Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Reviewed by: Jordan C.
While you were all watching Boardwalk Empire, we were watching Magic City. Sure, Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, and Jack Huston are a great line-up, but what you know about Jeffery Dean Morgan (Watchmen), Olga Kurylenko (Seven Psyhcopaths), and Danny Huston (Wrath of the Titans) holding down organized crime in Miami Beach in the late 1950s? This show only lasted two seasons (2012-13), but I appreciate how it seemed to give us the whole story in that stretch…almost like they knew they weren’t going to get any more than two seasons. That’s not to say the first season is just set-up but many story threads definitely continue into Season 2.
Jeffery Dean Morgan is Isaac “Ike” Evans, an entrepreneur who has to rely on the mob to make his dream of a hotel on the beach, a reality. Unfortunately for him, Ben “The Butcher” Diamond is his point man from the Chicago outfit. Diamond is sadistic, voyeuristic, and a shade more evil than Danny Huston has been in any previous role. The Butcher just keeps getting his hooks deeper and deeper in the Evans family, no matter what Ike does to outwit him. Ike’s two sons the pretty boy pimp Stevie (played by Steven Strait) and the studious Danny (played by Christian Cooke), carry a lot of the story, and while Ike’s father, Arthur, doesn’t show up that often, he helps define Ike and his path. Plus, character actor Alex Rocco has a great demeanor that is a good addition to any cast. And although he doesn’t show up until Season 2, James Caan as Chitown boss Sy Berman was a statement that this show was not to be taken lightly. Lastly, the leading ladies, Isaac’s second wife, Vera, played by Kurylenko and The Butcher’s dame, Lily, played by Jessica Marais, both do an admirable job of portraying the position of women in this enviroment and era.
Okay, I’ll admit, Boardwalk Empire is pretty damn good TV, but these two highly underrated seasons of Magic City are worth a binge watch as well.