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148 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HBO strikes gold - again!
1876. The Black Hills. A gold-rush attracts the desperate, the greedy and the vicious to a frontier town called Deadwood, a two-street mining camp dominated by saloon bar owner and pimp, Al Swearengen. Against this simple but deadly backdrop, plays out a story so rich in character, detail and incident, that most other dramas seem pedestrian by comparison.

HBO...
Published on 17 Jan 2008 by Cornyman

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deadwood Ultimate Collection Seasons 1-3
The show (5/5)
'Deadwood' is the masterpiece of one of the finest tv writers, David Milch. Milch started his career in 80's, writing many episodes for the outstanding cop show `Hill Street Blues', then in the he 90's co-created another revolutionary show, 'NYPD Blue'. With this show, he has written a great work centered around men, society, power, corruption; it's...
Published 21 months ago by principehomura


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148 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HBO strikes gold - again!, 17 Jan 2008
By 
Cornyman (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
1876. The Black Hills. A gold-rush attracts the desperate, the greedy and the vicious to a frontier town called Deadwood, a two-street mining camp dominated by saloon bar owner and pimp, Al Swearengen. Against this simple but deadly backdrop, plays out a story so rich in character, detail and incident, that most other dramas seem pedestrian by comparison.

HBO seems to have hit on a winning formula but the outcome is anything but formulaic. Like Oz, The Sopranos and The Wire, Deadwood is another stunning production that this reviewer finds outstanding, especially in light of the fact that I am not overly keen on the Western genre.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Deadwood (at least for British audiences) is that the character who dominates the series, around who all things seem to revolve, cut-throat Al Swearengen is superbly acted by Ian "Lovejoy" McShane. No, really. McShane steels every scene he is in; a brutal, profane man, who talks to a box containing the decapitated head of a dead Indian, who verbally abuses his prostitutes and other employees with an acid tongue, McShane is a revelation. Around him orbit a stellar cast. I shall mention no names because each and every one of them turns in an amazing performance. When taken together, the whole ensemble shines.

The writing, too, is again full of character and subtlety, almost too much to take in at one sitting. It is both heart-felt and honest, laugh-out-loud funny and yet brutal and savage. It takes a little time for the ear to adjust to the syntax employed; the lexis, too, seems of a particular age but once attuned, this particular writing style allows a range of expression that doesn't seem permissible in contemporaneous writing.

If you have enjoyed other HBO productions but are not sure about this one because you are none too keen on the genre of cowboys, shootouts, Stetsons and cattle-rustling, Deadwood has none of it. Over the three series (and hopefully at least one full film, just to round the story off), the story is as much about encroaching civilisation on a pioneer town - the first tentative steps of the law, the advent of the telegraph, the bicycle and elections - as it is about the people who actually lived and died in the town.

The only negative aspect to this series is the lack of a full conclusion at story's end. Sure, life goes on and I certainly don't expect a trite, all-loose-ends-tied-up kind of ending but the climax just leaves so much hanging open, it is begging for another series (or possibly even a film). That said, it's about the journey, not the destination and when the ride is as memorable as Deadwood, then an open-ended conclusion is a small price to pay.

Do yourself a favour: roll the dice and take a chance on Deadwood and you will enjoy every minute that you spend in the town, every racist drunk, every plague, every tombstone. Life in the muddy quagmire was never so enjoyable.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadwood - another HBO winner, 22 Aug 2010
I bought this ostensibly for my husband but actually because I wanted it for myself. Said goodbye to terrestrial and digital telly for a week and immersed myself in Deadwood.
As usual HBO has produced a high quality series which is nothing short of mesmerising. My only complaint is that it seemed somewhat rushed in the last couple of episodes and felt rather incomplete although to be fair this may have been the result of the directors and writers expecting another series in which to bring things to a more satisfactory conclusion.

