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on 7 October 2017
Fast delivery. Would use again.
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on 17 September 2017
Brilliant watch. Can't wait for season 4
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on 9 September 2007
As everyone knows seasons 1 & 2 were superb. Beautifully shot, fantastically cast and a dialogue that melts like poetry. Season 3 is a tricky one - everyone is on top form but it is all a bit broken up with each episode being given over to an individual characters storyline while alway skipping around a main storyline. Searies 3 has curtailed its graphic 'grousomeness' as everyone is becoming a little more likeable and civilised. It is well worth a watch - you will get to the end of the last disk and scramble around in the box trying to find another disk exclaiming - 'what - that cant be the end'.

And indeed it is not. According to IMDB HBO offered a half season to the creators of Deadwood which they said would not be enough. The outcome is that HBO have (apparently) commissioned 2 x 2hr films to wrap up the series (essentially Season 4 & 5) - and of course these will best be viewed on DVD rather than broadcast. So keep an eye out here.
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on 14 August 2007
1877 and mining magnate George Hearst has set up his stall in Deadwood. The flagrantly sociopathic Hearst intends to use his considerable wealth and power to monopolise the gold of the Black Hills and to make the Deadwood camp his own. Al Swearengen, Seth Bullock and Cy Tolliver do not however intend to capitulate to Mister Hearst without a fight and, together with their various peculiar confederates, this unlikely triumvirate are soon drawn into a vicious conflict with Hearst's operation. At the close of the first episode of this the third series of `Deadwood', Swearengen emerges fresh from a preliminary and fractious exchange with Hearst and tells the endearingly imbecilic Richardson to urge the Great God of Deer Antlers `to ready for blood'. By the time the series itself comes to an end, there is no doubt that Swearengen's prophecy was well made. Yet for all the bloodshed, the conclusion of the third series leaves payback unpaid, multiple loose ends untied, and begs a `to be continued'. Yet sadly `Deadwood' will almost certainly not be continued. Whilst for the last year HBO have continued to deny that they have ruled out completely the possibility of making a further series, they have allowed the contracts of the entire cast to lapse and according to a justfiably angry W. Earl Brown (Dan Dority), have now dismantled the Deadwood set.

HBO cited writer David Milch's leisurely writing pace and commitments to other projects as reasons for pulling the plug on the show. Whilst Milch did in any case intend to bring `Deadwood' to a natural conclusion in a projected fourth series, the third season contains little sign that Milch was running out of creative steam. The script is still as sharp as Dan Dority's knife. Cerebral, eccentric, jet black in its humour, and with a level of profanity which in both its nature and subject refuses to bow the knee to the anodyne tyranny of political correctness, the dialogue of each fifty minute episode yields more memorable and eminently quotable exchanges than most TV dramas could possibly produce in a thousand hours. Milch's magnificent characterisation continues to be brilliantly executed by the every member of the cast, most notably Ian McShane whose performances as Al Swearengen have undoubtedly made McShane the coolest sixty-four year old in the world and rendered the character of Swearengen a cultural icon.

My reason for giving the DVD release of series three of Deadwood only four stars is nothing to do with the quality of the series itself but is a comment on the unashamed exploitation by HBO of European markets. The Region 2 DVD box set is, in relative terms, not only considerably more expensive than the US Region 1 version, it is also without the two discs of supplementary material (or for that matter, any 'bonus' material at all) provided in the US release. The poor, cash strapped US subscription TV giant claim that they cannot afford to retain the cast and maintain the elaborate set of `Deadwood' whilst they wait for David Milch to get around to writing a final series. Profiteering of the manner which HBO have indulged in with this DVD release will ensure that this claim rings particularly hollow with UK and European audiences.

In an age where watching television has generally become a non-surgical method of full frontal lobotomy, `Deadwood' has set the gold-standard for TV dramas and one which is unlikely to be met for a good few years. As TV production companies on both sides of the Atlantic maintain `dramas' and `sitcoms' of appalling quality for season after miserable season, that `Deadwood' should come to a premature end seems nothing short of a crime against popular culture. In what must surely be an implicit acknowledgement that the intended fourth series will now never get beyond David Milch's preliminary notes, HBO and Milch have agreed in principle that a two hour TV movie should be made in order to bring `Deadwood' to a half-way dignified denouement. Unfortunately, in a recent press release, HBO have conceded that the chances of this movie ever actually being made are at best 50/50. `Deadwood' will undoubtedly and deservedly take a premier place in the limited pantheon of TV dramas possessed of genuine creative genius; lamentably it seems that it is destined to do so as an unfinished masterpiece.
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on 17 November 2009
Pure brilliance. Deadwood is one of the greatest television drama series that has ever been aired. Its right up there with The Wire and the Sopranos. Brutal, violent, absorbing, gritty and with a depth of both story and characters that makes this must-see-TV.

On a more depressing note; after this third season HBO shockingly decided to cancel the series without finishing off the story. Also, make sure you watch the first 2 seasons first; otherwise its very hard to understand the story.

Great television but a shame that HBO did not continue it into another season.
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on 25 December 2008
Just a quick review. Deadwood is an amazing achievement in television drama. HBO have a great track record with these sort of more serious and challenging shows, and an equally good track record abandoning them for unexplained reasons with unresolved plotlines. This is evident on this season 3 DVD set which not only features no extras (in common with the season 1 and 2 region 2 sets except for a few photographs on season 2) - but also fails to even include so much as animated menus. This may seem trifling, but it annoys me as its more evidence of the abandonment of the viewer/consumer as the channel ditches a show - even the print quality on the box is poorer than the others!
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on 29 March 2008
In keeping with many of the reviewers, I am an enormous fan of this series. As such, Series 3 is ultimately disappointing, lacking the fluid pacing of 1 & 2, though retaining its intriguing dialogue. One is left wishing for a different direction, more of this and definetely less of that...

