Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome to *^&@ Deadwood and The Wire on DVD!

Mo Ryan's comment in the previous entry about Amazon selling "The Wire: The Complete Series" for $89.99 (64% off the retail price) was a good enough pointer that it deserved its own post (even though Amazon's temporarily out of stock, it's a hell of a deal if you don't mind waiting), especially since Amazon also has "Deadwood: The Complete Series" for $74.99 (58% off).

With "The Wire," you're largely buying it if you don't already have the previous DVD sets, as the only notable new features are the three prequel films (with Young Omar, Young Prop Joe, and the first meeting of McNulty and The Bunk) that were made before season five, plus a gag reel. But that's a great price for the single greatest drama in TV history, and even if there were no special features, I'd want to own it if I didn't have the season-by-season sets.

"Deadwood," on the other hand, has an extra disc with brand-new features, which I'll talk about after the jump...
"The biggest lie is the idea that we are entitled to a meaningful and coherent summarizing, a conclusion, of something which never concludes. In that regard, this is the lie I'm telling myself so I don't set fire to anything." -David Milch
That quote's from the highlight of the bonus disc, in which the creator of "Deadwood" tours the old sets and talks about where he might have taken the show in the fourth season, or in the movies that are now never going to be made.

I know a lot of "Deadwood" fans still blame Milch for bringing the show to a premature end, even though everything I know about the situation says that Milch was the fall guy in a financial dispute between HBO and Paramount, and that the whole "He was so excited to begin work on 'John From Cincinnati' that we had to put 'Deadwood' on hold" was a lie agreed upon so that at least Milch could have something on the air where he could employ a lot of the "Deadwood" cast and crew.

But regardless of your feelings for Milch and whatever role he played in the show's sudden demise, there's no denying his passion for the project as he walks through the ghost town, admits to feeling depressed being there, and does one of his patented stream-of-consciousness monologues about the nature of endings. (See above.)

The Milch featurette makes a wonderful double feature with one of my favorite DVD bonuses of all time. Titus Welliver, who played Al Swearengen's protege Silas Adams, turns out to be a brilliant mimic, and he tries to imagine Milch meeting with various classic '70s actors (Pacino, DeNiro, Walken, Duvall) to see if they would want to play Swearengen. Even though Welliver is in full "Deadwood" costume, complete with beard, he nails all five impersonations, particularly Milch's crooked posture and leisurely syntax. It's hysterical.

There's also a half-hour feature on the real Deadwood, a tour of the set, and an hourlong conversation with the cast and crew from 2005. Plus, the packaging makes the whole thing roughly the size of any of the single-season sets, which is good for those of us with limited shelf space.

Christmas is almost here, but if you need a last-minute gift idea for the TV lover, here you go.

29 comments:

Aendor said...

Hi! I'm from Ukraine. You have nice blog!

Mike said...

FWIW, Best Buy has the same 50% off all HBO DVDs deal right now, and is open tonight and tomorrow.

Mo Ryan said...

Sold! I just ordered my Deadwood set.

Mo Ryan said...

Was sadly amused to see the title of the Rome boxed set: "The Complete First Two Season." Uh, the *only* two seasons ....

Hatfield said...

As someone who loves Deadwood with the same intensity and insanity Seth Bullock exhibits whenever beating on some poor bastard who crossed him and his, I have to say this review may be the best news I could have possibly received this Christmas. Sure, I own all three seasons already, but I'll gladly pass them on to someone else so this amazing piece of storytelling can work its wonders on others. I'm sure watching the Milch segment will depress me terribly, but it'll be worth it.

A couple questions though, Alan, if you would:

1) Are the special features from the original releases of each season still included?

2) Since I have no extra money right now, would you mind sending me your copy, as you undoubtedly have some HBO connection somewhere who could help out? I'll even pay you in four easy installments...

Ok, weird to ask, I know, but a guy can dream.

