I suppose you'll either like it or loathe it. If you like it, good; it isn't a bad film, but a bit of an idea of European history will help you.
If you you fall into the latter category loathe it because you think it's a bad film not because of the stupid bigotry shown in some of the other reviews here which seem to be so hung up on the USA and Mom and apple pie that they see "Commies" in even thinking about the event of the early 20th century!
After seeing it it made me interested enough to find out about John Reed. You might not like what he thought, you might not like Warren Beatty and what he thinks but for heaven's sake don't rubbish this film simply because it's about a political system you may not like, or have been indoctrinated not to like!
It's not brilliant but neither is it a "love poem to communism".
The characters (all of them) are your stereotypical Hollywood prison drama types, and not very good ones at that. Gandolfini, Reford and Delroy Lindo are fine actors what on earth posessed them (other than their agents) to be associated with this rubbish?
I guess this film came out post September 11 that's the only explanation for the cloying sentimentality of the final scenes.
Save yourself go and watch something else.
Much of that is due to the story and script, but equally important is that a good deal of the background is based on fact. Find out about Col. Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving - how they set up their cattle drives from Texas to Colorado and Wyoming and what happened to them (expecially Loving and Wilson's fight with some Comanches) and you can see that the beauty of Lonesome Dove is knowing that the story is not just fiction but has a basis in historical fact, this just adds to the quality of this series.
I can't really comment on the dialogue since most of it is obscured by the overbearing soundtrack - you sit there having to tweak the volume to try and hear anything and get blasted by the music.
Where this series does fail is in the hype over so-called bodyline bowling. The political scandal is depicted accurately, but as I understand it the only times when Australian batsmen were hit by the ball England were not at that moment using "bodyline" tactics. But other than that gripe this is worth seeing - if you like cricket that is!
Afterwards I thought why on earth do people rave about this film. A load of formulaic one dimensional drivel.
Don't bother wasting your time! Watch something else, anything, just save your time and leave this rubbish on the shelf!
I have a problem with Potter's works. Some of it is excellent. However critics, and the BBC in particular, acted as if he was some form of dramatic messiah. His best work "The Singing Detective", "Pennies From Heaven" etc. was excellent, however he also wrote a great deal of complete rubbish which found it's way on the screen simply because it had Dennis Potter's name on it. Look at some of the plots, try and forget Dennis Potter, and you have to ask why did they make this rubbish!
All the superlatives about Secret Army apply equally to this. It may be a cliche, but drama like this makes the BBC license fee worthwhile!