David Milch to End Deadwood Verbally

The Hartford Courant‘s Roger Catlin got a press release touting HBO’s 19-disc box set for its critically-acclaimed series Deadwood.

According to Mr. Catlin, it will sell for $179.97, which would be pretty steep even if people weren’t about to start boiling their boots for soup, but the 36-hour disc contains something fans have been desperately waiting for: An end to the series. (Then again, it’s a heckuva lot cheaper than HBO’s Sopranos box which retails for $399.99. And we all know how frustratingly that series en—)

Writes Mr. Catlin:

Among its two hours of bonus materials is something called “The Meaning of Endings” described as “creator David Milch’s discussion on what would have happened had the ‘Deadwood’ series continued’…

Now, two hours of a show runner talking about what would’ve happened on a cancelled show might sound boring (or very much like something from The Onion AV Club‘s Commentary Tracks of the Damned column), but keep in mind this is David Milch. In a February 14, 2005 New Yorker profile of Mr. Milch by Mark Singer, the Deadwood auteur’s method was described as follows:

Whether starting a new scene or revising someone else’s draft, Milch would usually begin with a discursive monologue about context and subtext. The pilot script, which he wrote in 2003, grew out of two years’ research into the history of the West in general and Deadwood specifically, gold mining, Indian wars, whorehouse and casino protocols, public-health records, politics in the Black Hills, criminality and extralegal justice, the Gilded Age, the bank panic of 1873, and biographies of historical figures. Last spring and summer, as the first season’s episodes were being aired, Milch convened the writers and interns for several weeks to explore how characters, themes, and story lines might evolve, and the transcriptions of those sessions totalled hundreds of single-spaced pages… Milch has a prodigious memory, which means that these densely layered observations are at the disposal of his consciousness, as well as his unconscious, when he finally sits down, or lies down, to write. After witnessing this process on several occasions—the ambience in the room seems equal parts master class and séance—the comparison that strikes me as most apt is channelling. The only sounds are the hum of an air-conditioner and Milch’s voice, or, more precisely, the voices of his characters speaking through him.

Sounds like must-see TV to us.

David Milch to End Deadwood Verbally