|Index||4 reviews in total|
It is a dirty shame that this is the last episode of this fine program. I understand that there will be two two-hour long episodes airing in the fall of 2007, but this is the end. I understand that this is not the easiest show to watch. The 1880's dialect and the violence can turn some people off. I always thought of this show as high art. It belongs more on Broadway than it does on television. None of this detracts from the brilliant performances by Ian McShane or anyone else in the outstanding ensemble cast. I am glad that HBO has decided to let Milic finish what he has started. The final two episodes should wrap things up nicely. Although, it doesn't matter how great the final four hours are I, and others like me, will always want more f'ing Deadwood. I just love this show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having finished the third season of this show I now feel even more
foolish for having spent so many years not watching it, because it
really does go out without ever having dipped in quality for longer
than one scene and it is a shame that it only got these three seasons.
The narrative arch in this season is similar in theme to previous
seasons since it continues to be about power struggles and politicking
in this small town. While season 2 was strong, season 3 benefits from
having less of a general threat (annexation into existing territories)
and much more of a very human, very specific one set up on the balcony
across from the Gem. Hearst is a great character and, like all the
others in this show, he is not simplistic and he is not the boogie-man
that some shows would have created. From early scenes where the tension
is in the words through the season as words turn into acts, he is a
great driving force and the tension between him and Al is fantastic. On
a very basic level it makes for a season plot that is tense and
engaging, full of sudden, shocking violence and plot twists that make
it very hard not to watch all 12 episodes in one sitting!
However this is not 24, this is a show with more going on than that and it continues to satisfy at a character level. The constant murk of morality is always in play and in particular it is very satisfying to see "bad" characters becoming "good" in the eyes of the viewer despite them having not moved one inch morally it is only the perspective of the viewer that is made to change. One such example is the wonderful (but understated) irony of Al's horror over the death of Ellsworth, and his sincerity in comforting Garret this despite the fact of course that he himself was responsible for the death of her previous husband. Similarly it is satisfying to see Bullock moving into the role of the rash and emotional where he had previously tried to style himself as the morally upright and unflappable and there is a lot of these changes as elements come together out of need while others side with Hearst (to varying degrees of success).
These threads fit closely with the Hearst thread but there is just as much of quality happening around the edges, all of which come together to produce a sense of community with vested interests but also their own lives and interests. Calamity Jane, Joanie, Trixie, Farnum, the school house, the theatre group all of these emotionally engage and dovetail into other events well while also standing on their own; I cannot think of one scene where I was impatient for it to finish so I could get back to a different thread a feeling one will occasionally get with ensemble shows.
As previous seasons, the writing is tremendous. The plotting works well but the dialogue is great near Shakespearean in the way the words have such colour and beauty to them. I started making notes of some examples while I was watching for purpose of dropping them in here, but there were just too many examples, the campaign slogan "Farnham: Christ knows he's earned it" is my favourite I think but like I said there are so many examples of darkly comic, meaningful, funny, rude or telling lines in here it would be pointless to start. The cast take this and run with it and are roundly good. There is no point in listing names because it will go on forever but suffice to say McShane remains tremendous, everyone else is nearly as good and the addition of McRaney is a strong piece of casting as he manages to convey menace and spite but without ever hamming it up or becoming a pantomime villain.
The end of the third season is both brilliant and disappointing. As the end of the total show, it is disappointing as there is a clear narrative in front of us that we'll never get. However as an ending to the season it is a fantastic downbeat anti-climax. The viewer (like the characters) wants Hearst dead, wants the town to win in a great shootout where "good" (as we see it) conquers "evil"; but when was it ever like this? In the end everyone is practical and stomachs it for their best interests in the words of Al, the viewer wants "to be told something pretty" but the gritty realism of the situation is what we get, and it is a fitting and very strong end of the season just not of the show.
Season 3 is excellent in nearly every regard and it barely has a moment that doesn't work in terms of what that moment is trying to do. It is a tragedy that there isn't a 4th season, but that doesn't really affect how strong this season it. Tremendous television - start to finish.
I absolutely love this show and cannot believe that HBO is stupid enough to let this one go!! I agree that this show and Soprano's are the only reason I let Comcast bend me over for HBO. And honestly, the Soprano's has been a train wreck for the past few seasons. i read that HBO offered Milch half a season to finish the show and he said no. it wouldn't be enough to wrap up the loose ends. What i am curious about is how two two-hour movies(4 hours) is any better of an ending than half a season? i have been waiting for 7 months to find out when HBO will announce the season 4 premier and i have to find out through IMDb blogs that it isn't coming back?! Surely they don't think that people keep their subscription just to watch City of Angels (or any other movie HBO gets their hands on) 22 times in 2 weeks. I just checked, right now they are abusing us with The Siege...thanks HBO, it was nice having you around, I'll be switching to Showtime now for Dexter.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the best television series ever. It's the standard I look up to. Of course Hearst wins at the end. This show was all about the American Dream and Capitalism. Hearst is the poster child for the Corporation and what it will become. He wins and the rest lose. The man who's lost the most is Al who is the smart one, but realizes that he's just a small man with a small team. He rules the small pond but that's it. The world is large and Al realizes that he is just a small man. Such a smartly written show. What every other show needs to be. A distinct THEME with great characters and solid plots. What a show. If only other shows were this good. The world would be a better place all around.
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