It came as no surprise that fans were eager for answers to the question – Why Was Deadwood Cancelled? To say that the Deadwood series was one of the most intriguing performances in the league of western TV shows and films would simply be conveying a point of view held dearly by its millions of fans around the world. No western television series or feature film did a better job of portraying people and events surrounding that era in general and the story of the town of Deadwood in particular.
The story of Deadwood is one that shows the many aspects of human nature in a society where civilization is yet to fully take hold. It is a story of the gold rush of the late 19th century which portrayed prospectors, miners, workers, criminals, store owners, shoddy business people, gunslingers, prostitutes and residents of Deadwood mining camp which later became a town and a sort of dog eat dog world where only the most powerful or cunning thrived. A place and time of deceit, lawlessness, connivance, violence, bribery and all sorts of corrupt activities. The cast of Deadwood was made up of notable actors and actresses who gave viewers of the series some of the best performances of their careers.
The outcome of the show as a huge success was made possible not only due to the strength of the narrative which is no doubt superb but it is also in large part due to its compelling characters. Some of these characters were based on real-life residents and visitors to Deadwood. They ranged from the few principled ones such Seth Bullock as played by Timothy Olyphant who went on to become Deadwood’s sheriff to the many unscrupulous ones such as English-born Al Swearengen who owned the Gem saloon and was prepared to go to almost any length for personal gains. These are examples of two opposing figures who were also prominent members of the community.
Why Was Deadwood Cancelled?
Deadwood TV series was canceled in 2006 after its third season because of business disagreements between two of the main producers, HBO and Paramount. As the story goes, a part of the reason for the cancellation was that the show’s ratings had begun to take a dip. HBO had also become more interested in another TV show that Deadwood‘s creator, David Milch was working on called John from Cincinnati and wanted him to focus his efforts on making that show a success.
The cancellation came as a total surprise for fans and followers of the series who had anticipated a fourth season. While many fans expressed their complaints about the show’s abrupt ending via social media channels and online forums, others went the route of boycotting HBO network’s other shows and calling for others to do likewise. Others went as far as creating websites to protest the cancellation.
Is It Ever Coming Back?
When the answer to the question – Why was Deadwood canceled became clear, the next worry was about the possibility of a return. HBO ultimately caved in to the yearnings of fans and attempted to make a fourth season happen, however, the network proposed that the show’s creator, David Milch comes up with a shorter season four which would consist of only six episodes as opposed to the twelve seasons each of the earlier three seasons had shown.
Milch on his part decided that six episodes would be insufficient to tell the story with enough depth to enable it to convey the right thoughts and emotions and that it would only resort to leaving viewers to draw of manners of meanings and conclusions. This he mentioned was unacceptable and so he declined the offer from the network and instead came up with a proposal of his own. He proposed two TV movies that would serve as the finale for the show. HBO agreed to the proposal, although this was not to happen until 12 years after.
Deadwood: The Movie started shooting in 2018 and was released in 2019. The film was released to wide acclaim as many fans have maintained that the story itself is great and the performances of the cast were exceptional. While it is not clear whether another film or season will air after this one, some say that certain events in the movie, notably the apparent death of such a central character like Swearengen negate the possibility for another release. However, others have questioned this idea and insist there is a chance that he did not die.