Screen Junkies » Deadwood Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Wed, 13 Aug 2014 20:19:02 +0000 en hourly 1 Ian McShane Will Class Up ‘American Horror Story’ This Fall Thu, 11 Oct 2012 18:49:48 +0000 Penn Collins McShane fits this role perfectly because he's so good....IT'S SCARY.

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In case you were wondering who an excellent counterpoint to Jessica Lange is, you can sleep easy knowing that person is Ian McShane. McShane, who’s best known for his work as the foul-mouthed and heartless Al Swearengen on HBO’s defunct Deadwood, will undoubtedly bring some brooding gravitas to Ryan Murphy‘s Halloween-y soap opera.

While American Horror Story isn’t a favorite show of this site, the hope, however unlikely, that McShane will call matron Jessica Lange a “cocksucker,” while indignantly tossing back whiskey, then storming out of the room is enough to make us mildly excited about this news.

But mostly it reminds us that we miss Al Swearengen.

He was like a father to us.

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HBO’s Rich History Of Shocking Character Deaths Mon, 12 Dec 2011 20:51:31 +0000 Penn Collins If only I could include Carrie Bradshaw on this list.

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This article contains pretty much nothing but spoilers.

Although HBO programming has no shortage of interesting characters, part of the allure of the channel’s offerings is that even the most beloved characters serve the story, and as such, can be killed off at a moment’s notice. Sure, losing a favorite character on a show sucks, but it offers up the conceit that anything can happen, ultimately making the shows more engaging.

We saw one such instance last night on Boardwalk Empire. I won’t reveal who it was here, but the death is listed below, so don’t read if you’re a fan of the show or plan on getting into it. That also goes for the following shows: Deadwood, Oz, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, and The Wire.. I feel like I’ve been up on most of the “important” HBO dramas, so if you feel that a character from another show isn’t represented here, or if I picked the wrong character for a show that is listed, tell us about it in the comments.

Wild Bill Hickock – Deadwood

While Keller wasn’t a “good guy” the same way Wild Bill was, he was the sole source of happiness for Tobias Beecher, the only likeable character anywhere on the show. Further, he remained the most interesting characters in Oswald State Penitentiary. So when he through himself over the railing to his death, viewers found Tobias all alone all over again. Further, no more Keller meant no more passing shots of Keller’s penis, which didn’t bother me, but probably upset a very prominent demographic of Oz’s core fan base.

Christopher Moltisanti – The Sopranos

Of all the in stances in which Chrissy could have died, and all the different ways it could have happened, the from-out-of-nowhere car wreck, then the subsequent strangulation by Tony hit like a sucker punch. As we geared up for the climax between the two families in the final season, we expected casualties through the war, but this unexpected pit stop during the rising action did more to shed light on these characters than any mafia showdown could have. Without Christopher’s death, we would have never seen Tony on peyote, and that shit was awesome.

A pathetic death for such a tragic figure.

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5 Recent TV Dramas That Got History Right Mon, 07 Nov 2011 14:00:28 +0000 Penn Collins Historians now agree that the wireless connection in the town of Deadwood, SD was spotty at best.

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Even before its premiere, AMC‘s new historical drama, AMC’s Hell on Wheels, came under fire, with many calling it a “white-washing” of history. Specifically, the show’s lack of Asian characters and the fact that the main character conveinently freed his slaves before the Civil War has drawn criticism. While the show’s creators have offered reasonable explanations for their decisions, we are reminded of a recurring problem with period pieces: They’re often crafted to meet the sensibilities of contemporary audiences rather than accurately reflect the people, events, and circumstances of the time. So while Hell on Wheels finds itself behind the eightball, let’s look at a few period pieces that got it right, often unapologetically.

Band of Brothers

I realize how silly it appears to create a list of historically accurate television shows, then populate it with so many HBO series. But just because it appears silly doesn’t mean it’s wrong, and the Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks miniseries Band of Brothers is a great example of the steps both the producers and the network take to ensure accuracy when other parties would simply bring the drama.

To start things off, Band of Brothers is based on a book by noted and lauded historian Steven Ambrose who earlier worked with both Spielberg and Hanks on Saving Private Ryan as a military consultant. Though he was hit with allegations of plagiarism in his 2002 work The Wild Blue, allegations came from improper citing. Ambrose issued an apology and the world kept on spinning.

In the adaptation of Band of Brothers, most of the surviving members of Easy Company were asked for their input on even the most minute details. Photos and firsthand accounts were used in the selection of weapons, costumes, and the mannerisms of the soldiers.

Even the actors met with the men they were playing, when possible, in order to get a feel for the war that the book didn’t provide for any number of reasons. As such, the veterans that offered input all gave the program their blessing and approval, which speaks higher than any critical or academic praise could. That said, the series has not only stood up to scrutiny from academics, but he garnered their praise for its depiction of perhaps the most studied era in human history.

Mad Men

Another shocker, I’m sure. Mad Men has been praised as both a character study and study of its era. While the study of its characters is outside the scope of this discussion, its hard to examine the veracity and accuracy of this program without examining the behavior of the characters (to some extent, at least. This is shaping up to be a more herculean task than I anticipated) in their context.

Beyond the meticulous production and costume design, which has garnered no shortage of accolades and many would claim is the true star of the show, they get the zeitgeist (I hate that word and everything it represents) right. Mad Men’s “plot” seems largely incidental when compared to the program’s study of gender, race, and cultural issues during the timeframe of the show.

Since its inception, critics have heaped praise on the show for managing to create a sexiness and glamour from such an accurate depiction. Is it possible that people were smoking and drinking that much in the early 60’s? Yeah. It’s not so much that Matthew Weiner, the creator and showrunner, picked an era, then contorted it until it became suitably entertaining, but, rather, he picked an era that was entertaining, and, despite the fact that the show begins less than 50 years ago, it seems about as foreign to us as a show about Henry VII or Spartacus.

I mean, THEY’RE SMOKING IN THEIR OFFICES! For today’s audience, that’s about as bizarre as the concept of a gladiator match.

Aside from the superficial details, the constructs of the show (corporate culture, gender issues, and sexual politics) bear only a fleeting resemblance to what they are now, but one must remember that the reason this show exists is because advertising in Manhattan, during this period, was this glamorous, and was this different than the world we know now. Get past the suits and Lucky Strikes, and one will see a more profound snapshot on the American landscape than many knew existed.

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Another Actual Talent Signs On To Adapt A Video Game Thu, 27 Jan 2011 17:08:32 +0000 Wookie Johnson "Deadwood" creator David Milch has reason to crack open the peaches. He is writing an adaptation of the PS3 mystery thriller 'Heavy Rain.'

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I’m not sure how the current trend of critically-acclaimed directors taking the helm of video game adaptations came about, but I’m interested to see where it’s going. “Deadwood” creator David Milch has reason to crack open the peaches. Milch is writing an adaptation of the PS3 game Heavy Rain.

The noirish thriller is a mystery that follows four characters as they pursue the Origami Killer.  The game itself is modeled to be an interactive choose your own adventure story based around ethical moral decisions. With Milch on board, you can expect the tone to shift toward the debate of what is good and what is evil.

If this works out, hopefully he’ll stick with the adapting gig. Mostly because Ian McShane would be perfect for a gritty Super Mario Bros. reboot. (Variety)

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