March 22, 2004


Deadwood, HBO's new show about a lawless town in the old west looks like yet another winner for the pay network. Several frontier story lines closely braided together form the setting. The dominating character in this show is obviously the saloon and brothel owner Al Swearingen, who the producers claim was a real guy. They may have turned up the BMF component with him until it's off the scale. He's an asshole, but he's not a lovable asshole like Tony Soprano. He doesn't show any of the vulnerabilities of the mafia boss. Al's just out for money, lots of money, any way he can get it. He beats up his hookers and then they come to his bed the next day. You know, one of those kind of guys.

Any story with Wild Bill Hickock in it is bound to have some action. And he brings his tang to the tale, but the real central character might be the former Montana sheriff who has come to Deadwood to start a hardware business. Unlike most of the rest of the cast, he appears to have a conscience. And since Deadwood has no sheriff because it has no law because it has no hierarcy of government above it, the story might take his character in that direction (I'm sorry the name escapes me).

Calamity Jane, the Hickock groupie, made her presence known but so far she's just a trigger-happy woman, and no man would dare come within 10 yards of her. Strong women were the order of the day but not in the gunslinger sense. She was about 150 years ahead of her time. They did manage to show a motherly side of her when a young child is rescued.

This show will have gratuitous sex, violence and debauchery. But the first episode indicates very strong characters. Indeed, this dramatization appears to be character-driven rather then story-driven.

And I will be checking back in each week. It comes after the Sopranos so I won't be able to miss it.

Posted by Wayne at March 22, 2004 08:59 AM
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