Dead Wood: Thoughts on Good and Evil on TV

Ever Since I have met Josh he has been telling me to watch two shows: Six Feet Under and Dead Wood.  I tried Six Feet Under a year ago and I just don’t think Alan Ball is for me.  About a week ago I finally started Dead Wood and I have to say, I feel that familiar Wire feeling.  That feeling when you just know a show is gonna be great.  In doing so, I have finally figured out what it is I am looking for from a television show…no it is not gratuitous nudity.  Well, it is but it is more than that!  It’s the creation of a contained world.  When I think back on all of my favorite shows: Twin Peaks, Lost, Battle Star Galactica, The Wire and Star Trek TNG the common denominator is that they are a self contained world.  They also are not really based in our reality.  Deadwood falls into this category. If you have never watched this show because you hate westerns, you are making a mistake.  I am of the generation that has really never seen a western.  They didn’t make any in my life time.  They only made Anti-westerns like Unforgiven where the cowboy felt bad about killing Indians or having to actually shoot the bad guy.   Never underestimate the power that Terminator 2 had on Hollywood.  Once they had Arnold shoot people in the knees, Hollywood stopped killing anyone.  Unless they kill someone’s dog, then everything changes.  Deadwood is not about the west.  It is about the struggle of Good and Evil.  That is a story that can be told in a small town in Washington State, or in a space ship, or an inner city drug lord neighborhood.  It is universal and needs to be told over and over again because it is life.   Dead Wood has no trouble killing an Indian, a cowboy, a murderer or a small innocent child.  They would kill anyone to make a buck.  Even the “hero” hung someone in the first 7 minutes of the show.  Everyone has good and evil in them and the situation brings out the best and the worst in great characters.  Last night while driving home, I saw a homeless man run across the street to help push someone’s car into the gas station.  Then he ran back to hold up his sign for money.   A different passing car yelled something at the homeless man and the homeless man gave the driver the finger.   Within a moment he reacted to the extremes.   It is always a struggle between good and evil.  We have both in us.  I have only started Deadwood but I can tell that it is going to pull me in many directions and challenge what I think is right and wrong.  That is what I want most from a show.  I can’t wait to see how David Milch delivers it.

Follow us on Facebook or twitter @redroompodcast Subscribe to our Weekly Podcast on Television at iTunes