Deadwood: The Complete Series

Deadwood: The Complete Series
The merging of historical fact, the incredible ensemble acting, the drama of an emerging community and the verite costumes and sets all make the three seasons of Deadwood an amazing accomplishment but what sticks several years after its been off the air is its language. Based, as outlined in several years of DVD extras, in the odd combination of learning from Victorian novels (with the bible, one of the few English-language books available for teaching) with the brutal vulgarity of a mining community, the base eloquence of Deadwood is its signature. Revealed both in extras featured in previous season box sets as well as an extra disc provided here, it's creator David Milch's greatest accomplishment. But not his only one. Deadwood — a very real, lawless gold mining town carved from First Nations land and nurtured away from the law-and-order United States — is a petri dish of the American experience: melting pot, war zone, capitalist utopia and horror show. It's all and none of these simultaneously, and through three seasons Milch directed its growth into what would have been the ultimate missing link in a true assessment of the American experience. "There's a good chance there'll be drinking today," Milch offers as he contemplates the premature end of his pet project. "And I haven't had a drink in ten years." His frustration is understandable — despite being one of the most expensive TV productions ever, three years of success led Milch to believe he'd be allowed to complete his story, either through another season or at least a couple of made-for-TV movies, but is nevertheless resigned to the show's conclusion. Closure, he notes, is one of the lies societies tell themselves. The lies we create to bring order to our lives is one of the running themes of Deadwood — the very nature of society and community are formed from such lies. And even though the possibility of redemption remains when Milch films one final walkabout through Deadwood's sets, he knows at heart that it's over. Strolling past the Gem, imagining Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) glaring down from its balcony, or just seeing the town's streets without the dressing of horseshit, sweat and human waste is glaring. Deadwood without its people is a town without life, and there's a great sense of loss in this Complete Series box set. But remaining are 36 episodes of some of the most remarkable television ever made, and what remains is the language of early America, salty and eloquent, and hopeful and exhausted. Like creator David Milch himself. Plus: original extras from all three season DVD sets; historical featurettes; cast and crew interviews; more. (Warner)