Fans of the HBO drama might get to see the return of Ian McShane’s Al Swearengen as Deadwood is looking like it’s getting ready to go before cameras this Fall.
Pain or damage don’t end the world. Or despair or f–king beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man… and give some back.
It’s been near ten years since we left Deadwood. The short-lived HBO western ran for only 36 episodes, but built up a following by ways of excellent casting, and the reciting of a vulgar poetry with masterful delivery. An ensemble led by Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant, and filled out by some of the best character actors in the industry, delivered us some of the best played scenes in television history. But average ratings, coupled with exorbitant budgets, led to a premature end to the series.
Now, nearly a decade after it went off the air, creator David Milch is returning with a movie that will hopefully give long-suffering fans a fitting finale.
From 2004-2006 HBO ran one of the best shows in the premium network’s history. That show was Deadwood, and it told a story of early South Dakota, and how a mining camp became a city. The story was told with a Shakespearean poetry to the dialogue, spoken by colorful characters and boasting a cast of extremely talented actors. But the story wasn’t cheap to tell, costing HBO about $5 million an episode to produce, and failed to get the kind of ratings that they saw with The Sopranos, so despite an excellently crafted and incredibly intense end to season three, the show was canceled.
Continue reading Slimmest of Possibilities; Rumors Swirl Around Deadwood Movie
If there was anyone that wanted concrete proof that the world of television, and particularly the world of television writer employment is an enigma, look no further than the career of Shawn Ryan. He has had the dubious reputation of being quite possibly the most canceled writer/show runner in Hollywood today. Shows such as Lie to Me, The Unit, The Chicago Code, Last Resort, and Terriers have all been canceled, the last two being within the first season. Only in Hollywood could someone repeatedly be canceled and yet repeatedly finding new jobs.
I love westerns. Love them. But unfortunately, I honestly don’t see any new westerns coming out that’ll totally upend and reinvent the genre, thus establishing a new character that could trump any of the following ten. That’s not to say that the western genre is stagnant, or recycling material, but it’s a genre that has clearly peaked, and is in its twilight years, where most modern movies are looking back at its respective genre, rather than looking forward. New great westerns are still being made, they’re just not nearly as popular as they once were, and as such, innovation is mostly being left by the wayside. I suppose you could count Django Unchained as innovation, but I’m still very skeptical on my opinion of that film, a skepticism I’m sure isn’t shared by my colleagues here at Grizzly Bomb.
David Milch is a curious show creator. He is most famously known for his HBO series Deadwood, Luck, and ABC’s NYPD Blue. One of his most ambitious series, that was never much appreciated in its time, and even outright loathed by many, was John From Cincinnati. It only had one season, and its first episode debuted with a huge lead in from The Sopranos Finale. This may or may not have hurt its chances right from the outset, as many Sopranos fans were upset by that shows controversial ending, and were not ready at all for the slow-paced, heady, and very confusing pilot that was John From Cincinnati. Even I’ll admit, its pilot, while intriguing, wasn’t necessarily good. It was the definition of what you’d call a rocky start, and was really coasting on its Milchian pedigree.
John From Cincinnati is about a famous family of surfers, who all befriend a mysterious stranger named John. The Yost family are all highly dysfunctional, and barely stand each other. Mitch Yost, the elder and most famous surfer is overbearing, self-centered and distant from his wife Cissy, and his own son Butchie. Butchie is a formerly famous surfer too, now washed up and addicted to drugs. The only thing keeping them together is Butchie’s son, Shaun Yost, a surfing/skating prodigy, who is in the custody of Cissy and Mitch. All of them harbor deep psychological issues and baggage they are holding onto, be it guilt, regret or some unfulfilled promise. John’s presence, the moment he enters their lives, slowly begins to change that, in ways they never could have predicted, and in ways that nobody could possibly understand at first. It’s these changes we first see, with Mitch Yost, ironically and literally floating inches into the air, mysteriously hovering, against his own will. These changes continue, with Butchie, the previously mentioned drug addict, who has gone broke, and can no longer afford his fix, but finds himself not suffering heroin withdrawal. John himself is a simple looking, plain clothed man in his early 20’s who has a habit of parroting speech back at whoever speaks to him, but still manages to communicate with intonation, body language, and the select few original words he speaks, all with a sense of gravitas and meaning to them that is mystifying and entirely logical at the same time. Now that’s just the Yost family, and John continues to help and change every single person who comes into contact with him. The show features a huge ensemble cast of characters, all with their own unique problems that John, in turn, one by one, begins to help in his own special way.
It’s a show that is nearly impossible to sum up in a single sentence, but in my many attempts to tell people why the show is great, I’ve found a way to effectively communicate what the show is about, and what its audience should expect to get from watching it. JFC is about transcendence. It’s about very real, very damaged characters, with borderline unsolvable personal issues, finding the means to heal themselves, mentally and sometimes physically, with the very presence of John arriving. He is a conduit to our own self discovery, and shows us, literally with our own words, the way to a new level of being. The shows title sequence alone hints at its spiritual and extraterrestrial nature.
The show also has an amazing soundtrack.
In no way am I a spiritual person, in fact, I am just the opposite, but I’d recommend it to anybody who would be willing to watch it past episode 2, (titled, ‘His Visit, Day Two’), and tell me they are not the slightest bit intrigued as to what happens next. It is simultaneously arresting and obtuse, confusing and entirely logical, difficult and intuitive, and it is not in any way a simple show. It is not a show that you can kick back and relax to watch. It demands your attention, it demands your thought, and most of all it demands you reflect on it’s meaning.It demands you find your own issues that are plaguing you, to question them yourself, and to assess your life’s amount of baggage, and judge if it is necessary to still carry it. It’s a show that is NOT for everyone, as many will watch it and just be confused, or see it as a meaningless David Lynch style ripoff. For those willing to give it a chance, it just might literally change your life. It’s not a perfect show by any means, but it IS an important one.
I can only hope reading this has made you want to watch it, because something like it doesn’t come along too often, and I’d argue that out of all the brilliant television David Milch has made, it is his personal best.
This is not the first time I have heard little grumbles about season 2 of the AMC series, The Walking Dead. Reading an article on Warming Glow made me realize how very often I have seen online TWD threads complaining about the lack of zombies, and how slow season 2 has been. Of course I absolutely agree, especially after reading about the season 2 opener that we will never see. A show revolving around the zombie apocalypse… we should not have to tell you that there should be more action! The way the season began, with Sophia being lost, was a setup for a long and drawn out, dramatic plot point. By episode 4, no one cared about Sophia anymore.
Hershel added a much-needed opposing point to the story. It was a very realistic element to TWD… seeing someone who morally could not bring himself to kill the walkers. However, how many zombies did we actually see action with this season? Not enough.
The incident with Shane and Otis was probably the most exciting zombie-related scene in all of season 2 so far. Bottom line: Don’t get boring on us! We need action! Grumble grumble grumble.
Next order of business: The Walking Dead needs a Governor!