Friday, June 09, 2006

Tell Your God to Ready For Hugs -- er, Blood.

(Above: Lovejoy V2.0)

While not my absolute favorite HBO series (that title would go to The Wire, which also benefits from an arguably tougher, more lawless locale), Deadwood is definitely #2 with several bullets. Thankfully, the unhygenic anti-Western with the ornate, near-Shakesperean flourishes and enough buckets of profanity to make David Mamet crack open Bill Bennett's Book of Virtues returns for its' third season Sunday. By now you may have heard about the show's premature near-death as HBO passed on a full fourth season, allegedly due to money issues stemming from the expensive and underperforming Rome, a show to which they're committed for another season. Anyways, it looks like the end result of the post-brouhaha negotiations between the network and series creator David Milch will be two two-hour films to wrap up the series after this season; not a perfect solution, but as poor Dale Cooper will tell you it's preferable to leaving the show's various plotlines permanently unresolved.

I'm trying to hear as little as possible about this year's contents in advance, including whether or not they'll fulfill my slim hopes of having Garrett Dillahunt play yet a third character on the show, following his polar opposite turns as Wild Bill Hickock's killer Jack McCall in season one and prissy psycho Francis Wolcott in season two. May I suggest a wisecracking scamp named Mitch Mittens, who comes to the camp looking to form Deadwood's first "base-ball" team and who posesses facial hair so powerful it can wield a makeshift wooden bat with remarkable efficiency? As for Milch, next up he'll be creating a "surf noir" pilot for HBO, which if his past work is any indication could be another groundbreaking, genre-busting classic. Or maybe he just plans to remake old Annette Funicello movies with adorable kittens wearing fedoras and tiny trenchcoats, who knows. Shortly before last year's season 2 premiere, the New Yorker ran a fascinating profile of Milch, detailing his strange, drug-addled path from budding novelist at Yale to successful TV writer/producer. Some kind soul transcribed and posted the whole thing here and for Deadwood fans it's well worth reading.

I can't say I'm as interested, however, in the return of Entourage to HBO's line-up this Sunday. I've only caught the tail end of several episodes but the show's apparent affection for it's roster of meatheads seems to me like a missed opportunity for a nastier, more biting portrayl of celebrity hangers-on, which probably wouldn't prove as popular or make exec. producer Mark Wahlberg happy. But I guess I can't blame hit-starved HBO for seeking an annoying-guy replacement for it's annoying-lady show, Sex On the City (as I believe it was called). Still, how is it that Jeremy Piven is apparently allowed to get away with wearing that toupee in real life now? C'mon what would his "PCU" character have to say about that, in between so-so barbs with David Spade and impromptu George Clinton concerts? Meanwhile, the other sitcom premiering Sunday night, Lucky Louie or Life With Lucky or Life Begins at the Hop or whatever it's called, just looks fucking terrible. I expect more from one of the minds behind "Pootie-Tang." Seriously!

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