There’s many things you can say about Deadwood – many very complimentary things – but “endearing” may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Seeing Al Swearengen all dressed up and trying his best to be polite (and do without his usual colourful idiom) in his first face-to-face meeting with Alma Garrett was exactly that, though: endearing. Even when he asks Alma to tell her ward, young squeaky-voiced Sophia that there are “no hard feelings”. No hard feelings, that is, about his plan to have her killed back in season 1, since she could have put a spanner in his works. I’m still amazed at the tonal range this wonderful series has (or rather, had – more on that below), and at the complexity of the characters.
In general, these characters play eminently well with, and off, each other. You don’t even need much plot to enjoy what happens when you put Al and Alma together in a room. Or E.B. Farnum and Calamity Jane (although if they were in a room together, chances are only one person would come out). Personally, I wouldn’t mind putting Cy Tolliver in a room with Dan Dority, just to see Dan’s famous impulse control do its thing with the boss of the Bella Union.
Sadly, it’s looking less and less likely that the post-season 3 TV movies will ever be made. With so much garbage and generic rehashes of rehashes on TV, it’s sad that an intelligent, tough, beautifully crafted series such as Deadwood is shelved. But what can you do?
Perhaps David Milch should create a series about a team of forensic crime-scene investigators in the Old West. That should sell like handguns…