“This is a great set, on par, or even surpassing previous DVD outings released by HBO. If you’re a fan of gritty westerns or HBO series in general, this is a must have” – Julius Henry
Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Keith Carradine, John Hawkes
The last major gold rush is underway in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a land that hasn’t yet been appropriated into the United States. Deadwood, a prospering boomtown that arose when gold had been discovered, is a lawless town run by the wealthy and overrun with crime.
Seth Bullock, a former Montana lawman, and his partner Sol Star put down their guns and travel to Deadwood with the dreams of opening a hardware store in the prospering town. Bullock is an upstanding man of distinct moral clarity; he strives to stay out of everyone’s business, but his moral barometer prevents him from keeping to himself.
Deadwood is populated with a wide-variety of characters, from the legendary gunman Wild Bill Hickok (David Carradine, who seems to embody the Hickok persona), to the scientifically minded Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif), who slip in and out of each others lives in intricately woven stories and plotlines.
Every man and woman in Deadwood is obsessed with gold and claiming their riches, except ruthless saloon owner Al Swearengen. (Ian McShane), the unofficial overseer of Deadwood. Swearengen is a cold-blooded killer and a hardnosed businessman who is intent on exploiting the town’s prosperity and making his riches before the town fizzles out, as all boomtowns inevitably did.
The main storyline for season one involves a wealthy New Yorker and his wife who buy a swatch of land previously suspected to be devoid of gold, but when gold is discovered, and it is plentiful, everyone, including Swearengen, vies to reclaim the land and the gold for themselves.
“Deadwood” is rich series with textured characters and gritty pathos. Equal parts “Unforgiven” and “Straw Dogs,” it is a violent, unflinching series filled with morally ambiguous characters and enough swear words to make even the hardest man cringe. A gritty series, it has usurped “The Sopranos,” in this reviewer’s opinion, as HBO’s flagship title. The acting is topnotch, and the engaging storylines, too numerous to synopsize here, are meticulously paced and are in no hurry to build to their crescendos.
“Deadwood” is a show that takes some time to appreciate. It is slow paced and, in the beginning, concerns itself more with its characters than its plotlines. Halfway through the season, however, you’ll find yourself so engaged in the characters and stories that you’ll compulsively watch the rest of the series.
Spread across six discs, all thirteen episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1). The transfers are crisp and beautiful and the sound, Dolby 5.1, is focused mainly in the front speaker—it doesn’t exploit surround sound; only occasionally bouncing from speaker to speaker. But the mixes are sharp and retain the original, subtle sound design.
As for special features, you can find 3 Documentaries, 1Featurette, 4 commentaries by David Milch, and actors Molly Parker and Keith Carradine; Brad Dourif and Robin Weigert; Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane.
This is a great set, on par, or even surpassing previous DVD outings released by HBO. If you’re a fan of gritty westerns or HBO series in general, this is a must have.
Reviewer : Julius Henry
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