Deadwood is set in the town of the same name in about 1875 although the events it depicts actually occurred over a longer time-span. Its characters are for the most part based upon its real inhabitants from Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane to the anonymous con-man pedlar of soap, although considerable liberty has been taken with their personalities and actions during the period of the Gold Rush and the negotiations to become part of the Dakota Territory. You can look them up in the official website and in Wikipedia. The power struggle between the two saloon and brothel owners, Al Swearingen and Cy Tolliver form the backdrop to most of the action while gripping story lines involving the self appointed sheriff Seth Bullock's affair with Alma, the rich widowed mine owner , the whore Trixie, the world- weary doctor and the tragic preacher. All of these stories contain elements of black humour, true human kindness, sadness and occasional terrifying evil. Violence is ever present and murder commonplace. This is not a series for your Auntie Minnie or for the faint hearted. Obscenity and blasphemy occur with eye-watering frequency throughout though this is oddly enough not as offensive as one might imagine considering the characters and plotting. None of it is gratuitous. Sets and costumes are amazingly good and you can just about smell the filth of the streets and the greasy dirt of the clothing.

There is not a single dud performance amongst its cast members and even minor characters such as the killer of Wild Bill, the drunken and abusive liveryman,the brother and sister ostensibly seeking their lost father and the mild-mannered proprietor of the Number 10 bar come across as well observed and believable human beings. Special mention must made of Ian McShane the English actor who plays Al Swearingen. His is a tour de force portrayal of the ruthless, murderous saloon owner of The Gem. It is a three dimensional performance of a basically appalling human being who does not flinch at feeding inconvenient corpses to the pigs yet has the occasional flash of kindness and generosity which he would die rather than admit to. McShane won a well-deserved award for the role. Not too far behind is Robin Weigert's performance in the role of Martha Jane Cannary (aka Calamity Jane). Here is a woman who has scouted for the US Cavalry, fought Indians, nursed smallpox victims and orphaned children and fallen in love with Bill Hickock whose grave she visits as often as she can. She is also a hopeless alcoholic who periodically binges for days on end yet can still be relied upon in a tight corner.

I loved the series, groaning when an episode ended before I was willing to let go and now sorry that I've watched it all. I will however watch it again in the not too distant future and see things I missed the first time around.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Fist full of dollars' meets 'Shakespear', 26 July 2009
Top notch western series that's set in the North American Goldrush era, Cica1870. It's well written, produced and acted. Not much is left to the imagination, verbally or visually. Family viewing this is not! The lead actor, Ian McShane is convincingly evil and worryingly, a likable ruthless killer at the same time. The producers went to great lengths to make the set as authentic as possible, the detail is amazing. Why, `Fist full of dollars' meets `Shakespeare'? Well, as you may find out if you buy this excellent box set, the script sounds as though it was penned by the great bard himself. You're sometimes left wondering what the character has just said or meant due to the script being written in a syntax that one can only assume was the norm in North America some 140 years ago. It's quite wonderful how the characters communicated with each other, which is now sadly a long forgotten way of speaking.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant HBO production., 17 Feb 2012
By 
Willy Eckerslike (France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Deadwood Ultimate Collection Seasons 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
The first thing that strikes on first viewing is the seemingly gratuitous bad language but it very quickly becomes part of the experience and recreation of the hard living early gold-rush. Thereafter you are drawn into the lives of the various characters and as series one and two progress the dialogue becomes almost Dickensian with the occasional Shakespearian soliloquy thrown in; yes, it really is that witty, clever and beautifully creative. The cast are universally superb; irrepressible, improbably honourable and compassionate saloon owner Al Swearengen (played with great aplomb by Ian McShane); irredeemably drunken Jane Canary (Robin Weigert - forget any images of Doris Day you may be harbouring); greedy and obsequious hotel owner E.B. Farnum (William Sanderson); upright but short tempered Seth Bullock (Timothy Oliphant)... the list goes on.

In season three, however, things fall apart a little. The episode synopses disappear, it doesn't follow smoothly on from the end of season two (in fact I had to check that we were watching the first disk of the series), new characters are introduced with no apparent plot to support their presence (witness the brief appearance of the Earp brothers and the utterly pointless theatre troupe) and the script seems to lose its earlier virtuosity, perhaps through the absence of Ed Bianchi as producer. Throughout the season, animosity builds between the odious mining magnate Hearst and Al Swearengen, but the skilfully managed tension just fizzles out in a most unsatisfying (though plausibly realistic) ending.

As with every other HBO series we've watched, the production values, casting, script and attention to detail are unrivalled and a few minutes in Wikipedia give testament to the attempt at historical veracity (with an acceptable level of poetic licence).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly compulsive - FANTASTIC !!, 30 July 2010
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The original reason for purchasing this collection was to see more of the actor Timothy Olyphant.
I didn't expect to like it as much as I did - because I was unaware of the extent of the bad language.

