This Is How Historical Fiction Should Be Done!
December 10, 2004 10:18 AM   Subscribe

HBO's Deadwood is quite possibly the best television show ever produced. Not only is it amazingly gripping stuff, it's also meticulously researched. (Pretty easy to do when the entire city is a registered historic landmark.)
Sure, we all know that Wild Bill and Calamity Jane were real people. As it turns out, though, almost every main character in the show (and many minor ones) had a real life counterpart, as did many of the events.
Deadwood notables EB Farnum, Reverend H W Smith, Seth Bullock and his partner Sol Star, Colorado Charlie Utter, Al Swerengen with his Gem Saloon, and the crosseyed gambler Jack McCall all lived and breathed in one of America's most storied cities.
posted by absalom (82 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
TV has been hell without this show on. The last episode of Season 1 was possibly the best season-ender I've seen. Anyone have an idea when new episodes are supposed to air?
posted by eraserhed at 10:38 AM on December 10, 2004

HBO's Deadwood is quite possibly the best television show ever produced.

Have you ever seen the A-Team?
posted by borkingchikapa at 10:38 AM on December 10, 2004

Eh. They're all cocksuckers.
posted by shawnj at 10:43 AM on December 10, 2004

I nominate Alf. Season 1 Now Available on DVD!

but seriously, I love the HBO produced shows. They've single-handedly created a new format--the film-quality serial show (Sex and the City, Sopranos, 6' Under, etc.). Since I'm way too cheap to pay the huge premium for HBO, I'll check out the DVD of season 1. Thanks for the tip.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2004

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:49 AM on December 10, 2004

Phenomenal show. Although I'm a TiVO addict, Deadwood is the one show I watch, religiously, at 10 pm on Sundays. All the better in HD.
posted by cptnrandy at 10:49 AM on December 10, 2004

Although I've only seen the first two episodes, I agree that it's compelling. However (nod to shawnj), am I the only one driven to distraction by the sheer volume of profanity? Make no mistake, I can hold my own with the most drunken of sailors, but even for me it was a bit much.
posted by killy willy at 10:51 AM on December 10, 2004

In some initial interviews with the producers and writers, they researched this and indicated that the profanity was historically accurate. I'm too lazy to look it up, but I remember having the same reaction you did. [shrug]
posted by TeamBilly at 11:01 AM on December 10, 2004

Absolutely superb drama. Initially the volume of profanity was overwhelming but in time it became clear that it was a very integral part of what was verging on Shakespearean dialogue. First class.
posted by Cancergiggles at 11:03 AM on December 10, 2004

What about Trixie? Was she real too?
posted by greasy_skillet at 11:03 AM on December 10, 2004

Yea, at first I tried it and was a bit taken aback by the profanity. And here I am swearing like Lars Ulrich half the time. I gotta say the writing/directing is top notch.. I am excited about Season 2! Having said that, and having at one point all of Season 1 TiVo'd, I would not buy the DVD. I really think they're awesome but my mind can't wrap itself around the usual $70-$80 season pass tag... that and my life can't figure out how to watch the Daily Show every day, let alone some 12 hours of a show.

yes, I am complaining about not getting enough boob toob time. And no, I'm not that cultured, either.
posted by cavalier at 11:06 AM on December 10, 2004

DrJohn: First post. Don't make me cry. Besides, I think the sheer level of effort involved making this thing "true to life" is really impressive and worth pointing out. I mean, compare it to Braveheart, etc. (Or Tombstone in the same vein). Also, it's pretty interesting (to me, at least) from a historical standpoint.

Greasy_skillet: As it turns out, she is. . . sort of. There was a hooker named Trixie, though I don't know that she was involved with Al. (Al was married - thrice, natch - so if he diddled with the talent is up to you to decide. Though, he did beat one or more of his wives to death, so might want to factor in that he was a dick.) Also, there was a hooker who shot some guy for beating on her (as Trixie did at the very beginning of episode one). Not sure if it was Trixie who did the shooting IRL.
posted by absalom at 11:15 AM on December 10, 2004

Was it someone at Television w/o Pity that gave Al the "Swear Engine" monicker? It is top notch TV.

I itch for new Sunday night shows on HBO. I keep thinking of calling the cable company to cancel since I rarely watch it for the movies.

[Did I miss the memo about phrasing FPPs as PepsiBlueFilter today?]
posted by birdherder at 11:17 AM on December 10, 2004

Episode one of Deadwood was directed by Walter Hill and is not to be missed.

