"Deadwood" rides again

The demise of "Deadwood" is still depressing. The western drama's abrupt end after just three seasons -- following a bullheaded royalties dispute between HBO and co-producer Paramount -- was one of the most surprising and bizarre injustices in TV history. Series get canceled all the time -- sometimes early in their runs, because they weren't generating big enough ratings to please the network, and sometimes very late, after years of financial and critical success (and creative wheel-spinning). The case of "Deadwood" was unique, and uniquely depressing. Its plug was pulled when it was one of HBO's top-rated dramas and a critical darling with a lively, engaged fan base. There was talk that the show might finish out its projected five-year run with a couple of TV movies, but it never amounted to anything. And after a few months, with the show's immense cast dispersed and the sets torn down, it soon became clear that this was a fantasy that would never come true. "Deadwood" was dead, and it was never coming back.



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