Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock
Ian McShane as Al Swearengen
Keith Carradine as Wild Bill Hickock
Molly Parker as Alma Garrett
is absolutely no reason why DEADWOOD shouldn’t be at or near the top of every
western fan’s viewing list. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of a reason
why it shouldn’t be at or near the top of everyone’s
viewing list. DEADWOOD is a refreshing trip back to the days of the old
spaghetti westerns, when settlers and prospectors didn’t have the luxury of a
Hollywood hair salon or an electric razor close at hand. The sweaty, grimy
inhabitants of Deadwood, with their greed and hunger for golden nuggets, loose
women and whiskey give the show a perfect setting for the sort of developing
drama it packs and with a cast of fascinating characters and ever-shifting
loyalties, the drama is definitely not lacking.
having paid his dues as the second banana for a good part of his career,
Olyphant makes an impressive leap to the forefront as Seth Bullock, a Sheriff
turned hardware dealer who can stand up to those who scare the wits out of the
rest of the townsfolk however while Bullock may be the conscience of Deadwood,
Al Swearengen, the sleazy Saloon owner who redefines corruption is hands down
its heart and soul. Ian McShane is simply explosive as the foul mouthed
racketeer with the run of the town’s very active vice industry. His character
is the most entertainingly Machiavellian bad guy since Alan Rickman’s Sheriff
of Nottingham. There’s an entire cast of supporting characters which are
equally interesting and which you’re better off not getting attached to since
the writers seemingly have no restraint when it comes to filling bodies with
lead, adding to the excitement of the series.
not been around thirteen decades ago, I can’t speak to the realism of the
settings but it surely fits right into what people (and by “people”, I mean
“me”) think frontier mining towns might have been like. Several real-life
characters such as Wild Bill Hickock, Jack McCall, Calamity Jane, etc. are seamlessly
blended into the story of Deadwood which also happened to be an actual illegal
settlement in the Black Hills of South Dakota. With mud everywhere, skanky
whores hanging around a dank saloon and language rougher than the discount
steaks at JoBlo’s last office party, DEADWOOD is as repulsive to watch as
it’s irresistible. Make absolutely sure you get your hands on this, it might
even restore your faith in television.
Making Deadwood: The Show Behind the Show (15 mins): A short yet well produced making of featurette displaying the usual stuff you find in this type of thing with participation by the stars, creators, etc.
The Real Deadwood: Historical Featurette (25 mins): As a western genre fan, I admit to a certain bias but this was most probably my favorite feature on this DVD or on any I've seen recently. It was produced for this DVD so at least it's not a recycled bunch of clips like most "historical featurettes" usually found in the special features section and it explains the historical material behind DEADWOOD, complete with history about the setting, the characters, the period, etc. Make sure you take a look at this one and I guarantee your second run at this show will be even better than the first.
The New Language of the Old West (30 mins) and An Imaginative Reality (30 mins): These two segments are discussions with actor Keith Carradine and director/writer/creator David Milch going over the origins of the series and the tremendous amount of profanity used by the characters. It also goes into an explanation by Milch of how he blended historical reality with fictional characters and plot points. Milch is obviously a very smart and articulate man but at a couple of points, his explanations get a bit convoluted and Carradine's face is hilarious when that happens... He looks like he's just thinking "what the f... is this guy talking about."
Four Audio Commentaries: Four of the episodes come with audio commentaries by Milch along with McShane, Olyphant, super sexy Molly Parker, Carradine, Brad Dourif (Doc Cochran) and Robin Weigert (Calamity Jane). If you thought McShane was cool in the show...