Thursday, August 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Deadwood’ deserves look 10 years later

decicco column sig

By
From page B1 | May 02, 2014 |

Ten years ago, a show aired on HBO that many overlooked.

It dealt with the complexities of the law, power struggles, race and how a society is built.

Blu-ray and DVD sales have raised its profile, but it was canceled before it could reach the ending it deserved.

Though many may think of “The Wire,” which aptly meets all these requirements, this series in question, instead, is “Deadwood.”

While Baltimore-based crime drama “The Wire” has enjoyed a second life with the cult recommendation as the greatest drama in television history, “Deadwood” is as unfairly overlooked 10 years after its premiere season debuted as it was when it first aired.

“Deadwood” commented, too, on social, political, racial and personal struggles, set months after Custer’s last stand.

The town marches from lawless, unincorporated – read: Native American – territory to being swallowed into the American political machine during the course of the series, which plays out in 1876 and 1877. By weaving together the factual and fictional, famous figures such as George Hearst, “Wild Bill” Hickok and Wyatt Earp appear alongside memorable imaginary counterparts such as Alma Garret, Francis Wolcott and Mr. Wu.

“Deadwood,” which first aired in March 2004, rode into town and broke the mold for westerns. It dismantled the fables about heroic, morally superior outlaws, throwing shade on Ian McShane’s Emmy-nominated Al Swearengen, owner of the Gem Saloon and the show’s wiliest reprobate. Though among the town’s most clever, Swearengen’s saloon doubles as a legitimate business for an enterprise that also traffics in everything from opiates to murder.

Yet he managed to be likable, too, a principle part of organizing the town’s government as well as looking out for Garret when Hearst’s mining operation escalated his interest in her claim to more violent forms of persuasion.

Nonetheless, the final scene of the series is him scrubbing blood off the floor of his office, lamenting that one of his saloon employees – perhaps like fans of the show itself – “wants me to tell him something pretty.”

Because of low ratings and high costs, HBO decided to close shop on the exquisite drama in 2006 after three seasons. There was talk of doing a pair of two-hour movies to tie up the series and though we’re in an era where shows enjoy heretofore unprecedented renaissances (“Family Guy,” “Arrested Development,” “Futurama,” “24”), the more time wears on, the less likely it seems possible.

This is a shame because the show left a number of threads hanging. The third and final season introduced pieces series creator David Milch planned to pay off in season four, such as the deep investment in a newly arrived theater troupe. In the form we’re left, it can be chalked up to a description of the show’s ever-expanding universe, a way to show the march toward civilization.

What makes the show a joy to catch for the first time or revisit after all these years is its complex characters as well as its dense prose, lavish costumes and that indescribable French term mise en scène, which speaks to the sum of the elements put on the screen. In much the same way Baltimore was a principle character in “The Wire,” so, too, was the South Dakota town of Deadwood in its show.

It also features actors who later went on to acclaim in other work, such as John Hawkes, who earned an Oscar nomination as leathery, unsettling meth addict Teardrop Dolly in “Winter’s Bone,” Timothy Olyphant, who’s played lead role Raylan Givens for five seasons on FX’s “Justified,” and Anna Gunn, who played Skyler White on “Breaking Bad,” among others.

But like any good show, it needs to be viewed to be fully appreciated.

On a network that housed heavyweights such as “The Wire” and “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” may have been easy to overlook, but it’s held up as well as any other show since the turn of the millennium.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Notta Prude, But....May 02, 2014 - 6:45 am

    Great show but I believe viewers should be advised that there has never been anything on the screen with as many "F" bombs. Don't know why they believed it necessary for every other word to be F........

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bob LivesayMay 02, 2014 - 7:04 am

    You are correct about the Wire. It had many folks from "Homicide Life on the Streets" also centered in Baltimore. I appeared in both on and off . I was in most of the last season of the Wire. A glorified so called featured extra. It was fun and very well done and a very friendly atmosphere on the set. By the way I love Deadwood.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Yes!!May 02, 2014 - 8:03 am

    I hadn't heard of Deadwood until a couple years ago, and finally got around to watching the show in its entirety. Strangely, I grew such a deep connection with the characters and storyline, and was heartbroken when I reached the final episode. Now, when I see the actors on other television shows—such as Sons of Anarchy, though there’ve been many others—I annoy the people around me by crying out: “I miss Deadwood!!!!” Firefly is yet another show that was wrongfully overlooked.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Railroad crossing stalemate continues

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 10 Comments

 
First day back to school brings laughter, jitters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Potrero Hills Landfill legal appeals exhausted

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Breakfast after the Bell wins support

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2, 5 Comments

 
Suisun city employees get pay raise

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield candidates hear about lean, nimble city staff

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Free e-waste collection to benefit Scarlet Brigade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield mayor to appear at GOP dinner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

Girls on the Run seeks volunteer life coaches

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
College finalizes police department takeover, OKs bond plan

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Weather for Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Militants use British killer as propaganda

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Governor criticizes new-hire pension enhancements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

US mission to rescue hostages in Syria failed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
US official: More airstrikes in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 10 Comments

 
School sorry for making special ed kids sort trash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Police seek mystery pair in selfies after burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Teens deny threatening boy in school shooting plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Panel OKs state librarian despite initial concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
North Korea insults John Kerry over his looks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

Ukrainian govt troops take over much of Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Picture emerges of officer in Ferguson shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 9 Comments

Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
CHP says officer may face serious beating charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

8 homes destroyed, 1,500 threatened by wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Drought has state debating its unregulated pumping

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Holder says he understands mistrust of police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 5 Comments

 
Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
California needs pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 7 Comments

Tell the story, don’t be it

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7

 
 
We’re spending way too much on raising our kids

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A7

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Why do parents drink alcohol after their children’s games?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

And the Emmy winners are…? We’re happy to guess!

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Aniston, Hamm, Hudson set to Stand Up to Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Peavy pitches Giants to 8-3 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
WR Stevie Johnson adds depth to 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fairfield boxer Avila set to put perfect 15-0 record on the line

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants win protest, rain-shortened game to resume Thursday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A’s stumble and must regroup with Angels coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders FB Reece’s injury not as bad as feared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Reality check for Phelps at Pan Pacific Champs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kent State starting center dies at 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Serena Williams seeded No. 1 at US Open; Halep 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tony Stewart skipping 3rd straight race after Ward’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Las Vegas spoils Mo’ne’s night, beats Philly 8-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks F Torres undergoes surgery on right knee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

US routs Dominicans in exhibition as Rose rests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Schilling blames chewing tobacco for mouth cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sports on TV for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

BofA reaches $17B settlement with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Brine firm sues over biblical fracking billboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Apple’s stock bounces back to hit a new high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

David G. Gibson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Charles (Chuck) H. Doty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9