HBO's The Wire may not make the cut. :(
posted by xowie at 11:18 AM on December 10, 2004

I, too, am entralled with the show.

It was only after the season was over did I learn that many of the major characters are based on real people. What an amazing time in American history that was where anarchy was the accepted normint he community.

If you don't watch Deadwood, I suggest you do.
posted by Argyle at 11:19 AM on December 10, 2004

Jeff Kay over at The West Virginia Surf Report kept a running count of the use of "Fuck" on Deadwood.
posted by Bonzai at 11:25 AM on December 10, 2004


posted by SteelyDuran at 11:27 AM on December 10, 2004

No. No. No. The Wire is the best show on TV. And it just gets better and better the second and third time you watch it, as you pick up on subtle cues and throw-away lines. David Simon is a god among men.

And you want eloquent profanity? Check out the scene in Episode 4 (??) where McNulty and Bunk conduct a crime scene investigation using only various inflections of "fuck."

And the second season is coming out on DVD before the Deadwood release
posted by mojohand at 11:32 AM on December 10, 2004

Jeff Kay over at The West Virginia Surf Report kept a running count of the use of "Fuck" on Deadwood.

Thank God for the internet.
posted by marxchivist at 11:34 AM on December 10, 2004

The profanity didn't bother me so much as the historically accurate beating of children to death, but I might be considered over-sensitive about such things.
posted by esquire at 11:34 AM on December 10, 2004

Not to hijack the thread, but fuck, The Wire is going off the air? It's the smartest, most well-written show on television! It's the only modern television show (excepting maybe The Corner, which was also done by Simon) to actually depict the drug game correctly... Unlike, say, The Shield or Law and Order...

On preview: Damn right mojo...
posted by SweetJesus at 11:38 AM on December 10, 2004

What? The Wire may not make it to Season 4? Dammit!

This past season has been twice as good as the past two of the Sopranos. When I saw the teaser for the season finale where Omar and Brother Mouzone face off, I got chills!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:39 AM on December 10, 2004

Cowboys wear nifty hats.
posted by jonmc at 11:42 AM on December 10, 2004

I still think Cop Rock was the best show ever. I mean they were Cops and they were singing! That beats run of the mill cussin' anyday.

But I have to agree the historical aspect of Deadwood is pretty cool too.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 11:43 AM on December 10, 2004

I watch Deadwood but after I'd read about the connection to NYPD Blue (David Milch created and writes for both) it became a lot more difficult to take seriously. I like NYPD Blue but Milch's particular style of dialog pervades both, and it's like Mamet: it may sound realistic for a while but over time it begins to seem unbearably stilted. If you close your eyes the characters from the two show sound interchangeable. Try it; you'll see.
posted by coelecanth at 11:43 AM on December 10, 2004

(As a result I've begun a "Sipowicz watch" on Al Swearengen; I watch for signs that he's more gruff than mean, and deep down has a heart of gold. Who doesn't think that's proving true?)
posted by coelecanth at 11:47 AM on December 10, 2004

If you like "Deadwood," you'll like "The Return of Little Big Man," Thomas Berger's sequel to his hit novel "Little Big Man." Much of it takes place in Deadwood, and many of the characters in the TV show appear in the book. Good, funny stuff. Berger's a genius.
posted by Faze at 11:51 AM on December 10, 2004

If we are recommending telivision shows I quite enjoyed BBC's Spooks (season 1,2 and the first few eps of 3 - then they jump the shark) and Hustle.

I'll definately check out deadwood...
posted by srboisvert at 11:52 AM on December 10, 2004

Don't have a TV. Firing up BitTorrent. ;) thanks for the recomendation.
posted by clubfoote at 11:59 AM on December 10, 2004

Deadwood is good. The Wire is better. If there is no season 4 of The Wire I will cry.

Carnivale was very disappointing.
posted by McBain at 12:01 PM on December 10, 2004

MetaFilter: cocksuckers.
posted by homunculus at 12:07 PM on December 10, 2004

Hey, clubfoote doesn't have a TV, everyone.
posted by xmutex at 12:07 PM on December 10, 2004

Is this BitTorrent something oh never mind.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:10 PM on December 10, 2004

Over here in the UK, Deadwood is the only reason I still have a Sky dish. If I ever discover I can get it on Freeview it's goodbye Sky - and all it's really boring channels - forever.
posted by terrymiles at 12:13 PM on December 10, 2004

Deadwood and The Wire are two of the best shows on television. I find myself absolutely captivated with both of them, and spent a whole sunday watching the entirety of Deadwood with On Demand. The characters on the show are just so incredibly compelling, its hard not to get completely engrossed in them. I can't wait for the next season.

