TV

The Rundown: The Time Has Come For A ‘Deadwood’ Binge-Watch


HBO

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items will vary, as will the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE — The clock is ticking

There’s a lot going on this month. Quite possibly too much. This Sunday is the series finale of Veep and the second-to-last episode of Game of Thrones, which means next Sunday is the series finale of that show. We’re about to lose what is arguably the best comedy of the last 5-10 years one week before we lose what is inarguably the biggest drama of the same period. The NBA playoffs are going on. Endgame just came out, John Wick 3 is coming out next week. The month is stacked, admittedly, with important pop culture events. But please don’t let this slip your mind: The Deadwood movie premieres on May 31, too.

Do you realize that May 31 is exactly three weeks from today? That doesn’t seem possible. It feels like June should still be months away. I might not be the best judge of this, though, because I just wrote “2011” as the year on a form not that long ago. But look at the calendar. It’s true. Three weeks, a total of 21 days, until the Deadwood movie premieres. This means that now is officially the time to begin your binge-watch, whether it’s your first time through or you’re catching up after a few years away.

Could you start it later? I mean, sure. I’m not the boss of you, probably, unless I am, in which case stop screwing around online and get to work. But this is the last chance to start if you want to keep a realistic schedule. There are 36 episodes of the show. That’s less than two episodes per day. You can do that. If you wait until next weekend, you’re looking at about 2.5 episodes per day. Still doable, but a stretch if you miss a day here or there. No, you should start this weekend. Let’s all start this weekend. It’ll be fun.

What’s your favorite part of Deadwood? It is Ian McShane as Al Swearengen? I get that. Ian McShane is awesome. The man could read an audiobook about what a punk and a buster I am and I’d still get to the end and be like, “Hell yeah, good point.” Al Swearengen is the role he was born to play, too, all cussing and silver-tongue venom, one of television’s best villains of all time, if not straight-up one of its best characters. McShane’s voice delivering David Milch’s word is a blessing. Cherish it.

Or is your favorite part Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock. Good Lord, is that man intense. His eyes are always blazing to a degree that they might set his mustache or hat on fire. Timothy Olyphant is awesome, too. The only issue with him returning to the role of Seth Bullock is that he played Raylan Givens on Justified in the interim and that role was probably even better. Either way, Timothy Olyphant has played legendary gunslinging badasses in two of televisions best shows. The world is a better place when he’s wearing a cowboy hat and staring down some bad guys. Cherish this, too.

Maybe your favorite part is something else. That’s fine. There’s a lot to choose from. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite part during the re-watch we just agreed to start together. Or, again, maybe it’ll be your first time through. What a treat for you. I came to the show very late, too. The key here is that we are all watching Deadwood and talking about it a lot between now and the end of the month. Game of Thrones is over for good in about 10 days. We have to fill that gap with something. We could do a lot worse than Deadwood.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — My new favorite show

It is my great pleasure to introduce all of you to Blood & Treasure, a new summer series from CBS that is already my favorite show on television despite the tiny fact that it has not premiered yet. It’s beautiful. First of all, it is literally titled Blood & Treasure. That’s a perfect title. For anything. There are so many things I would buy or consume if they were called Blood & Treasure. A heavy metal album? Sure. A high-ABV craft beer? Of course. A summer series on CBS, the same network and season that gave us Zoo, my beloved-but-canceled series about scientifically mutated hellbeasts declaring war on the human race? Oh, indeed.

But let’s say the title Blood & Treasure isn’t enough for you. Let’s say you’re very difficult to please, in general, and you don’t just declare yourself all-in on shows based solely on a combination of title, network, and season. Ugh. What’s the matter with you? Live a little. Stop being so difficult. But let’s say that’s you and you’d like to at least see a brief summary. Fine. Done. From Wikipedia:

Blood & Treasure centers on “a brilliant antiquities expert and a cunning art thief who team up to catch a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks through stolen treasure. As they crisscross the globe hunting their target, they unexpectedly find themselves in the center of a 2,000-year-old battle for the cradle of civilization.”

Find me two better sentences. Take all afternoon. I’ll be here just twiddling my thumbs and waiting impatiently for Blood & Treasure to premiere. I mean, we start off with “a brilliant antiquities expert and a cunning art thief.” I’m already in. I don’t care what they’re doing. They could be trying to open a Chili’s franchise. But they’re not. They’re trying to catch “a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks with stolen treasure.” There are dozens of more practical ways to fund terrorism. Think about how much work goes into stealing treasure. Like, one treasure. It’s needlessly complicated and I love it so much I might die.

This brings us to the second sentence, which includes the phrases “criss-cross the globe” and “a 2,000-year battle for the cradle of civilization.” So it’s like, what, National Treasure crossed with Tomb Raider crossed with The Thomas Crown Affair, but on CBS as the weather begins to get warm and attention spans start to disappear? Oh hell yes. I hope it’s bad and great and fun and nuttier than a pecan pie. I can’t wait.

Perhaps I’m setting my expectations too high. I probably am. I do that sometimes. I’ll see a title and description and trailer and build a show up to a point that the real thing can’t please me. I did this just last year with Deception, the show about a disgraced magician who starts working with the FBI. In my defense, I mean, come on. How was I supposed to go around living my stupid life after discovering the existence of a soon-to-premiere show about a disgraced magician who works with the FBI? I’m only so strong.

Blood & Treasure.

Blood & Treasure!

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Scandal!

CBS All Access

Are you watching The Good Fight? I imagine you are not. As far as I can tell, it is a show that is watched exclusively by television critics. It’s not the show’s fault. The Good Wife spin-off is buried on CBS’s streaming service but it is smart and fun and it absolutely blisters current events, which is actually why I had to stop watching late last season. I need my television to take me out of the real world sometimes, not hammer it into me even more. It’s a bummer. Look at that screencap up there. That’s how Christine Baranski’s character — a partner at a mostly black law firm run by Delroy Lindo — dresses to go meet potential clients. Maybe I should start watching it again.

