• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 1, 2004
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Oct 3, 2013
    100
    HBO just might have found its next great dramatic addiction --- a vulgar, gritty, at times downright nasty take on the Old West brimming with all the dark genius that series creator and screenwriter extraordinaire David Milch has at his fingertips. [19 Mar 2004, p.2]
  2. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Oct 3, 2013
    100
    It also showcases Milch's taste for complexity when it comes to both the criminal mind and the lawman's motivations. [19 Mar 2004, p.D1]
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Oct 3, 2013
    100
    The sheer amount of cussing is so great that even the unoffended may be too distracted by it to pay attention to anything else in Deadwood. That would be unfortunate, because lurking just behind the wall of profanity is a magnificent, fire-breathing work of art - an amazing meditation on violence, social order and the cruel reality of the Wild West. [21 Mar 2004, p.1]
  4. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Sep 30, 2013
    100
    A fascinating and disturbing vision. [21 Mar 2004, p.F5]
  5. Reviewed by: Mike McDaniel
    Sep 30, 2013
    100
    The unheralded Olyphant is the star, and he's excellent. [21 Mar 2004, p.8]
  6. Reviewed by: Carina Chocano
    Oct 3, 2013
    90
    Deadwood is engrossing, refreshingly well written and oddly relevant. [15 Mar 2004, p.E1]
  7. Reviewed by: Steve Johnson
    Oct 3, 2013
    90
    In the same way that "The Wire" showed there is an HBO way to update that staple of regular TV, the cop show, Deadwood demonstrates that the western can be revitalized, too, with a dose of extreme realism. [19 Mar 2004, p.C1]
  8. Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Oct 3, 2013
    90
    It's a grim, evocative look at some of this country's ruggedest but most disreputable roots -- a meticulously detailed portrait of a time, place and people that makes even today, with its punishing headlines about suicide bombs and other terrorist atrocities, seem almost safe and sane.
  9. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Sep 30, 2013
    90
    Engrossing - and gross. [21 Mar 2004, p.4M]
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Sep 30, 2013
    90
    It's a first-rate drama, as well, like no other Western on TV before it. It's Dodge City turned inside out, dense with intriguing, complicated characters seeking their fortune in the baddest gold-mining camp of them all. [21 Mar 2004, p.1E]
  11. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 17, 2013
    83
    'Deadwood' creates from the git-go a villain for the ages in Al Swearengen. McShane's slicingly deep voice is like a bowie knife stuck in the series' heart, but instead of stopping its action, he brings the show to pumping, bloody life.
  12. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Oct 3, 2013
    80
    Deadwood is not easy to watch. There is no musical score; the settings are relentlessly dull and depressing; and it is shot almost entirely in shades of sepia and gray. The series takes its own time establishing the characters, and the dialogue is muffled and indistinct. But once the story takes hold, it is hard to turn away. Like laudanum, a good western can be habit-forming.
  13. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Sep 30, 2013
    80
    Tenderfoot, when you mosey into Deadwood, HBO's latest breathtaking drama series, you should remember: An entirely new world takes a little getting used to. [21 Mar 2004, p.H01]
  14. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 30, 2013
    80
    It's a true character piece with top-notch acting all around. [21 Mar 2004, p.TV-5]
  15. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 30, 2013
    80
    Deadwood is the equivalent of Roy's Trigger returning as an ill-tempered, bucking bronco that's dead-set against galloping off into the sunset. Saddle up anyway. This is going to be one helluva ride - to points unknown. [21 Mar 2004, p.3]
  16. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jul 1, 2013
    80
    Deadwood is not the next Sopranos. Everyone likes Italian food, whereas this is beef jerky--slow chewing, an acquired taste but substantial. Sometimes Milch's Shakespearean ambitions get away from him, and the story can drag. But the acting is strong.