I have relatives in South Dakota, and as a little kid they took me to Deadwood and I got seperated from them and hopelessly lost. Luckily it's now a bit more of a tourist trap than a pit of lawlessness.
posted by deafmute at 12:22 PM on December 10, 2004

Best show ever? "Sports Night."

But I give "Deadwood" a lot of credit for being historically accurate.

(Dr. John and steely, take it outside.)
posted by me3dia at 12:22 PM on December 10, 2004

I don't watch the TV we have; that's used mainly for her old comedy DVDs and Triple Crown horse races. Furthermore, we ain't got cable or satellite, nor do we want any.

And I for one don't like TV posts in non-TV venues, and more than I like links to Flash or QuickTime crap. Something must be done!
posted by davy at 12:34 PM on December 10, 2004

Not having cable, I was only peripherally aware of Deadwood. Now I'm gonna have to check it out [cough]. With so much crap on these days, it'd be nice to see a well-researched, compelling show. Thanks.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:37 PM on December 10, 2004

Uh oh, the Asshole Brigade has already started the No TV war here.

I am pretty excited about watching Carnivale since season one just came out on DVD and still hoping season III of Six Feet Under comes out soon.
posted by xmutex at 12:38 PM on December 10, 2004

Jeffrey Nunberg, the Stanford linguist who is a frequent guest on Fresh Air, has discussed the question of whether or not the swearing on Deadwood is appropriate from a historical linguistic perspective.
posted by derangedlarid at 12:41 PM on December 10, 2004

You gotta love Al Swearingen for nonchalantly saying, as one of his henchmen is leaving the Gem, "Don't forget to kill Tim." as if he was asking for a loaf of bread.

And you want eloquent profanity? Check out the scene in Episode 4 (??) where McNulty and Bunk conduct a crime scene investigation using only various inflections of "fuck."

Oh yeah! I remember that episode vividly, and that scene was great! I was telling people about it for two weeks afterward.

And I agree on Sports Night. I loved that show.

Now if they'd bring back Touching Evil I'd be happy. That was a wonderful show.
posted by TeamBilly at 12:51 PM on December 10, 2004

When I first saw the premier, I thought that the profanity was a bit excessive. Now, I am a profane person, so it wasn't a matter of prudishness, but much of it seemed unnatural. I think that they were just setting the tone for the series, and as time progressed, either I got used to it, or things toned down a bit.

I haven't seen past Episode 6, (no TV... cough) but I found those first six installments enjoyable.

Swearingen is masterfully done, I think. He is despicable, but occasionally he has those lines which make a show.

From what one of the embedded links wrote, I understand that Farnum was a real player in Deadwood. In the series, he seems a bit gimpish.

My question now is: whatever happened to Brisco?
posted by Tullius at 1:00 PM on December 10, 2004

McNulty's menage with two hookers was also memorable. Dominic West, who plays him, is English, and faking a vaguely Baltimore accent.

posted by xowie at 1:03 PM on December 10, 2004

derangedlarid: That was a really interesting essay. Thank you for posting it.

W/ MeFi, you miss the more interesting links if you don't scan the comments in a thread.
posted by xmutex at 1:05 PM on December 10, 2004

Listen to Deadwood's director, David Milch, interviewed by Terry Gross.
posted by derangedlarid at 1:16 PM on December 10, 2004

My pleasure, xmutex. I am new at this, and just getting the hang of it.
posted by derangedlarid at 1:19 PM on December 10, 2004

Deadwood was on in the background at our place its first night. I remember thinking how annoying all the swearing was. I lost all interest in the show. Not 'cause I don't like swearing - just 'cause it rubbed me the wrong way.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:30 PM on December 10, 2004

The town itself is a tourist trap, most definitely--gambling being the big thing to do there. (At least it was, seven years ago when I went to S. Dakota on my honeymoon.)
posted by cass at 1:34 PM on December 10, 2004

It is horribly swear-laden.
posted by interrupt at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2004

Word, Tullius! And Xowie, West is Austalian faking the Baltimore accent and in that episode doing a Baltimore version of an English accent, though I mainly blame you for bringing that SFGate article to my attention.

