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Second time the charm
on May 18, 2016
This is my second Amazon review of Deadwood. The first was offered without the urging of Amazon back in the stone age when we put shiny plastic disks into black boxes which made pictures and sound appear on the glass screen of another big box we would all gather around.
This review OTOH is in reply to the gentle urging of Bezos et al who we assume are benignly monitoring our streaming habits and seeing an uptick in Deadwood streaming. You might think they are seeking a pulse in the era of 6" phone screens and ADHD as it relates to binge watching.
Let it go. Robot emails get sent to everybody that watches anything on Prime and we ain't special. That's about the size of it.... but...
Let's not forget that Deadwood remains the best example of how tele-dramas can be made that do not insult the viewers gray matter, how the overlay of contemporary mores and attitudes can be used to hook us in with familiarity and then keep us hooked because it uses that familiarity to immerse us in a world that is both as compelling a reproduction of a time and place as is likely possible, and at the same time so alien to everything we think we know that it's more times than not uncomfortable to digest.
Period series get saddled with employing current social dilemmas into their plots. That kind of proselytizing can be suffered in more mainstream fluff but it's a dealbreaker for me. Then there's the commensurate revisionism that moves to reshape the social structure of the period to reflect what we would prefer it had been or worse, what we want ours to be now. Drivel. Actors, writers and directors are under some obligation to play ball and the final product often reflects the creation by committee approach.
Deadwood not so much. Deadwood was in your face about a time and place and the people trying to survive in that world. Profane, illiterate, filthy and unstoppable. Not unstoppable like action heroes, unstoppable like small people eking out a survival strategy daily, sometimes by the minute. The unrepentant writing, remarkable performances and the most authentic sets I have ever seen, big screen or small... well sometimes, too often, somebody invokes the "magic " of motion pictures. Here's one show that fits the bill. Magic.
10 years have passed since the last season and the impact of Deadwood still resonates.
Watch Peaky Blinders and see a current example of how the Deadwood form has been applied to the period following the Great War in England. That show is not Deadwood, but it is very good. Good enough to be spoken of in the same breath as Deadwood.
I have a video collection of thousands of titles which we rarely take advantage of. The endless selection that the net provides is more in sync with our mantra to not dwell on the past when so much is available. That's yet another rule that Deadwood is an exception to.
Maybe there is something to the complaint that there's nothing any good on tv anymore. Maybe on your tv. On our tv, we can just stream Deadwood.