unique. Steve Buscemi is also the best actor on tv!

  2. RitaS RitaS says:
    Thank god for dvr's... these two shows are the best on tv...great rivalry!

  3. PhotoCrater PhotoCrater says:
    Buscemi crushes it - but I think Dexter's a better show.

  4. Life In Melody Life In Melody says:
    Boardwalk Empire is by far my favorite show, with Dexter running a close second. However, I find Debra Morgan to be a more engaging, interesting, relatable female lead than Margaret. Especially in Season 2 of BE, where I felt Margaret's character was significantly weaker than in the first season.

  5. Ruyman Ruyman says:
    Great, great episode of a tferiric show definitely the best currently-airing show on television. Looking forward to another A+ season of Boardwalk Empire. I also missed the significance of the title of the episode, "21." Unless it has to do with prohibition/drinking age? But I don't believe there *was* a legal drinking age in most states before prohibition. Anyway I agree, I only wish this episode could have been extended, because I wasn't ready for it to end when it did.

  6. H.Dumansky H.Dumansky says:
    Hahah, My laptop crashed when I was browsing www.head-2-head.com last time I was here. And for the past 2 months I have been looking for this weblog, so thankful I located it once again! :D best regards!

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