I have to say this is probably one of (if not the) most compelling series/movies I have ever seen and cannot recommend it more highly !!!
Great stuff and fantastic value from Amazon at this amazing price.
I spoke to family in Australia - they couldn't believe how good the price was.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweeping masterpiece, 6 May 2011
By 
Stuart Briggs "stuartbriggs" (England) - See all my reviews
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First of all, regarding the one-star reviews, why would anyone purchase an entire box set of 30-odd episodes if they object to the swearing? This can only be people registering a petty protest. I don't like `The Wire', but it would never occur to me to post a poor review to spike the ratings. Hopefully this will redress the balance.

Now, on with the review: along with HBO's other masterpiece, `The Shield', this has to be one of finest dramas of the past ten years or possibly ever. The plot sophistication, dialogue, set design and just about every other aspect of production are top rate. `Deadwood' is a modern-day Greek epic with love, hate, politics, friendship, suffering, tragedy, scheming, determination, redemption and even some startling humour (just think of Jane's one-word outburst as the stagecoach thunders past, briefly waking her from a drunken stupor on her horse) experienced within this fascinating community. I'd been originally put off by the swearing when `Deadwood' was first broadcast but once you get past that to enjoy the richness of expression, consistently superb performances from a surprisingly large ensemble cast and well-paced, excellent plots, `Deadwood' becomes a real addiction.

I've played my DVDs from this box set on an upscaling blu ray player which added immensely to my enjoyment as the sound and picture quality are as crisp and impressive as the highly original packaging.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why HBO?, 23 Jun 2009
By 
K. Bowker - See all my reviews
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This fine piece of historical drama from the HBO stable was sold short by the untimely end deemed by HBO for whatever reason. WHY? I don't know why at all. Great visuals,great acting so WHY end it at series 3? What happened to the promised feature length films of the said GEM that is Deadwood? Ask HBO and answer if you dare HBO!

This is the wild west in 3D. Bitter, sweet, dirty, raw, real.. Fantastic set... Ian McShane was born to be Swearegen... a revelation..

Even as it is, this unfinished symphony should be heard... The box set was worth every penny and the book sheds light from other angles..

Buy it folks and thank me later!!

Kieron
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadwood season 4?, 13 April 2008
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This is a very fine box set I cannot understand the previous reviews complaining about the packaging I found the set very well made and had no problem at all extracting the dvd's from the box. Obviously previous reviewers were too keen on getting to the juicy goods within and didn't have the patience to open the set with care. I heartily recommend this series it is incredible I loved every minute of it and Ian McShane was a pure joy to watch, how he could be so evil yet likeable baffles me but I am now convinced that he is a great actor. If you enjoyed the Soprano's like me you will love Deadwood, buy it, Along with The Soprano's it's the best ever t.v series I only wish they would make season 4.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utter genius, 5 Mar 2008
By 
D. Smith (East London, UK) - See all my reviews
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As has been mentioned, there are several reviews detailing all you need to know before buying this but in my opinion this is the second best thing that HBO have ever shown, (after The Sopranos.) Utterly, utterly superb. For those of you who like language, the way in which the characters express themselves is amazingly well written and perfectly melds the clipped, obliqueness of verbal communication in the era, with the vulgarity and profanity brought out by the struggle of trying to survive in such hostile conditions. I understand that David Milch was very particular about not letting the actors ad-lib during the production, so everything you hear on screen is exactly the way it was written; genius.

And nobody but nobody, swears better than Ian McShane!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant viewing, 13 Feb 2010
By 
M. T. Jones - See all my reviews
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I purched this product after hearing from a relative how good the series was,I thought I'd give it a try and I'm so glad I did,excellent,the entire cast are superb,Ian McShane (lovejoy) the best I've ever seen him act,I'm not realy a western fan but this I must tell you is so addictive that you just can't wait to watch an episode and then the next and the next and so on,the best I've seen in a long time,I take my hat off to HBO, its just a shame british tv cant produce something like this,I'll definatley watch this series over and over again,money well spent for such brilliant entertainment,I dont think anyone who buys this will be disappointed.
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Deadwood Ultimate Collection Seasons 1-3 [DVD]
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