The first season of the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire premiered on September 19, 2010 and concluded on December 5, 2010. The series was created by Terence Winter and based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson. Set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era, the series stars Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a political figure who rose to prominence and controlled Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition period of the 1920s and 1930s. The first season takes place between January and November 1920, beginning with the start of national prohibition and ending with the 1920 presidential election.
The first episode, with a final cost of $18 million, was directed by Martin Scorsese and was the most expensive pilot episode produced in television history.
The first season was met with widespread praise, particularly for its visual style and historical accuracy. On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season scored 88/100 based on 30 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”. The American Film Institute named Boardwalk Empire one of the ten “best television programs of the year”.