Deadwood : Season 1

  • Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 1, 2004
Season #: 1, 2, 3
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 129 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 129

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User Reviews

  1. Apr 17, 2016
    10
    To quote my friend, "I wish Al Swearengen was my real father". I can't do much better than that, though when anyone says they are going to the "gym", I silently whisper "yes please...".
  2. Oct 20, 2015
    9
    The premature end is the only reason this doesn't get a 10...I was expecting a gritty wild west, but it goes beyond that..I forgot about the setting and became deeply involved in the characters..A show that evoked genuine emotion..sadness and happiness...Some inconsistencies in the plot but with such a huge range of excellent characters it doesn't detract a lot..Beautifully done..IThe premature end is the only reason this doesn't get a 10...I was expecting a gritty wild west, but it goes beyond that..I forgot about the setting and became deeply involved in the characters..A show that evoked genuine emotion..sadness and happiness...Some inconsistencies in the plot but with such a huge range of excellent characters it doesn't detract a lot..Beautifully done..I especially liked the opening credits...HBO make a major error here...Ended way too soon. Expand
  3. Aug 8, 2015
    10
    This is one of the best shows of the past 20 years. The acting and writing are so good it's like watching a great piece of art. I can't recall a show I've enjoyed more or felt more invested in the characters.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 willMany 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. Expand
  6. Sep 20, 2013
    9
    IIn this western series could be several reasons. I really liked all the season third Good story great actor performances. I can highly recommend to everyone!
  7. Jul 26, 2013
    10
    Consistently amazing writing, acting and directing. The characters are extremely well developed. Not only is it the best show HBO has even made. It is quite possibly the best show ever. Certainly the best written.
  8. May 25, 2013
    8
    Since the mid nineties HBO has crafted a reputation for creating gritty, realistic drama and despite only lasting for three seasons Deadwood, which certainly justifies its 18 certificate, must surely rank only just outside its best.

    Set in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the 1870's following the richest gold strike in American history the series opens with Seth Bullock (Olyphant)
    Since the mid nineties HBO has crafted a reputation for creating gritty, realistic drama and despite only lasting for three seasons Deadwood, which certainly justifies its 18 certificate, must surely rank only just outside its best.

    Set in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the 1870's following the richest gold strike in American history the series opens with Seth Bullock (Olyphant) giving up his life as a Montana sheriff in order to make a fresh start elsewhere. This leads him and business partner Sol Star to open a hardware store in the town of notorious town of Deadwood. Unfortunately for Bullock, being a lawman, he finds himself unable to ignore all the chaos and disorder he sees around him, most seemingly perpetrated by saloon and brothel owner Al Swearengen.

    Fantastic sets and a terrific ensemble cast help bring creator David Milch's well written scripts to life from the very start of this first season and in Swearengen, thanks in part to an amazing performance by Ian McShane, he has created one of televisions truly memorable bad guys. Of course, as with all great dramas, the distinction between good and bad is often blurred with seemingly honourable people often forced into making decisions or taking actions as a result of unavoidable circumstances. It could be tough to watch at times but as this first season progressed we are given a fantastic insight into the motivations of all the major characters as alliances were drawn and enemies were made setting the scene for the second season.
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  9. Mar 8, 2013
    10
    The acting, the direction, the set design, the economical use of music and the plotting are all fantastic. What really makes this the best television series in history, however, is the engaging literary style that Milch and the other writers bring to the dialogue. All I can say about the cancellation is "what conceivable godly use is our suffering? What conceivable godly use was theThe acting, the direction, the set design, the economical use of music and the plotting are all fantastic. What really makes this the best television series in history, however, is the engaging literary style that Milch and the other writers bring to the dialogue. All I can say about the cancellation is "what conceivable godly use is our suffering? What conceivable godly use was the screaming of all those characters? Did you need to hear their death-agonies to know your omnipotence, HBO?" Expand
  10. Dec 10, 2012
    10
    Shakespeare on Western steroids! Hard to fault. Story line tough, characters gritty. I would say though that it took 2 to 3 episodes to 'get it', to get a feel for the drama itself, but once into the series, compelling.

    Will not appeal to people who like their television clean and sanitised. You can almost smell the people! This was (yes gone now) daring television with good writing
    Shakespeare on Western steroids! Hard to fault. Story line tough, characters gritty. I would say though that it took 2 to 3 episodes to 'get it', to get a feel for the drama itself, but once into the series, compelling.

    Will not appeal to people who like their television clean and sanitised. You can almost smell the people!

