Review: Deadwood – Season 3

August 17, 2007


This week I finished the third of final season of the incredible HBO historical drama, Deadwood.

Deadwood was critically acclaimed, but was never a huge hit with audiences, however it did have a considerable following.

The show was based on the real town of Deadwood, South Dakota in the 1870s, before and after its annexation into the Dakota Territory. Several of the characters are named and based on real life people. Among them, Wild Bill Hickok, Seth Bullock, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, George Hearst, Al Swearengen, among others.

The show takes artistic liberties, and much of the storylines are fictional, but most of the major events and occurances are based on historical fact.

You could categorize the show as Western, but that’s almost incorrect. There is an almost modernization of the show, in the fact that it has this gangster welfare feel to it.

The characters are all very unique, and the acting in this show is nearly unmatched. It stars Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane and Molly Parker, among many others. There are also several high profile guest stars on the show as well.

Ian McShane’s character, Al Swearengen, is one of my all time favorite TV characters. There really isn’t any character on television like him. He is an evil tyrant, yet loyal, compassionate and strong-willed. You know you should hate the guy, but you can’t help rooting for him. The way Ian McShane pulls off that role… it just amazes me. The character is just a joy to watch, and it deeply saddens me that I may never see the great Al Swearengen on my TV again.

In my opinion, the writing on Deadwood ranks among the best in television history. You’d be hard pressed to find any show, at any time, that can compare with the amazing dialog that appeared in this great show.

Although it wasn’t the original plan, Season 3 has become the final season of the show. HBO decided against picking up the options on the actors’ contracts for a fourth year. They insist the show was not cancelled, and it seems to me it’s end came because the production costs were too high when compared to the income the show brought in.

HBO made an offer to do 6-episode run for the fourth season, but it was turned down by the show’s creator. Instead, they agreed on doing two 2 hour long HBO movies, in order to finish off the show. The scripts are ready, and at one point it seemed a for sure thing. At this point, HBO says there is about a 50/50 chance the movies will be made. So, we can still hold out hope to see those.

For those of you that either don’t get HBO or haven’t heard of this outstanding television show, I highly recommend picking up the DVD sets. They are available at any Rogers or Blockbuster to rent, if you don’t want to buy them. Either way, this is a show you cannot miss out on.

My Rating: 10/10



  1. As I have said many times……..I miss Al.

  2. First season was superb. Second was good. Thrid was a slow, painfull annoyance. It was like Lost: Hinting at greatness in the next episode, with absolutly no events in the present. And this went on throughout the season.

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