My ranking of recent HBO dramas: The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood, 6FU, Oz, Carnivale. If HBO decides not to do a fourth season of The Wire, I hope they at least give Simon and Ed Burns a 2-4 hour wrapup the McNulty vs. Barksdale/Bell movie.
posted by billsaysthis at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2004

After reading some comments above about the possibility of a Wire cancellation, I went to my trusty friend Mr. Google. He pointed me to this thread on the HBO Message Boards, where people are debunking the rumor based on some industry news about multi-year contracts. I hope that is true; The Wire is in my opinion the best show out there.
posted by matildaben at 1:52 PM on December 10, 2004

Carnivale was very disappointing.

Are you serious?? Carnivale is one of the best shows on TV. Talk about original! I can't wait for January and the new season.
posted by eas98 at 2:00 PM on December 10, 2004

The Wire is one of the few shows on television (Lost being the other) I look forward to this season. It'd be fucked if HBO cancelled it.

Carnivale really was disappointing. It didn't really get good until the last two weeks, and then left everything, yet really nothing worth caring about, hanging.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:08 PM on December 10, 2004

And I seem to really like the word "really."
posted by eyeballkid at 2:10 PM on December 10, 2004

I found Deadwood rather unpleasant.
posted by muckster at 2:14 PM on December 10, 2004

I'm a big fan of everything HBO has done, esp 6'Under, the Sopranos, and Da Ali G, but I can't seem to get excited about a western. I think i'll have to check it out, though.
posted by scarabic at 2:18 PM on December 10, 2004

Dominic West comes from Yorkshire, in the north of England. He brings with him a hint of the Yorkshire accent, which sounds like this bit from the ancient and anonymous Cleveland Lyke Wake Dirge: "This yar neet, this yar neet, Ivvery neet an' all/Fire and fleet an' cannie leet/An' Christ tak up thy saul" ... On this night, on this night/Every night and all/Fire and flame and candle light. And Christ take up your soul." So you could think it might take some doing to convert West into a Baltimore talker. But it hasn't, Leeseberg-Lange says. "When he talks in everyday life, he has a Yorkshire accent," she says. "When he's talking in formal business situations, he has what is contemporary British standard."
posted by xowie at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2004

No. No. No. The Wire is the best show on TV.
Hey both of these shows have a place in my stable, along with the king: The Sopranos. Sadly, Carnivale, for which I had such high hopes turned out to be unwatchable (although good looking in its own way.)

Still, if you judge by meatiness, The Wire has the edge. After watching a one hour episode I feel like I've just seen a two hour crime movie. And it has, hands down, the very best roles for black actors. Omar, for one, dominates the screen.

My nomination for one of the all time most riveting moments in TV history was the Killing of the two kids. I won't say which show, which kids for fear of being a spoiler-- but if you saw it, you know what I mean.

While I nominate Life on Earth as best show ever produced for TV, I have to go with The Office as the best comedy of all time.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2004

Don't get HBO in backwards tv-land in NZ, but they do show "Sopranos" -- uncut -- on public broadcast tv. And it keeps getting better and better (just finished season five). They're promising to bring "Deadwood" next year, but whither "Lost"?
posted by John Shaft at 2:32 PM on December 10, 2004

Sopranos - love it
6FU - love it
Oz - One of the stupidist shows ever aired on television, but I watched it anyway just to see if each new episode would exceed the previous week's dick shot quota and to see if Adebisi's silly little cap would ever fall off.
Carnival - I wanna like this show, really I do. I will say that it's beautifully shot, but the storyline is so convaluted. Still, I'll watch it next season.
The Wire - I've never watched it. I thought it was just a silly cop show. But after reading all these posts, I am going to rent the DVDs (thanks)
Deadwood - Another one I'm trying to get into. Frankly, I've never noticed that the swearing was all that prolific. jeez, what does that say about me?
posted by Juicylicious at 3:06 PM on December 10, 2004

Deadwood rocked my world. I watched the repeats (pre-TiVo). Only a couple of times did the swearing seem extreme to me (so I got a potty mouth, you got a fucking problem with that?)

The Wire may be better, though. Every season I start watching it, and then miss an episode, and then get frustrated about missing it, and wait until it's over to watch them all again. It's almost unique in it's narrative. How? It seems to engage me as an adult, ignoring the facile and prurient catching techniques of most shows. (I can' t make the same claim of Deadwood, but love it anyway.)

Carnivale blew so much potential into a dustbin, it's most remarkable for that alone. Halfway through the season, my girlfriend and I just looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and turned off the TV to read. I kind of figured that the show didn't seem to know what it was about, or where it was going, and if they didn't seem to care, neither did I.