    This was (yes gone now) daring television with good writing and acting.
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  11. May 19, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of the best TV shows of all time. The scrip and acting is brilliant. If you haven't seen it you must. Swearengen one of the greatest characters of all time. Expand
  12. Dec 17, 2011
    9
    2011 and I finally get to see the series. The wife hates Ian McShane, but we ran out of series from Netflix. After a fight she conceded and now says (as I suspected she might) "when's the next episode." I love this stuff, in it's Dickensian look at the old bad west. The language is very raw, but after 4-5 episodes it's so glued to the dialog that it's necessary for the characters,2011 and I finally get to see the series. The wife hates Ian McShane, but we ran out of series from Netflix. After a fight she conceded and now says (as I suspected she might) "when's the next episode." I love this stuff, in it's Dickensian look at the old bad west. The language is very raw, but after 4-5 episodes it's so glued to the dialog that it's necessary for the characters, especially Calamity. Shows like this have to be loved by actors who can get their teeth into characters, like "The Wire." The history is questionable (Wild Bill was 39 when he was shot, and not Carradine's age) and Calamity was known for lying like a politician. It's great to have a show with dialog that's thought through and rich. 2 more seasons, yay! Expand
  13. Aug 21, 2011
    10
    A very small number of TV series are as compelling as a terrifically written book, and provoke a sense of loss when one completes watching them. For me, this is not only once of those few, but arguably the best, contending favorably against (some) seasons of 24, Lost & Prison Break. Well before the end of the 3rd series, I liked or disliked and cared about the future about almost everyA very small number of TV series are as compelling as a terrifically written book, and provoke a sense of loss when one completes watching them. For me, this is not only once of those few, but arguably the best, contending favorably against (some) seasons of 24, Lost & Prison Break. Well before the end of the 3rd series, I liked or disliked and cared about the future about almost every character. The show has too many outstanding features for me to credit, but the dialogue does delight and beguile. Watch. Expand
  14. Jul 18, 2011
    10
    HBO absolutely gets the biggest thumbs down ever for the cancellation of this one. Swearengen absolutely one of the greatest characters of all time. So so sad it is no more :(
  15. May 28, 2011
    8
    Very good television show. Ian McShane as Al Swearengen is the most charismatic character I've ever seen on television. Well written, well acted and believable as f**k. Sometimes it's a little slow and sometimes you want to throw up when Calamity Jane is speaking/on the screen, but this show has created it's own goddam dialect that, hell, even if it's completely ahistorical (which I haveVery good television show. Ian McShane as Al Swearengen is the most charismatic character I've ever seen on television. Well written, well acted and believable as f**k. Sometimes it's a little slow and sometimes you want to throw up when Calamity Jane is speaking/on the screen, but this show has created it's own goddam dialect that, hell, even if it's completely ahistorical (which I have no f***ing idea either way), fits perfectly and makes it better than it ever would've been. Expand
  16. Apr 15, 2011
    9
    Excellent acting, great aspect of the period of the gold rush, I recommend this series, only one small criticism, sometimes a bit slow at times and some lack of action.
  17. Feb 10, 2011
    10
    I am only halfway thru Season One of Deadwood, but so far so good. How is it that HBO continually blows every other station away with their original programming?!(apologies to AMC, but it's true.) Deadwood is far better than 99.9% of the westerns that have come out of Hollywood over the past couple of decades. Great dialogue, storylines, character development, acting, cinematography, etcI am only halfway thru Season One of Deadwood, but so far so good. How is it that HBO continually blows every other station away with their original programming?!(apologies to AMC, but it's true.) Deadwood is far better than 99.9% of the westerns that have come out of Hollywood over the past couple of decades. Great dialogue, storylines, character development, acting, cinematography, etc etc etc. Fabulous show. Expand
  18. Jan 31, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. uh ....! i just brought it :)
    Apparently it is based on history of Deadwood , South Dakota @Trilby , @ Anfractuous ....thnx that encouraged me for it
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  19. Nov 3, 2010
    9
    Excellent cinematography, art direction, staging, costumes etc; a technical tour de force, particularly for television. The scrip and acting is brilliant. If you haven't seen it you must. The only thing keeping me from giving it a 10 is that they only made three seasons of the five originally planned so the 'wrap up' at the end of the third season is awkward.
  20. 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 worldI 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. Expand
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: 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.
  2. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Carina Chocano
    Oct 3, 2013
    90
    Deadwood is engrossing, refreshingly well written and oddly relevant. [15 Mar 2004, p.E1]
  3. New York Daily News
    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]