FROM MY OWN PRIVATE COLLECTION "Deadwood" (2004, Season One)

From the beautifully orchestrated introduction to the very last shot of the outstanding finale episode "Sold Under Sin," the first season of HBO's innovative western drama series is pure perfection. Boasting some pretty fine writing and some even finer direction, the show manages to juggle several different scenarios in limited amounts of time without attracting boredom or confusion.

And speaking of people, the actors involved exemplify what it means to be part of a fine ensemble. Each handles the complex and suprisingly vulgar western vernacular quite well, as if it took no effort at all to master their lines. It's interesting, then, to hear the actors (via audio commentary tracks) talk about how much of their own dialogue they didn't understand.

Standout cast members include Keith Carradine as the stoic yet engaging Wild Bill Hickcock, William Sanderson as E.B. Farnum, Ray McKinnon as Reverend Smith, Garrett Dillahunt as the pitiful Jack McCall and Powers Boothe as the enjoyably evil Cy Tolliver.

Only Robin Weigert as the bullish (and barely understandable) Calamity Jane and Brad Douriff as Doc Cochran earned Emmy nominations for their performances this season. Both were indeed awards-worthy.

But one person stands above all others as the show's undeniable star attraction, and that would be Ian McShane as Al Swearengen. He drops F-bombs like a sailor on steriods, and he exudes total intimidation by merely entering a room. Literally everything he says or does is worth watching.

In short, Deadwood is a terrific series, one of the many highlights from the HBO network. It's a shame it only lasted three seasons, but at least it made the most of its time.

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Comments 1 comment

Rebasgirl 7 years ago

I truly hope you are getting paid for these fine reviews! You are a talented writer and a marvelous critic. Good luck in your future endeavors. See you at the Oscars. I am as sure as it is Monday that you will have a prominent place on the Red Carpet. Cheers!

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