The Sopranos has impressed me less and less since Season 3.

Oh, and as far as researching that went into Deadwood? I think it's closely based on real characters, for all the implications that brings from network TV. Still, a great scene for a show.
posted by Busithoth at 3:12 PM on December 10, 2004

David Milch was interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air back when Deadwood was first airing. They address the use of obscenities about nine minutes in.
posted by mosch at 3:15 PM on December 10, 2004

Speaking of research and realism.... The Wire too uses real people and events to base the stories on. Look at the plotline of white councilmember Carcetti's plans of running for Baltimore mayor: a direct relationship to current real life Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's story in 1998. Real news events have been recreated in the show.

In some cases, they actually hire some of the real people... like Melvin Williams, who plays the Deacon in this newest season, who just so happens to be "Little Melvin," the Baltimore drug lord who Avon Barksdale supposedly is based somewhat on.

And speaking of Carnivale... I got the DVDs and have been rewatching. It makes a lot more sense if you watch every episode back to back... at least for the first season which was meant to be all prologue, I believe. I can't wait for the new season to start.

Of course, though... Arli$$ sucked.
posted by tittergrrl at 3:54 PM on December 10, 2004

Holy carp! Sixty-some comments and no one has gotten it right.

I'm pretty sure "Arrested Development" is the best show on television. Then, either "King of the Hill" or "Scrubs"...or "SpongeBob" (We are talking US television aren't we?)
posted by jaronson at 4:10 PM on December 10, 2004

See, I don't "get" Arrested Development, just like I don't "get" the majority of Cohen Bros. movies, (though I liked O Brother and Lebowski) and a number of other media bits that people regard as instant classics. It's silly to say it, but when I hear people rave about some of these things, I feel like I'm lacking because I don't get it.

Not that my self-esteem is related to this stuff.

Er...I'll get my coat....
posted by TeamBilly at 4:46 PM on December 10, 2004

Deadwood is one motherfuckin great show, and any cocksucker who disagrees is just a cunt.


I was immediately sucked in by this show. The writing, the dialogue, the characters, all top notch. Al Swearingen has to be one of the best written TV antagonists ever.
Juicylicious- I didn't notice the swearing either, until someone was over while I was watching it and said, "Jeez, did they really say pussy and fuck that much back then?" I also watched Oz despite the fact that it was often just GODAWFUL. The characters and storylines I liked, but that had to be the most unrealistic show ever. I don't think even Abu Ghraib was run as badly as Oswald State Correctional Facility.

The Wire is also an excellent show. I didn't really 'get' it at first, but when they replayed the 1st season, I watched it all over again and I loved it. I am in constant fear that it will be cancelled, because it is so densely written that it might be a turn-off to new viewers. I try to turn everyone on to it that I can.

As for Carnivale, I agree, this show didn't live up to its full potential. I think the problem was they did about 4 episodes worth of plot development in 13 episodes, with a whole lotta extra window dressing. Still, I really like it, and I have high hopes for the 2nd season. I'm curious as to how far ahead they have this show scripted. Because its based on a "final showdown between good & evil," it has to have a definitive endpoint (and probably some denoument after the climax) and I wonder if this won't succumb to Twin Peaks Syndrome if it goes on for too long: fans eventually getting sick of waiting for what's going to happen.

The Sopranos faltered a bit for seasons 3 & 4, but I think Season 5 was really good. Since they are supposedly wrapping it up with Season 6 in 2006, I think they'll end it strong, and all the critics who like to slag it for "jumping the shark" will eat some crow.

Six Feet Under needs to die. Seasons 1&2 were great, 3 was OK, 4 was really really bad. Sex in the City went through the same problem after season2- the characters became shallow parodies of themselves and every episode followed the same damn formula.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned some of the other great HBO shows, Mr Show and The Larry Sanders Show especially. Both were completely freakin hilarious, in totally different ways.

Crappy HBO Shows: Arli$$ and Mind of the Married Man. Ugh, they make me want to gouge out my eyeballs.
posted by papakwanz at 5:47 PM on December 10, 2004

how exactly is this "best of the web"?

/crotchety old guy snarf
posted by glenwood at 6:01 PM on December 10, 2004

Arli$$ is so bad it makes me vomit. i can't understand how it's been on the air since 1996.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:02 PM on December 10, 2004

Damn you glenwood, that was my line! [shakes walking-stick]

Motherfucking, cocksucking TV cunts! Get off my metafilter!
posted by Blue Stone at 6:36 PM on December 10, 2004

Here's my problem with The Wire: Episode two, the butterfingers cop and the two tough guys get drunk and decide to head down to the towers to "fuck shit up". TVs fly, bystanders are injured.

