Friday, May 26, 2006

Apparent plot arc for 'Deadwood's' fourth season: Everyone dies.

That's because it's all but settled that there won't be a fourth season, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Scott Collins.

By far, this is the worst TV cancellation news since "Press Your Luck" went off the air. Putting my editorial spin on Collins' facts, HBO is dumping too much money into the great-but-not-a-fraction-as-awesome "Rome," and "Deadwood's" ratings aren't approaching "Sopranos" levels.

As the Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan wisely states: "Sure, HBO might feel the need to pinch pennies these days, but let’s not forget -- in 2005, the channel had earnings of $1 billion on revenues of more than $3 billion. One billion dollars in profits, and there’s not enough money for a fourth season of “Deadwood”? HBO is being penny-wise and pound-foolish, in my opinion."

Because of the modest ratings, it probably hasn't helped that it hasn't won too many trophies from the Golden Globes or Emmys, either. And with the actors allowed to pursue other projects, you might has well bury the show next to Wild Bill Hickok. It appears that it will sadly remain the best-kept secret on television when it fades to black this year.

Why am I so upset? It's the best show on television. Maybe because "Deadwood" has the best combination of writing and ensemble cast on TV since "Seinfeld," and is almost as funny. Without hyperbole, I can say that every main character and supporting actor on the show is brilliant and that there's never been a bad episode. And as Al Swearengen, Ian McShane is as phenomenal, if not better, than James Gandolfini in making the viewer relate to and like someone who, superficially, is a dispicable character.

And Al's just one of the great characters: Bullock, Calamity Jane, Charlie Utter, Doc, Merrick, Wu, and Leon (That Guy from Square One TV!) steal scenes like they're Kristen Bell's grifter character in season one. (You might recognize Bell better as "Veronica Mars," which she started a year later.)

I wasn't asking for 10 seasons; just wanted one or two more to tie up any loose ends with some real closure. While creator/writer David Milch said HBO offered him a six-episode season, he said he didn't like how that worked when he was supervising "Hill Street Blues." I'm not sure I agree with Milch's decision, but it probably means that "Deadwood's" as good as dead.

There's a side of me that hopes otherwise. I think Collins was brilliant in closing his article by quoting the end one of Swearengen's all-time best speeches:

"The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man -- and give some back."


oldhall said...

I don't have any idea what you're talking about, but I wanted to comment on your AC/DC quote in your 'about me': I remember when that album came out, and we made fun of it, "what will their next album be, 'For Those Who've Recently Considered Rocking, But Are Unsure, We Salute You' "

Ha ha

Chris S. said...

Not commenting on "Deadwood": -5 points.

Snappy AC/DC commentary: +100 points.

Rock on, oldhall. (Is your partner oldoates?)