Deadwood is an HBO series that came out in 2004 and ran for 36 Episodes. It wasn’t enough. I highly recommend this series and even the way it ended wrapped it up nicely. Not like the Riches which just ends abruptly. The problem with Deadwood is that it is so well written and shot with such care and thought that you will plow through 36 1 hour episodes in a day and a half if you are not careful. Band of Brothers had the same impact on me. I couldn’t get enough of Deadwood. The characters are dynamic, the plot twists, the scenery is stunning, there are surprises and quiet moments. It’s bawdy, its brash, its vulgar, its awesome.
It is an absolute crime that they didn’t keep this series going after just three years. It’s about the real life mining town of Deadwood South Dakota and the series borrows from history to keep things authentic. But the writing only uses history as a jumping off point. It’s sort of a jambalaya of history and creativity. The actors blew me away. Not big name Hollywood, people magazine crap but honest hard working actors laboring at their craft and trying to make a living.
The series is set in the 1870’s and charts Deadwood’s growth as an outpost gold mining town on Native American territory to a possible future statehood. All of the main characters are based on actual historical figures which makes for compelling writing as they blend actual historical events with well crafted fiction. Newspapers and diaries were consulted to blend the story line and then the writer David Milch applies his craft.
I don’t know much about Milch but in a few interviews I was stunned at his depth intelligence, thoughtfulness and heart. And I look forward to exploring his other work.
Deadwood is a raucous affair of dancing girls, raw humanity, virtue mauled by reality and reality usurped by virtue. Real tension is created between the characters. Timothy Olyphant seethes as Seth Bullock the former sheriff and hardware store owner, Ian McShane is as in your face as a character can get, bombastic, brutal, candid, like a howitzer, loud, spitting profanity and action and yet his character isn’t all just bombastic.
I had a tough time with the first few episodes the profanity was prolific but the writers either toned it down or I got used to it after a few episodes. Kim Dickens lends an air of femininity to a heavily brutal and victimized cast and Robin Weigert just kills it as Calamity Jane. Powers Booth brings the ice, cold hearted ways to the screen, and Paula Malcomson another actress I had not heard of fills the screen with strength, angst, venom, vigor, honesty and crassness as Trixie.
All in all a great series- get it from Net Flix. If you haven’t been to Deadwood you are missing something truly raw, and human. Five outstanding stars!