There's no reason for this to happen. As annoying/nondescript as all three of those characters are, it's hard to believe anyone's that stupid. Whatever else the show may have going for it, after that scene, I don't trust the writers anymore.

They seemed to have the drug game down, and I empathize with wanting to sound like Mamet, but they made characters do something near inexplicable to advance the story. I bailed.

Strangers With Candy, however has my eternal allegiance.
posted by Paddle to Sea at 6:51 PM on December 10, 2004

I have absolutely nothing useful to say about the shows you've been discussing, 'cause I haven't seen even one minute's worth of any of them.

That aside:

Regenesis is fanfuckingtastic. It's a 13 episode miniseries that is spookily tieing together a number of recent news/technology items in the microbiology world, from SARS to BSE to cancer treatments. Most of the action takes place in a CDC-alike worksite, and it's really quite frightening: imagine the unholy terror that rips through the CDC every time a virulent unknown starts killing. WTF do you do when you get a case of mad cow? That shit must be in the beef supply chain... is it in the hamburgers?

Scrubs is great. Much of the time it's like a live-action cartoon. Wholly insane. Unafraid to just get plain damn silly.

Family Guy is (was) beyond great. It's the cartoon that Bugs Bunny would watch. Beyond insane. Trippy. Audacious. Vulgar. Unrepentant.

And, um, I think that's about all I have to say.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:21 PM on December 10, 2004

fff, ReGenesis looks scarily cool. Any clue if a US net will pick it up?

Xowie, my bad. Thought he was another of the Aussie invaders like the Lapaglias, Purcell, and the Mandylors.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:30 PM on December 10, 2004

Scrubs is one of the best shows on television. You heard it here first.
posted by McBain at 9:55 PM on December 10, 2004

I just finished a paper on Deadwood for my Television Studies class. Can't wait for the DVDs.
posted by synecdoche at 1:19 AM on December 11, 2004

Arrested Development is the Rube Goldberg of comedy. It takes the most gratuitously circuitous path possible to reach the funny. It's okay, but meh.
posted by mosch at 5:04 AM on December 11, 2004

Fuck, I end up talking like a sailor after watching one episode of OZ -- I hate to think of what I'll sound like after watching Deadwood.

(however, I will now harrass a friend of mine for copies of hers, since I do not have Sky. Yee-fucking-haw, motherfuckers!)
posted by Katemonkey at 5:04 AM on December 11, 2004

Is this the one which stars Lovejoy?
posted by fullerine at 5:24 AM on December 11, 2004

Bill: no idea. I've been torrenting it, 'cause I don't have cable. (Damn the entertainment monopolies!)

Arrested Development is amusing, but I don't think it's truly great. It's sometimes like watching a slow-speed car crash: you can see that it's inevitable, you can see that the drivers could avoid it, you know that they won't, and you hang around to see the bodies fly.

The Life of Plants is an Attenborough documentary that blew me away. Six episodes. Amazing. I think it's safe to say that most of what we call "species" are not viable lifeforms on their own. There's an interdependence between fungi, plants, insects, and animals that is remarkable. Plants that use animals as tools for propagation. Very cool.

BBC Massive tends to the cheezy, but the couple episodes I've seen were impressive simply for the sheer numbers of animals. The sardine migration was terribly cool.

I think I'll be trending heavily toward documentaries these next few months.

(Ooh, Lovejoy. There were a few great seasons in that, too.)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 AM on December 11, 2004

how exactly is this "best of the web"?

It's callled bittorrent.
posted by srboisvert at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2004

I'd be quite surprised if HBO cancelled "The Wire." HBO management has always erred on the side of renewals, even with shows which were long past their prime ("Arli$$) or which stunk from day 1 ("Mind of the Married Man").

Still, if I had to look at grim portents, I'd point to evidence that the budget for the (current) Season 3 of "The Wire" was clearly held down, to the point that they did the show in SD, when the other HBO hours series have been high definition since 2002.
posted by MattD at 2:47 PM on December 11, 2004

I'll definately check out deadwood...

Awesome. It seems every year around xmas I get hooked on a TV DVD. Last year it was 24 season 1 this year Deadwood. You cocksuckers are killing my grades. Oh and which one of you fuckers cut the cheese?
posted by srboisvert at 11:49 AM on December 12, 2004

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