Once in a while comes a TV series that you find yourself drawn to and unable to miss. Mine have included Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, M*A*S*H, Carnivale and last one was The West Wing and when it finished I mourned. But salvation is nigh, Deadwood has been discovered!
The series is a Western set in the 1870s in Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory. At the time, Deadwood (a real town in the modern state of South Dakota) was little more than a makeshift camp illegally raised on Indian land, but it was a popular destination for those prospecting for gold in theBlack Hills. The series charts Deadwood’s growth from lawless prospector’s camp to actual legal town in a muddy, often violent, and extremely foul-mouthed programme that (I think) paints a very believable image of the Wild West.
Deadwood features many real historical figures, such as Wild Bill Hickok, Seth Bullock, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Al Swearengen, Wyatt Earp, E. B. Farnum and George Hearst. The plotlines involving these characters include historical truths as well as substantial fiction. Some of the characters are fully fictional, although they certainly may have been based on actual persons. And the cast? Ian McShane, Keith Carradine and Timothy Olyphant are at the top of an amazing ensemble cast that deserve way more recognition.
Three 12-episode seasons were created, and then the show was cancelled by great and powerful TV execs who have no vision, foresight or IQ over 60. (Perhaps it’s all the big words in intelligent dialogue that have them fershnicked?) Why are the very best programmes, with the biggest fan followings, continually given the axe?! Deadwood, unfortunately suffered an axeman’s blow in 2006. But due to public outcry, two 2-hour films are in production.
But Deadwood‘s a highly credible and very enjoyable show. And I suggest you check it out on DVD. I also suggest you check out all seven seasons of The West Wing (in particular for the new, the pilot episode and the Season 2 episode The Stackhouse Fillibuster) and the measley 14 episodes that were made of Firefly before it was cancelled, all of which are TV gems deserving of our recognition.
Firefly (which became the best film of 2006, Serenity), The West Wing, and Deadwood. All 3 deserve to be revived, if only to continue the quality of writing as long as possible. And I am positive that an audience is out there for intelligent, good, television.