Four episode commentaries have varying degrees of success. One is handled by directors/executive producers Gregg Fienberg and Mark Tinker, both longtime colleagues of series creator David Milch. They show a decent grasp of the show's nuts and bolts and dole out details of how Milch literally creates on the fly, but all of their joke attempts fall painfully flat. (Cue crickets.) The actors' commentary - courtesy Jim Beaver (Whitney Ellsworth), Sean Bridgers (Johnny Burns), and W. Earl Brown (Dan Dority) - is the best of the lot. Their camaraderie is immediately apparent, and their shared info is both literal-minded and informative, especially when they dissect the ins and outs of the gruesome street fight between Dan and Hearst's imposing emissary of hurt, Captain Turner (Allan Graf). And it's quite telling when Brown laments, "I miss this show so bad." (Ditto, brother. Ditto.)
Weigert apologizes at the outset for being the lone commentator on Episode 9, Amateur Night, explaining that Dickens was stuck on jury duty and Powers Boothe (rakish saloon owner Cy Tolliver) "has another job" (translation: he was off shooting the sixth season of 24). Gee, here's a solution: y'all coulda rescheduled the session for another time or brought in someone else who could've acted as a foil for Weigert - someone like Cox, whose character, the aforementioned Langrishe, organized the episode's titular event. On her own, Weigert fills in the blanks with solid character insight and a musing on the origins of her mysterious next-day "bruises" - albeit with occasional too-long pauses between thoughts. Her feeling about the show ending? "It's really hard to let it go." (Sensing a pattern here, folks?)
And then there's Milch, who fittingly takes a solo turn for the final episode. In his case, going it alone is a plus because he's more often than not the only one who can explain what's what (albeit in the singularly obtuse Milchian way). He notes that this is the first time he's seen the episode since the final edit - he didn't even watch it when it aired - but he's not one to need to pause and catch his breath. He responds in depth to the scenes at hand and their import, returning again and again to the concepts of "truth to power" and "pretense to civility," each practice ascribed to dealings with unseen but very much understood "bosses." (See how easy it is to fall into Milch-speak after living with his verbiage in such concentrated doses?)
And what of Deadwood's future? HBO unceremoniously canceled the series as Season 3 came to a close. But during his commentary, Milch drops hints like, "we'll get to that in the 2-hour films," "the episodes to come," and "if I get to, we'll tell more of these stories" - all things that fans are glad to hear. But will it come to pass? The crystal ball is cloudy, as HBO execs backpedaled on the possibility during a network/critics press conference in July.
Regardless of the outcome, we're not likely to see the likes of Deadwood pass this way anytime soon. So drink up and savor Season 3 like a fine whiskey. And do it now - I don't want to have to call you a you-know-whatsucker. [NR] English, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround; French and Spanish, Dolby Digital stereo; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; six dual-layer discs.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.