Deadwood was my favorite show of 2005, and if you’d asked me as late as August last year, I would’ve said it would be again in 2006. But then (unsurprising spoiler!) The Wire happened. Regardless, I loved the third season of Deadwood, and I’m in complete denial about the implausibility of the final movies I so desperately need. It’s not just that season ended quietly and without a lot of resolution (though it did). I just can’t stand the idea of letting this world go, of not spending more time with Al and Seth and Joanie and Doc and Alma and Trixie and Johnny and… all of them. I do actually love all of them. Even the evil ones.
Gerald McRaney was completely terrifying as George Hearst, by far the year’s most convincing and unpredictable TV villian. The epic battle between Hearst and Swearengen lasted all 13 episodes, full of glorious speeches, machinations, concessions, threats of violence and the real, bloody thing. And because this is David Milch’s work, it perfectly mirrored the continuing growing pains of Deadwood proper, from an outpost that celebrated its own lawlessness to a true community, bound to sacrifice itself in the name of that allusive greater good, in the name of inevitable progress. Everyone had to give up something, often too much. And still, Deadwood is funnier (Blazy!) and more joyful (Doc’s hacking, worrisome cough excepted) than mostly everything else. I’m not going to boycott Milch’s next HBO series (John From Cincinnati), as strange as the premise sounds, because he’s earned nothing but goodwill with Deadwood. And yet, it’s going to have an awful lot to live up to. And I’ll end as Deadwood did (for now), with a quote from Al: “I was gentle as I was able, and that’s the last we’ll fucking speak of it, Johnny…. Wants me to tell him something pretty.”