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Deadwood, an HBO Original Series

Waaal, Ah must say, pilgrum, this here's a series worth hangin' fer.

Right up front in the pilot of the series, a man hangs right off the marshall's porch and does the dance... until the marshall 'helps him with the drop' and finishes him off - the only disappointment in an otherwise powerful and fascinating, nitty and gritty, fictionalized historical action-drama that really kicks your ass. Guns'n'whiskey, fellas. Belly up.

Deadwood is based on the real-life events and historical landmark locales of Deadwood, South Dakota. In the mix is even Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, both superbly acted - especially Calamity Jane, in the most human and believable representation I've ever seen of the real-life buster of gender-roles.

People die in droves in this show. At least twenty four characters have died thus far in the first season, at least one by hangin'. (Love that!) They also have a habit of allowing a herd of voracious pigs (owned by a Wild West-stereotypical Chinaman) devour human corpses. Unfortunately the first to get et' is a fellow Irishman but I got past it.

How?

Molly Parker is in this show! My Canadian goddess, Queen of Sexual Deviance! The star of 'Kissed' who ... loved the dead! Yes! However she's a very respectable character in this series, a grieving widow from New York. (Her husband was a casualty himself, thrown off a cliff and his head bashed in on a rock.) She's also one of about two sole characters that never uses a foul word referring to ... those who perform oral sex on men. Think three syllables beginning with 'c'.

That's my one complaint with the show: almost every character is constantly spitting out the word 'c***sucker'; I feel as if I'm watching an entire cast of patients with Tourette's Syndrome. The 'F' word of course figures highly but it's simply amazing that HBO's original series, especially this one by far and away, features 'c***sucker' as if it's the catchword of the decade. They can't get through a script without it. If you don't want to wind up explaining c***sucking to your kids (and don't want to risk adding it to their vocabulary, especially with all the mnemonic reinforcement), you can't let'em watch this.

If you like the flavor of the Old West, and you're looking for something to watch on television (without the kids), this is a serious treat. This show is particularly great with on-demand. At this writing I can access the first five of the twelve episodes so far broadcast.

I can't gush enough about how successful the makers of the series have been in creating the atmosphere and 'grit' realism of the Wild West. It's cinematic-quality, as you've expected from HBO since their powerhouse offerings 'The Sopranos', 'Oz' (both of which I love) and 'Six Feet Under' (which I no longer find as interesting since they've been... screwing it up).

You owe it to yourself to try out 'Deadwood'. It should certainly succeed in making you a fan if you like Westerns.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.


------
The Alienist
jhfurnish@yahoo.com


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The following comments are for "Deadwood"
by The Alienist

Oh, yes
Alienist, I've often felt that we almost agree too fully to really agree -- some axiom I learned about in an existentialist philosophy class which I won't go into here. All I have to say is "Yay!" yes, Deadwood rocks and I really, fully agree with you on this piece. Calamnity Jane is also my favorite character and for those of you who haven't tuned into this show, yet, well, all I have to say is "Shame on you. This is the reason television deserves to keep on going." That's all. I'm ceasing and desisting while I'm ahead. :)

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: October 21, 2004 )

I Love Deadwood!!
I love this programme, for once it's something quite original.

What is funny is that the evil guy who owns the bar and runs all the deals (I fail to remember his charcters name) has been around for years on UK television. He used to play a character called Lovejoy, an antique dealer who investigated murders, it went on for years!!! So when I saw him in this I was in shock!!!

At least Calamity Jane isn't singing about the black hills of Dakota, although I do love that song really!!

Alex :-)

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: October 21, 2004 )

Calamity Jane...
...needs to shoot somebody!

Of course, she couldn't shoot Swearagen in the first episode or so, because he's a mainstay character, but there's gotta be someone else she can kill. I suppose she never killed anyone, historically.

( Posted by: the alienist [Member] On: October 21, 2004 )

Deadwood
Glad I stopped by and saw this. Started watching Deadwood from the get-go, mainly because of Brad Dourif (he and I both hail from the same hometown), and it's because of my bias that Doc's by far my favorite character. It was fabulous to see him and Robin Weigert (Calamity Jane) get Emmy nods.

The cussing was hard to get used to-- I'm no prude by far, but there are quite a few words on Deadwood that I don't use, including the one that you featured. ;) Too many critics, however, focus on that aspect of the show. If they gave it a rest and sat to really take in the show, they'd realize just how extraordinary it is.

I did wonder what the Bullock family thinks (and his ghost is said to still haunt the town), but if they get artistic license (which David Milch freely admits to taking), then I guess it's fine.

The only problem I had with the first season is that it took place over such a short span of time. I'd rather see things stretched out a bit, so more could take place. But since HBO only orders 12 or 13 episodes, that's most likely out of the question.

rambleramble... 5 out of 5 stars from me, too.

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: October 22, 2004 )

Thanks. :)
Well, how much can they insert without disrupting the 'true' (more or less) storyline? There will come a time when the series is obviously going to have to sign off, but then at least it will be able to end on a glorious note if they do it right.

More hangin's, dammitt!!!

( Posted by: the alienist [Member] On: October 22, 2004 )





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