- 4 Seasons
Deadwood is an American Western television series that aired on HBO from 2004 to 2006, set in the late 1800s in the fictional town of Deadwood, South Dakota, during the gold rush. The show has a large ensemble cast, with Timothy Olyphant, Jim Beaver, Peter Jason, W. Earl Brown, Dayton Callie, Alice Krige, Sarah Paulson, Keone Young, Larry Cedar, Kim Dickens, William Sanderson, Cleo King, Brent Sexton, Keith Carradine, Brad Dourif, Gerald McRaney, Anna Gunn, Izabella Miko, Paula Malcomson, Titus Welliver, Molly Parker, Jeffrey Jones, Franklyn Ajaye, Austin Nichols, Robin Weigert, John Hawkes, Leon Rippy, Geri Jewell, Powers Boothe, Brian E. Cox, Sean Bridgers, Garret Dillahunt, Ian McShane, Parisse Boothe, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ray McKinnon, and Pavel Lychnikoff.
The show portrays the struggles of various characters as they navigate the violent and lawless town of Deadwood, where the line between good and bad is often blurred. Mainly, the story of the show is about the settlement of the town, the acquisition of wealth, and the clash between traditional values and modernization.
The lead protagonist of the show is Seth Bullock, played by Timothy Olyphant, who is a former Marshal and a hardware store owner. He is a man of principles and tries to uphold what is right and just. His partner in the hardware business, Sol Star, played by John Hawkes, is also a straight shooter and one of the few honest men in the town. They both have come to Deadwood to start a new life and to seek their fortunes.
The primary antagonist of the show is Al Swearengen, played by Ian McShane, who is the owner of The Gem Saloon, the most significant establishment in Deadwood. He is a ruthless and cunning man who will stop at nothing to maintain his power, wealth, and influence over the townsfolk. He is a complex character who views himself as a player in a vast game of chess, where deeds, not words, are the measure of a man.
Another significant character is Wild Bill Hickok, played by Keith Carradine, who is a historical figure and a gunfighter hired by Swearengen as a marshal. Hickok is a man of legend, known for his sharpshooting skills and his dashing demeanor. He has come to Deadwood as a stranger, with a dark past to outrun.
The show features a wide range of characters, including prostitutes, gamblers, pinkertons, businessmen, and politicians. All of these characters come with their own motivations, desires, and struggles. The show explores themes such as greed, corruption, racism, and sexism, and how they play out in the context of a frontier town in America.
The show's production design, costuming, and cinematography are stunning and capture the essence of the old West, with its muddy streets, wooden buildings, and rugged landscapes. The language used in the show is also unique and reflects the historical context of the time, with characters often using coarse and vulgar expressions.
Overall, Deadwood is a well-crafted and engrossing show that offers a gritty and realistic portrayal of life in the old West. Despite being a work of fiction, the show is grounded in historical events and provides an insight into the formation of a small town that would eventually become a part of modern-day South Dakota. The performances of the cast are excellent, with Ian McShane delivering a standout performance as Al Swearengen. The show's conclusion was left open-ended, leading to years of speculation and ultimately a T.V. movie to wrap the story up. This show is recommended for fans of westerns, gritty crime dramas, and historical fiction.
Deadwood is a series that is currently running and has 4 seasons (37 episodes). The series first aired on March 21, 2004.