23:56 Sat 23 Jun 2007. Updated: 01:48 24 Jun 2007
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I’ve been watching the third season of Deadwood, and it’s amazing.

Deadwood is a fantastically good series. The acting and the writing, in particular, are phenomenal. While it’s in a “Wild West” setting, I don’t consider it a Western per se. It’s really too urban for that. Even though the town of Deadwood is quite small, the urban theme is very strong as the show is really about the foundation of the town, and what forces shape the town’s nature.

Some of those forces, of course, are the various people in the town, including Al Swearengen, who is really at the center of the series. All of the characters are excellently protrayed, and seem extremely natural. The ways in which they change as the series progresses seems more organic than character development in any other show I can think of.

And their speech, the dialogue, is stunning. I don’t make any claim for its realism, but its effectiveness is beyond doubt. This is one of the things that gives the show its primal feel, a raw quality that exposes the depths of human passions. That primal aspect also comes through in the setting and atmosphere, a town not yet settled, a place where conventionality is a thin veneer, often discarded.

Deadwood seems to me to speak truly, and profoundly, about the human condition. What more can one ask of a work of art?

Of course, its stylistic quirks are also ripe for parody.

In case it wasn’t obvious, this is a show I think you should be watching. And HBO’s cancellation of the fourth series is a travesty—I just hope the promised movies do indeed materialize to tie up some of the loose ends.

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