Deadwood (series) * David Milch (2004/6)

I do not mind an open end, but “Deadwood” just suddenly stops. The last episode does not even look like the end of a season. So, what about the three seasons that came before that sudden end?
Deadwood is a small US town in the late 1800’s, a prospectors city that arose when gold was found in the neighbourhood. Deadwood does not fall under any juridisction, so there are no laws. Some of the first people who arrived see to it that things go as they want, particularly Al Swearengen, the owner of the first bar in town. Later Swearengen has to give up some of his influence to Cy Tolliver who opens another bar and who is equally inflexible and manipulative as Swearengen. There are even bigger problems to overcome. The plague, towns that want Deadwood under their jurisdiction, but most of all: big bucks.
“Deadwood” is basically a soap. There is not much of a story, but the focus is on the development of different characters. A few of them certainly development in my way of seeing them. This is done truely wonderfully. The good-hearted, foul mouthed drunkard Jane; the bastard who appears not to be so bad afterall Swearengen; Trixie who does not know if she wants to be good or bad; Silas Adams whose allegiance never become clear; etc.
The eye-catching (or actually ear-catching) thing of “Deadwood” is the roughness of the life in the town and the foulness of the language. That is to say, the things people say could have been written by Shakespeare, but every other word is a curse. A weird combination that allowed the scriptwriters to throw themselves on entirely and which makes brilliant conversations that made me laugh out loud several times each episode. Then there is the superb acting. Ian McShane, who plays Al Swearengen, manages to tell complete stories with his face in just seconds. One time he has a face you would run away from, another time -about the same face- deep drama. The same for cursing Jane and a range of other characters. As funny most parts of the series are, as heavy some scenes can be. To close off, the humour is pitch and pitch black, but the characters, how harsch life and they themselves can be, they remain human afterall.
It is said that the series are based on actual characters, the language even (only the cursing has been ‘updated’) some say.
A wonderfull series full of laughs and here and there a tear. I am no fond of too long running series, but I would have liked another season of “Deadwood”.

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