As our baby has grown a bit, his needs and demands have shifted, so I’m trying to ease off watching TV and focus on him more, but for the first couple of months I found myself casting about for something to do while burping and feeding him, since he didn’t really engage much and “Aww, cute!” is less effective when you’re dead tired.
Since reading was tough with both hands full, I set about catching up on TV series I’d missed over the years. More recently, I finished Mad Men, which… well, I’ll save that for another post, but before that it was Deadwood. After devouring all three seasons, I found myself a bit shocked that I’d missed it when it was brand new.
Well, maybe not: I’ve never been a big fan of cowboy stories, after all. The Lone Ranger was about the only one I dug as a kid. (When I was in elementary school, we lived in a tiny town with only one free TV channel. On Saturdays, the only thing they aired that was fun was an episode of Rod Serling’s original series The Twilight Zone, followed by an episode of the original Star Trek series. When they finished their run of Star Trek and started following up The Twilight Zone with some faded old Western series—I think it was Bonanza, but I can’t say for sure—I started switching off the TV after Serling wrapped things up.)
It’s not that I hate Westerns, mind you. I just don’t usually see what everyone else seems to see in most of them. With exceptions, of course. But no, those exceptions don’t include Firefly. Cowboys-in-space (who are explicitly cowboyish, I mean) has always been the most baffling subgenre of SF as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t get it.
Anyway, whatever I think about most Westerns, I definitely enjoyed Deadwood: I devoured all three seasons in about a week and a half, mostly while nursing little Noeul. If I were terribly worried about him picking up and using new cuss words, I suppose I’d be happy I picked that time to watch it: he’s too little to pick up anything except a case of hiccups at this point, but the show definitely has changed the way I cuss at the idiots I encounter driving on the streets of Jochiwon daily, and rather decisively, too.
Still, while a lot of the pixels I’ve seen spilled about the show relate to the foul language used on it, I found myself wondering about what it was in the the series that hooked me, what the series was fundamentally about, and how the tension and dynamics of the over-arching story actually worked, both as a fiction unto itself, and as a piece of historical fantasy.