Tag Archives: Ian McShane

Al Swearengen… Sings?!?

After hearing about Deadwood for years, I decided to give it a try about two months ago. As such, I became very familiar with a lot of actors and actresses. Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, John Hawkes, Brad Dourif, Robin Wiegert, and Powers Boothe are all on the list. I was aware of many of them before but I can see them all in a different light now. Topping that list, however, is Ian McShane, who played highly-quotable saloon owner and severed head-whisperer Al Swearengen. And in the middle of watching the show and trying to learn more about the actors and actresses who made up the cast, I stumbled upon something astonishing. Continue reading

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Venn Diagram: Why Deadwood was Cancelled by HBO

My latest TV project has been catching up on the critically acclaimed Deadwood from HBO. The show’s creator, David Milch, is back in the news because he’s returned to HBO with a new series, LuckDeadwood aired from 2004 to 2006, good for three seasons of material. After two more episodes, I will have seen the entire series. It was cut short, cancelled before its time was up without any real resolution. It’s quite a shame, because it’s been a really good show. Milch did a great deal of research to find out the actual facts of Deadwood, South Dakota circa 1877. And this painstaking research helped him bring larger-than-life characters like “Wild Bill” Hickok, “Calamity Jane” Cannary, the Earp brothers, and Al Swearengen most of all to life. The biggest reason it earned so much critical acclaim was the show’s dialogue. Milch and his writers imported Shakespearean language and devices into the American Wild West. But it was all sandwiched around some of the most delightfully vulgar language you’ll ever hear on a TV show. I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. But the more I’ve watched it, the more it’s become woefully obvious why HBO cancelled it after just three seasons. I think it can best be described using a Venn diagram: Continue reading

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