The DEADWOOD & DOWNTON ABBEY movies: visits with a couple of old friends

Al Swearengen feeds The Dowager Crawley to Wu’s pigs…



DEADWOOD and DOWNTON ABBEY could not be more attractive opposites: DEADWOOD reveled in Shakespearean vulgarity, DOWNTON ABBEY sniffed propriety through a stiff upper lip.

Both were ensemble cast affairs where nuance and attention to the timing and placement of minuet details delighted the dedicated viewer.

The dialogue dripped with elitist snark and roadhouse obscenity  depending on whom was providing the delivery.

And the most accomplished whores wind up with the biggest paydays be it the family manor or the Gem Saloon.

DOWNTON ABBEY had the longer run of the two but for me it never had that lived-in feel that I got after three seasons of wallowing in DEADWOOD’s muck.

The English like to put on a show and certainly there was a voyeuristic component at play viewing how the Fading Aristocracy lived.

Certainly the characters were engaging and the Little Drama’s that played out week to week were amusing or maudlin depending.

It was nice to see the Costuming and Set Design on the Big Screen even though the story-line was contrived (The K & Q are coming for dinner! Get out the best china!).

Still, that Old Gang from upstairs and downstairs was there and everyone got a chance to chew the scenery in what was often an extended cameo.

Not worth the 18 bucks for an evening show but it wudda been just fine for a matinee.

On the other hand, DEADWOOD stuck to the small screen with a DVD release after a pay-per-view streaming period on HBO.

When season three ended a dozen years or so ago it was with an abruptness and lack of closure to the series arc.

Fortunately the DEADWOOD movie rectifies that in a most satisfactory manner.

Instead of picking up where it left off in 2006 the writers had the Great Sense to age the story and the characters by a decade.

And it was as savory a jug of frontier swill as anyone had a right to expect.

The incomparable Ian McShane reprises his absolutely jaundiced  Al Sweargenton (now dying of booze induced liver failure) at the dawn of SoDak statehood in a won West,

Again, all the gang are represented right down to Wu’s pigs who continue their grim tradition of evidence disposal.

And damned if I didn’t get a tear or two when Calamity Jane saved Seth Bullock’s ass by channeling her old pal Wild Bill in the Number 10 Saloon.

For my money, DEADWOOD‘s aces and eights beats DOWNTON ABBEYS flush.



Bruno Strozek

Written by Bruno Strozek

Bruno Strozek is the author of occasionally semi-coherent piffle and has been a Writer/Editor at Sparta Report since July 2016.

Strozek, along with his alter-egos the decadent, drug-addled Sixties refugee Uncle Bruno and his intolerably feminist SJW Cousin Brunoetta have been riding the not-yet crested wave of deplorability with posts covering politics, sports, entertainment and zombies.

Aptly described as both "hilarious and deeply disturbed" Strozek has enthusiastically embraced the recommendation of the late Raoul Duke that "when the going gets weird the weird turn pro."

Although he has fallen far short of his bucket-list goal of writing for such respectable rags as The National Enquirer and The Weekly World News Strozek is grateful for the opportunity to pen his unhinged screeds at Sparta Report and is constantly amazed and delighted at the reception his pieces receive in the cements.


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