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et tu, Deadwood?

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Bloviating Zeppelin: et tu, Deadwood?

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

et tu, Deadwood?

One of the most profane, outrageous, challenging and wonderful series has concluded its third season ("Tell Him Something Pretty") and, with that, exited not with a bang but with a whimper. Deadwood has allegedly met its maker and, with that, like the series Rome, HBO is managing to shoot itself squarely in the foot.

Rome, a spectacular production, was a one-season wonder. Cause of mortem? Expensive to produce in Italy. Deadwood has run its course after season three. Cause of mortem? No one is saying precisely. Expense? The big clues came when contracts following the third season were not renewed.

Many people despise Deadwood; I know that from personal experience. I know people that actually excoriate me for watching the series. Some said they couldn't watch an entire episode.

Granted, Deadwood is not for the faint of heart or those unaccustomed to foul (sometimes that is being kind) language. On the other hand, in no other series or, for that matter, in a film have I ever heard such an incredibly lilting, flowing, flowery usage of the English language -- I would go so far as to even make a passing reference to the flow of Shakespeare. You either know of what I am writing or you do not.

The acting was simply stellar. The sets were unsurpassed and the verisimilitude amazing.

There is one faint glimmer:

The third season of the HBO western, which begins Sunday, will still be its last full season on the air. But the network and series creator David Milch have reached an agreement to extend the show's life through a pair of two-hour movies that will end the show's run, the showbiz trade papers report.

"I am thrilled that we were able to figure out a way to continue," Milch says in a statement. "No one was ready to let go of the show, and I'm really glad we've found a way to proceed that works creatively."

As it turns out, money was an issue as one episode of Deadwood took as long as 16 days to shoot, about twice the length of most TV dramas, and cost as much as $5 million apiece, trade papers indicated. The one season of Rome ran roughly $100 million, it is alleged.

Deadwood clearly isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I shall miss those horribly venal, dirty, tempestuous, corrupt and occasionally spirited characters whose humanity managed to show through the grime and filth.

Excellent interviews with producer and creator David Milch are here and here.

FARNUM: "I can't engage him in further conversation! When I hear his voice I see the inside of his skull. Phantoms grin out at me leaking gruesome goo." SWEARENGEN: "Slide this under his door then."

ADAMS: "When he ain't lying Al's the most honorable man you'll meet."

Goodbye to Deadwood. And with the deaths of Rome and soon The Sopranos -- whither HBO?



Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Well. Clearly, all my readers absolutely LOVE "Deadwood."



Wed Aug 30, 04:37:00 PM PDT  

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