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Deadwood: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 701 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In an age of plunder and greed, the richest gold strike in American History draws a throng of restless misfits to an outlaw settlement where everything--and everyone--has a price. Welcome to Deadwood...a hell of a place to make your fortune.

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Deadwood represents one of those periodic, wholesale reinventions of the Western that is as different from, say, Lonesome Dove as that miniseries is from Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo or the latter is from Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur. In many ways, HBO's Deadwood embraces the Western's unambiguous morality during the cinema's silent era through the 1930s while also blazing trails through a post-NYPD Blue, post-The West Wing television age exalting dense and customized dialogue. On top of that, Deadwood has managed an original look and texture for a familiar genre: gritty, chaotic, and surging with both dark and hopeful energy. Yet the show's creator, erstwhile NYPD Blue head writer David Milch, never ridicules or condescends to his more grasping, futile characters or overstates the virtues of his heroic ones.

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


Special Features

  Audio Commentary
  Featurette
  Interviews
  MAKING OF

Product Details

  • Actors: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Brad Dourif, W. Earl Brown
  • Writers: David Milch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Box set, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 13
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2014
  • Run Time: 2140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (701 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00129AJFO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,770 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Deadwood: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jonathan Kissel on December 10, 2008
Format: DVD
Of all the TV series I have watched beginning to end, Deadwood is the one I keep coming back to. Even though I've seen every episode countless times, I still pick up something new with each viewing. It still makes me laugh. It still makes me think. It still gives me chills, and it still makes me cry. It is a brilliant man, executive producer and head writer David Milch, at the peak of his powers as a storyteller. Watching Deadwood is like reading a 1200 page novel from 150 years ago. Broad themes in a small setting, complex and conflicted characters, and detailed scenery make for a completely immersive experience.

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.
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Format: DVD
...and bummed by the loose ends, don't worry. It all turns out well. As a lifelong South Dakotan and a history major I can tell you it all ends well. Yes, George Hearst did fix the election and steal the office of Sheriff away from Seth Bullock. Bullock had been a U.S. congressman from Montana before coming to Deadwood, though, and had friends in Washington. When they found out that Hearst had fixed the sheriff's race, they appointed Seth Bullock U.S. Marshall for the Dakota Territory. That gave him authority over all law enforcement in the area, canceling out Hearst's move. Bullock would meet a young Teddy Roosevelt in the Dakotas and they became lifelong friends. Bullock even led the inaugural parade when Roosevelt became President of the United States.
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Format: DVD
Deadwood is an excellent series. I'm not even going to debate the quality of the show. If you haven't seen it you're missing out.

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.
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This is simply the best television show ever created, as far as I'm concerned. I have watched Season One 7 or 8 times by now, and Seasons Two and Three close to that many times, and I am still in awe, every time. I still feel the same thrill when the theme music kicks in, and I gain new insights every time I watch it.

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).
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