HBO's beloved western drama Deadwood is getting closer to its long teased TV movie revival, as a network executive has confirmed the script is ready to go and preliminary plans for production are underway.
Created by David Milch, Deadwood aired on HBO from 2004-2006 and chronicled the exploits of the titular South Dakota town in the 1870s. Noted for its unforgettably sleazy characters and its downright poetic use of profanity, the show was a critical darling that nonetheless struggled to hold a strong audience. The show was cancelled unceremoniously after its third season, with virtually no closure given to any of its characters or long-running storylines.
Both HBO and Milch have expressed a desire to revive the series in some way over the years, and now it looks like it might finally happen. Per TVLine, HBO programming executive Casey Bloys confirmed to reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that Milch has completed a script for a two hour movie that the network is excited about.
The one thing that I was concerned about was I wanted a script that would stand on its own [for Deadwood fans and non-fans] ... David totally delivered on that. I think it’s a terrific script. If we can do it on a budget that makes sense for us, and if we can get the cast together, we’re inclined to do it.
The most important bit in that statement is likely the availability of the show's ensemble. The cast of Deadwood have largely gone on to high profile projects that keep them plenty busy. Ian McShane, who played the show's most iconic scoundrel, Al Swearengen, is currently starring as Mr. Wednesday in Bryan Fuller's American Gods series on Starz. Timothy Olyphant, who played ostensible lead Sheriff Seth Bullock, went on to much greater acclaim as another lawman with a cool hat, Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens, on Justified, and is currently starring with Drew Barrymore in Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet. Kim Dickens, who portrayed the show's heart and soul in Joanie Stubbs, is busy running from zombies on Fear The Walking Dead.
If the issues with cast availability can be overcome, this is one television revival that's unlikely to disappoint. Milch's profane, elegant writing style is singular, and there's no indication his wit has dulled in the intervening years. And while Deadwood was never a show that relied on big, serialized arcs, it would be nice for fans to get something approaching closure for their favorite group of foul mouthed grifters on the edge of the last American frontier.