  17. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Oct 3, 2013
    75
    Get past the language, though, and Deadwood slowly but surely draws you in. Keith Carradine, as Hickok, brings quiet stoicism and strength to a new level; Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock, who has hung up his lawman's badge to hang a hardware-store shingle in town, isn't far behind. [18 Mar 2004, p.101]
  18. Reviewed by: Mike Duffy
    Oct 3, 2013
    75
    Despite an excellent cast, Milch's knockout writing and McShane's hypnotically toxic villain, Deadwood conjures up one very brutal wild west purgatory punctuated by misery, anger, lust, greed, violent death and all those outrageously naughty words. Happy trails. [19 Mar 2004, p.4E]
  19. What Deadwood becomes within its first four episodes is a complex, neo-Shakespearean take on social and institutional corruption, racism, environmental barbarism, and the nature of good and evil. It not only provides a different view of how the West was won but also muses on how the taming of the frontier mirrors modern times. [21 Mar 2004, p.3E]
  20. Reviewed by: Preston Turegano
    Sep 30, 2013
    75
    Technically, Deadwood is marred occasionally by sloppy continuity. One gaffe occurs after Bullock and Hickok discover the slain pioneer family at night. As they ride back to town with the sole survivor of the crime, darkness suddenly gives way to bright daylight as the rescue party makes a turn in a road. In another scene, Bullock is shown shaving his neck and the sides of his baby face, only to be seen with stubble five minutes later. [21 Mar 2004, p.TV-6]
  21. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jul 25, 2013
    75
    It's a wonderful series that gets better every hour you watch it. ... But there's the catch. "Deadwood" is a slow starter.
  22. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 28, 2013
    75
    Once you grow accustomed to the trash talk, however, the series draws you deeper and deeper into a little world where the law holds no sway and right is trodden in the mud.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Oct 3, 2013
    63
    Perhaps this is the way people really spoke in 1876 Deadwood, but TV isn't a research paper, and shows don't run with footnotes and annotations. Many viewers are likely to feel that Milch and the actors have failed to make the expletive-laden dialogue play as believable. Equally many are likely to find it off-putting, whether they believe it or not. It's just one more barrier for a genre that already has a problem connecting with a modern audience...That hurdle might have been overcome had the actors been able to pull us past the words and into the story, but Milch has not cast the show as well as he needed. With the exception of the always welcome Keith Carradine, whose dissipated Wild Bill Hickok is the series' most appealing character, the actors are not up to the tasks assigned.
  24. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Oct 3, 2013
    50
    It's really all about shock - not that there's many places to go after you feed not one, but two corpses to animals...When that wears thin, you can always count on an insane amount of four letter words, which are used with the discretion of a 12-year-old boy who's just discovered them. Five "f" words in one sentence just sounds idiotic.
  25. 50
    But these components don't detract from Deadwood as much as the series' inability to get the story rolling, although it shows potential for growing more interesting two or three episodes from now. Look at the introduction as an overly long handshake with a huge cast of characters, then take notice of how tedious such an elaborate setup can be, even one punctuated by thundercracks of violence. [19 Mar 2004, p.D1]
  26. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Sep 30, 2013
    40
    The bonanza of off-color dialogue makes Deadwood a hard sell: Who knew the Wild Wild West could be such a joyless place? [21 Mar 2004, p.4]
User Score
9.3

Universal acclaim- based on 105 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Aug 18, 2010
    9
    I could not believe that im the first reviewer of what i see as the most daring exiting and groundreaking TV series of the past 10 years. Put simply the script and characterisation is as good as it get's. All the actors excel and its no wonder with the tools at their disposal. I beg anyone who reads this to buy the 3 season box set and take a whole weekend and immerse yourself in a world of pure unadulterated genius. Full Review »
  2. Sep 29, 2014
    9
    A series of true excellence. Thoroughly enjoyable, very crafty and with an amazingly accurate and yet vibrant background. The history is enthralling, the characters as human and real as they get. Full Review »
  3. Jan 8, 2014
    10
    Many people who have not seen David Milch's under-appreciated HBO series "Deadwood" tend to assume that it is a revamp of the Western genre, perhaps similar to "3:10 to Yuma", or "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". This is not the case. If you watch it (which I highly recommend you do), you will not see horse chases, stick-up robberies, or standoffs in the middle of town square. You will not hear "varmint" or "goldarn" or "I'm lookin' for the man who shot my paw"; you'll only witness a bizarre blend of Shakespearean dialogue and 20th century slang and cussing (enough F words to make your grandmother faint). Milch did not set out to make a Western; he aimed to create a period drama through which he could voice his views about chaos and corruption's effects on society. In all, this was one of the best shows on television. The tragedy of Deadwood is its premature cancellation, and one of my greatest disappointments in the history of entertainment is that it will never get the proper conclusion it deserves. While frustrating, this is no reason not to watch the series. Full Review »