Anyway, this week the show found itself at the center of a scandal. At one point during its most recent episode, the action was replaced by a title card that just said “Censored by CBS.” Some people thought it was a joke at first. It was not. CBS really did censor something from running on the show. And if you’re wondering if there are layers of delicious irony at play, I have some good news for you.

The short version is that the censored segment was an animated song by Jonathan Coulton about the increasing influence of China and Chinese policies of American entertainment. The long version is laid out at The New Yorker and includes this paragraph:

The song is clear about one of the motives for American self-censorship: China is too big of a market for media corporations to ignore. Like the episode around it, the lyrics touch on the notion that Western culture might help spread democratic ideals, even under censored conditions—but it’s ultimately damning about how easily what might begin as a pragmatic compromise can become an excuse for greed. The clip ends with Coulton, in animated form, singing that he hopes his song gets banned in China—something that can’t happen now, given that it was preëmptively removed by CBS.

Big shouts to the panicky executives at the network for censoring a song on a little-watched prestige series that is buried in a service filled with NCIS reruns, thereby ensuring that it will get publicized even more and probably leaked online at some point. Streisand Effect, baby. Boom.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Names of some characters George Clooney played before he was on E.R.

ABC

Every one of these is a real credited role on his IMDb page, I promise:

  • Rollo Moldonado
  • Major Biff Woods
  • Kip Howard
  • Remar (just “Remar”)
  • Rick Stepjack
  • Chic Chesbro
  • Detective James Falconer

I bring this up for two reasons. Number one, because it’s a nice reminder that even the biggest and most handsome and most charming movie star in the world had to start somewhere, sometimes playing characters like Major Biff Woods and Detective James Falconer. (Detective James Falconer!) And number two, because it’s been over a year since I reminded you that he played a character named Chic Chesbro on a show called Sunset Beat, and that character was a cop who went undercover as the lead singer of a rock band. That’s Chic up there leaning against the motorcycle. It’s a good picture.

I’m glad we had this talk.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Wanna buy some weird stuff?

FXX

You’re the Worst ended its run on FXX earlier this year. The show was goofy and mean and sweet and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m sad it’s gone, even if it ended well and probably at the right time. There is some good news in all of it, though, a small silver lining to help carry viewers through the tough times: Items from the show are now available for auction.

I don’t know how much time you spend looking at television memorabilia on auction sites. Probably less time than me. I’ve never purchased anything and I doubt I ever will, but holy moly is it ever fun and weird. The items are always so random. The one for Justified featured a full-on working SUV that was driven by a villain. The one for Mad Men featured the rope Lane Pryce hung himself with. And those types of things are sprinkled in with the most boring items you can imagine, like a stapler from a character’s desk or a blender someone used one time. I like to picture the person who bought these things trying to explain it to the friends.

“Hey, what’s the rope you have in that frame over there?”

“Funny story…”

The auction for You’re the Worst does not disappoint. Want a beer bong Vernon used once? Done. Want some shoes Lindsay wore? All yours. Want the turkey baster that was used to allegedly impregnate someone only to end up at the center of a series of hijinks? Well, here you go. And look at the description:

Becca and Vernon pretend to use this turkey baster when they trick Paul but they really dump his gunk out the window.

Gunk! Someone find whoever wrote that blurb and give them a big hug from me.

The only downside in all of this is that, despite the auction featuring hundreds of items ranging from very general to very specific, Jimmy’s fake mustache is nowhere to be found. Unacceptable. I wouldn’t have bid on it, obviously. If I was that serious about it, I would have purchased a regular fake mustache for like a dollar and told everyone it was the mustache from the show. Who’s going to call me out on it? Who would think I’m deranged enough to lie about something like that. It’s almost too easy, really.

READER MAIL

If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or, like, whatever you want, shoot them to me at brian.grubb@uproxx.com and put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line. I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

Brandon:

The government has commissioned you to distract the masses while they enact their shady government conspiracies (as one is wont to do). To accomplish this, they’ve given you a time and reality altering machine that allows you to pluck one film from each decade (1950s-1990s) that you can release as “new” in the present day. The goal is for the films to absolutely break Twitter and keep us consumed with commentary/reaction/debate.

Which films do you think would best accomplish this if released in the modern day?

Brandon, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that this is a very interesting question and one that deserves a thoughtful, well-researched answer. The bad news is that all I can think about right now is the reverse situation, where I use my time machine to take a movie from today back to prior decades to blow people’s minds into tiny particles. Think about how far CGI has come since the 1950s. Imagine showing, like, Pacific Rim to someone from back then. Imagine their reaction to this.

And then explain to them that the director responsible for that movie won an Oscar, but not for the mindblowing film about giant robots and sea monsters whomping on each other with cargo ships in the streets. No, he won for a beautiful movie about a woman who has sex with a fish. Having a time machine would be fun. I think that’s my point.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Ontario!

Provincial police say an alleged theft in Townsend, Ont., saw at least one person break into a building under construction and steal a fully assembled kitchen.

They allege the theft, valued at $20,000, took place some time between Sunday and Monday morning, when it was discovered.

Police say the alleged thief made off with 16 cabinets, the kitchen island, both wood and tile flooring, a bathroom vanity complete with accessories and several power tools.

I really hope that, as they were quite literally stealing everything including the kitchen sink, these criminals paused for a second and had a chuckle to themselves about it. What’s the point of doing anything if you can’t enjoy it a little, you know?

Around The Web

×