Deadwood: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
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Set in an ungoverned stretch of South Dakota soon after the 1876 Custer massacre, Deadwood concerns a lawless, evolving town attracting fortune-seekers, drifters, tyrants, and burned-out adventurers searching for a card game and a place to die. Others, particularly women trapped in prostitution, sundry do-gooders, and hangers-on have nowhere else to go. Into this pool of aspiration and nightmare arrive former Montana lawman Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and his friend Sol Starr (John Hawkes), determined to open a lucrative hardware business. Over time, their paths cross with a weary but still formidable Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine) and his doting companion, the coarse angel Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert); an aristocratic, drug-addicted widow (Molly Parker) trying to salvage a gold mining claim; and a despondent hooker (Paula Malcomson) who cares, briefly, for an orphaned girl. Casting a giant shadow over all is a blood-soaked king, Gem Saloon owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), possibly the best, most complex, and mesmerizing villain seen on TV in years. Each of these characters, and many others, will forge alliances and feuds, cope with disasters (such as smallpox), and move--almost invisibly but inexorably--toward some semblance of order and common cause. Making it all worthwhile is Milch's masterful dialogue--often profane, sometimes courtly and civilized, never perfunctory--and the brilliant acting of the aforementioned performers plus others. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
The plot of the series revolves around where order and community come from. Deadwood was settled outside of U.S. territory in the 1870's after a gold rush, thus leaving it in complete anarchy. Each of the three seasons is well-structured in terms of conflict. The first season deals with how the inhabitants of the town arrange themselves in this lawless town. The second season has the varying factions band together to thwart an invasive government. The third season pits the town against the hyper-capitalism of mining magnate George Hearst. Within that structure is several smaller stories that both manage to stand alone and meld with the larger themes.
The real strength of Deadwood is the characters. Milch has created perfectly fleshed-out portrayals of historical figures and some made-up ones, too. Saloon owner Al Swearengen is a ruthless operator who cannot help but long for an easier, more peaceful way. Seth Bullock demands justice from those around him, but constantly surrenders to his temper and his libido. Calamity Jane is a many layered character, tough and kind, offensive and caring, vulnerable and impenetrable all at the same time.Read more ›
There is something I would like to address though, the packaging of this box. It looks nice and it's quite small for 19 discs sure, but this comes at a cost. My mother is a huge fan of the show, so we bought her this very set for Christmas (via a local competitor). We are fanatically careful with DVD and bluray discs around my house, If they get scratched I get angry, and I'm not the only one. We've taken the 1st disc out of the case roughly twice, it's already got 2 scratches. Not because of misuse, not because of poor handling, just from sliding it in and out of the box. If you want to protect this investment I suggest getting some other cases to store the discs in. Whoever designed the packaging on this set was not firing on all cylinders.
The dialogue is not easy to follow, but it is well worth the effort. This is a show full of grimness, violence, and oppression, but also some amazing humor, most of it hidden in a tangle of words (EB Farnum's monologues are some of the funniest ever written). As others have pointed out, the profanity is extreme. The first time I watched an episode, I was shocked by it (though not particularly offended -- to me they're only words). Beyond that, it's complex, varied and rich in vocabulary. I've seen reviews on here by people who say that the dialogue in Deadwood shows the "dumbing down" of America. It's obvious they only watched the first 15 minutes -- the language is so incredibly elaborate and well constructed that a lot of people compare it to Shakespeare.
The characters are almost as rich and complex as the dialogue. Al Swearengen has got to be one of the greatest anti-heroes ever created and he is played brilliantly by Ian McShane. (In the first episode, watch poor Tim Driscoll talk himself down from a swindler's share of $6000 to a mere $20, withering under Al Swearengen's pitiless gaze.) Swearengen goes to great lengths to supress any hint of compassion in his soul (and usually succeeds), but it leaks out around the edges sometimes, in a way that is occasionally very nearly heart-breaking (his moments with Reverend Smith, for example).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reminds me of Gunsmoke circa 1975, when that show ended. Ended, being the operative concept. This aired with far more television choices than the three network channels of 1975. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Robert Welsh
We bought this for a three week RV trip and it provided riveting down time entertainment! FYI, too vulgar for children.Published 11 days ago by brbshrt
blu stands alone the series does the rest finally as are sad to say most really good series if you just watch it on cable etc. Read morePublished 23 days ago by tim huxoll
Appears to follow the historical accounts of the town and the era.Published 2 months ago by Ronald Saville
the commentaries are very helpful. but you will need an unsound DVD player to use this box set in UKPublished 2 months ago by J Rodbard
We have had many hours of pleasure from this series - I love the commentary by David Milch. I could listen to him for hours!Published 3 months ago by Jo Ketner
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