Deadwood (Entire Series)

This is for the whole series.

I really do wish the series lasted more then three years, but then again maybe it would have declined and been a mockery of itself if it had.

Set in the town of Deadwood in 1876 where it tells the tale of the town going from open frontier with gold strikes, and how the people living there got along. Fun side note, many of the characters in the series were there in real life (and by default are real people).

No, it isn’t a documentary, yes it is full of violence and sex (and let’s be honest, it doesn’t stay too close to the truth either). It starts with following Timothy Olyphant (of Justified fame) as he arrives in town. Then it truly becomes a full ensemble cast with Brad Dourif playing the Doc, Ian McShane playing Al Swearengen, Molly Parker as Alma Garrett and even Keith Carradine as the doomed Wild Bill Hickok.

There are a ton of other famous or semi-famous actors and actresses you will see, but there are so many I can’t really list them all.

The show is as good as it sounds. The acting is superb. By the third season the actors play off each other with just a word or a motion. There was so much put into each character that you could read what they were thinking and they could sometimes have conversations with each other that were in depth without more then a few words.

The filming was good, and the direction as well obviously. I am saddened that so many people have not seen it. I was especially impressed that rape didn’t play a bigger role, after all that is what most westerns are unfortunately built upon. Not saying that some things didn’t happen, but for what the show was (the Sopranos in the old west) it stayed away from that most of the time.

The only thing I thought hurt the show was bringing in Powers Boothe and his whole crew. Not that there weren’t good stories, and definitely not because of Mr. Boothe (he is great), but it took away from main characters in the beginning. While I started watching the show for Mr. Olyphant, I ended the show with Ian McShane (Swearengen) as my favorite character.

Pros: Great acting, directing, story and sets.

Cons: Perhaps too many secondary stories and plots and too many characters by mid-second season.

Now to find some more Ian McShane work.

Westworld (Season 1)

Incredibly written, acted and filmed, with way way too much rape.

First, let’s get it out of the way that it does have some incredible acting (thank you Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Jimmi Simpson, and I could just keep going). I think the acting is far superior to anything else HBO does, such as Game of Thrones, or their other properties.

The story itself has plenty of twists, several of which I didn’t catch until after they occurred. Of course Western’s are a favorite of mine so it hit that niche very well. The whole theme of the hosts finding consciousness is an excellent story.

Now let’s talk about the negatives, and I find several things I don’t like.

  1. The constant rape. The story is about consent and I get that rape is the easiest thing to reach for. However, it is constant, overdone and definitely  a low point. There are better ways to get the story of consent. I could even go with a couple of incidents, but this really was the weak part of their writing.
  2. The grim dark, dark grim, grim of the grimmest of darkness storylines. It is well written, but the story rips apart every single positive. I would argue it is worse than Game of Thrones on this as well.  I love a serious, gritty storyline, but you have to have positive moments that aren’t made invalid by future scenes. Otherwise the story isn’t balanced.
  3. Also, didn’t like how abrupt the story ended for the first season, although I recommend people watch it through the credits to see Armistice.

Pros: Good acting, story and effects and the setting is of course awesome.

Cons: Too much rape and gritty dark dark gritty darksome..

I haven’t decided if I will watch season 2.

The Leftovers (Season 1)

Last week I tried to watch the first episode of “The Leftovers“. First it was horribly acted, boring and moved at the pace of a glacier. However the reason I stopped halfway through was because of the overall storyline. According to the story, approximately 2% of the population disappeared, the rest of the world is now teetering on disaster as people can’t handle what happened. Social order is breaking down and the world is starting to fall apart.

To me it is a poor plot. Not even counting wars that wiped out far more then 10-20% of individual country’s population with no social breakdown like this, the Spanish Flu killed 3.6% of the entire WORLD population in 1918, almost double the amount in the series. Yet to my knowledge (and perusal of history books after watching this show), the world’s social order didn’t even come close to breaking down as much in the series.

You can tell the series is made from a “Christian” perspective, not that I expected anything else from a series about the rapture (or at least it appears that is what it is, maybe the writers will reveal it is aliens). It indicates that people are weak, unable to handle earth shaking events, and overall it annoyed me.

I am so tired of this perspective being shoved down our throats. If they wanted to show something with this kind of problem either they should have made it a much larger population of the world (20+%?). In addition I would have made the cause something more believable, say another round of disease, or even aliens. Overall I would avoid the show if I were you, that is just my opinion.