The outstanding character remains Al Swearengen. The writers have gifted him the material that amuses and illuminates, that speaks the ultimate truth of the darkness of human motivation. Of course, Ian McShane delivers with consumate surety - Al is a legend. Less can be said of Seth Bullock. One keeps hoping that Seth will explode onto the consciousness of Deadwood, setting his stamp on the town. However, he fails, blown in conflicting directions as each new breeze dictates. He has the potential but, it seems, not the contolling mindset to dominate.

The series was diluted by too much attention given to minor or unimportant characters. The tussle over the blacksmith shop is a case in point, diverting but frustrating as one wants to return to the important plot lines. Brian Cox, a talented actor, and inhabiting an interesting character in Jack Langrische, is also an unnecessary sideline. The eccentric Calamity Jane, whom we all surely have a soft spot for, is positioned within a relationship with Joanie. I did not believe in the dynamic of this couple, which was a shame.

The series moves in a jerky manner. Our attention is always engaged but with less compulsion than previously. You will certainly enjoy the series and it remains a gem. Make your own judgement. I hope that, as unlikely as it now seems, Deadwood will return for a shortened fourth series. Al Swearengen cannot be denied.
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VINE VOICEon 11 February 2008
Similar to the now legendary Spinal Tap volume control, I wished Amazon's rating system allowed me to go up to six to rate Deadwood, series 1 and 2. Within the constraints of 5 stars however, I have to rate series three as a lowly 4. Doesn't seem fair in the scheme of things because Deadwood stands so far above all other TV shows but there it is.

Series 3 (not 'season 3'...pet peeve of mine) sacrifices too many of the great things which made the first two series so good. Mr Wu is out of town, Cy Tolliver is confined to the Bella Union, Doc Cochrane is too ill to make his rounds, Farnum is out of the loop. New characters are brought in but go nowhere compared to series one and two; the Earp brothers, Aunt Lou and especially the seemingly pointless troupe of travelling actors are merely distracting interludes. There's even some weak acting in the form of the hotel keeper Shaughnessy (played by the same Dan Hildebrand who was so good as Tim Driscoll in series 1).

Eleven episodes are lavished at the expense of other sub plots and character development on building George Hearst into an almost unbelievably reprehensible megalomaniac with no redeeming traits, getting the viewer along with all of the cast to detest him, and want him dead. But then does not pay off. The sheer scale of the Hearst character completely skewes the previous plots and relationships in the camp: local politics (small 'p') and rivalries which held so much dramatic value in the first two series are rendered irrelevant in the new scheme of things. Hearst becomes the reference point for everything.

This is done brilliantly of course - the great direction and writing constantly ratchets up the suspense and threatening atmosphere through eleven episodes (relieved briefly by the adrenaline pumping fight between Dority and Turner) until it is utterly stifling. But then the hoped-for denouement is not delivered. With Seth and Al's crew pumped up, Hawkeye's men in the camp, Mr Wu's celestial army assembled and armed and all arrayed against the combined might of Hearst's muscle the series just fizzles out meekly. There's no blood bath, no showdown with the Pinkertons, there's no revenge or popular justice. Swearengen, Bullock and Alma Garret simply give in, the fledgeling and unlikely community of Deadwood cannot close ranks and overcome. Hearst wins and rides off into the sunset.

I'm sure I missed the point - Milch is way smarter than me and if I was disappointed by the way Deadwood ended then it's almost certainly because I didn't 'get it' on first viewing and need to watch it a few more times. Nevertheless I felt decidedly underwhelmed by the way the series closed and honestly thought there must be some mistake...was there a fifth disc somewhere in the box set with extras plus the final, perhaps cliched but satisfying climax? Almost without exception the dialogue, casting, characterisation, sets, attention to detail and acting are all of the most sublime quality - you take that as read with Deadwood - but I would just have liked to see Hearst get what was coming to him...
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on 23 September 2010
Season three could be described in two words 'awkward' and 'drifting'. The coherence of the first season (each episode a gem in itself) gives way to ever more clunky dialogue and almost comically bad soliloquy. The script becomes strangely more formal, as though more and more writers are thrown at the story and so 'imitate' the previous format rather badly and end up saying nothing with it. Each episode seems to flow into the next, without much to note. It's as though they failed to even realise the potential of the characters they had so carefully created in the first two seasons.

They all seem to end up waiting around and not really sure what to do or saying anything that makes sense, becoming rambling Calamity Janes, talking to dead Indian or moose heads, perhaps hoping for some sort of answer 'Oh producer, please take my character somewhere'. Poor Joni Mitchell just seems to float around, somewhere near a school, along with a fat guy that too needs a refuge from the script. No wonder she ends up putting a gun to her head, no doubt in frustration.

Even the drama troupe add no comic relief or form any sort of basis to represent events (as a drama within a drama). The careful handling of themes and people in earlier series ends up becoming a torrent of characters that are either boring, pointless, tiring, seem weakly connected to the story (and so on).

It's a pity it ran itself into the ground, but let's have no illusions, that's what happened to Deadwood.

Even though I tried to attribute the mess it became to the arrival of the telegraph and the fragmentation of modern life, it really isn't that deliberate.
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on 16 March 2014
Why Ian McShane did not get an award for this is beyond me.

I found this a riveting series and have watched all three seasons more than once.

McShane is superb as the evil Al Swerengen, but plays him with a fantastic element of black comedy. The dialogue is a wonder and really helps to make the atmosphere of the old west.

Plenty of foul language, but that didn't bother me and was probably historically accurate too..

A tale of the old west with warts and all, quite brilliant.
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