(In an amazing bit of appropriateness, my verification word is "recuster," which makes me think simultaneously of Ronnie in the final Wire montage and Al and Jane's many separate rants about the famously defeated Colonel.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Hatfield, I believe it's a duplication of the original sets (complete with commentaries and whatnot), plus the new bonus disc.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And I actually gave my copy as a Christmas gift. Sorry.

Hatfield said...

Haha, well, it's the thought that counts. Thanks for the info!

dronkmunk said...

Yeah I snapped up the wire box set even though I own seasons 1-3. Those are kinda scratched though..

Undercover Black Man said...

You have nice blog indeed, Alan. I'll jump on that "Deadwood" set.

Happy holidays.

Melanie said...

Thanks for the tip, Alan and Mo! I just ordered The Wire. What a deal. When I finally got around to viewing The Wire (my thanks to you, Alan, for wearing down my resistance) I netflixed the first two seasons and bought the last three; I'll sell those on ebay.

Zehava said...

Thanks for the tip Alan! I'm finally going to watch The Wire! I'm excited.

Steven said...

Quick question to anyone in the know:

Are these ever going to come out on Blu-Ray? I know the Wire never broadcast in HD, but for some reason I thought Deadwood had.

Tina said...

Thanks Alan, for the info, and the phrase "a lie agreed upon." Boy, am I jonesing to watch the series again. And although I own the individual series sets, that extra disc is tempting...

Anonymous said...

I bought THE WIRE box at BB as well. Got the last one they had at my local store for the $90. I've seen the series 4 times through now and will have to watch it at least once or twice a year more. I have only seen the 5th season once, so I'll give that another look starting tomorrow. Now I can delete all 5 seasons I had on my hard drive.

I really want to get the DEADWOOD box, but that season was just awful. So badly done. Yeah, maybe it's wrong to blame Milch fro the show's demise (judging rom the crap that HBO has put on hte air since, this seems a strong possibility!) but the blame for the meandering nature of season three rests on his shoulders. Period. I don't care what problems you got. If Shawn Ryan and David Simon can kick ass over 5 and 7 seasons, then so can Milch. No excuse for dropping the ball.

Pamela Jaye said...

i'm off-topic, but since when is that new

I revisited Aaron Sorkin"s Facebook movie page a while back and heard of a sale on The West Wing Complete Series for $115. Turned out it was $74 or $75 so my brother bought it (our Dr Horrible will come whenever). Took forever, they changed the ship date once - it got here today. Pretty.

And I think the price has gone back up. Yeah we got it from amazon.
We get most of our crap from amazon, target, newegg.com, cyberguys.com, sometimes CompUSA, as we still have one. My friend bought my Chuck at Best Buy last week. I was stunned to see the real (or Best Buy) prices for HIMYM, which I tripped over a sale plus coupon on at Target, the week Scrubs came out. 2 seasons @ $15 each, minus a $5 coupon. Jay paid $20 for a used copy of season 1.
I knew there was something I was in the middle of...

So, my point - It's helpful when someone passes on good sale prices on TV show DVDs
even if i'm not The Wire type, thanks for doing this!

Andrew said...

Are these ever going to come out on Blu-Ray? I know the Wire never broadcast in HD, but for some reason I thought Deadwood had.

I don't believe either show was broadcast in true HD, since both shows were made on film. However, Deadwood was broadcast in widescreen while The Wire was in fullscreen. However, being in fullscreen does not preclude The Wire from receiving a Blu Ray release. Blu Ray means an increased digital resolution than that of regular DVD. It doesn't really have all that much to do with aspect ration. For example, Casablanca and The Third Man, both old movies that were made in a 4:3 ratio, recently received Blu Ray releases. With that said, The Wire wasn't exactly HBO's biggest hit, so it still will probably be a while before it receives a Blu Ray release.

Kalman said...

The Wire offer is tempting, since it's the one "best show of all time" candidate that I've never followed, and I've been meaning to start from episode one and watch the whole show end to end. Presume for a second that I don't really care whether I own the discs or just rent them . . . based on your knowledge of the number of episodes/seasons, and presuming each season costs, what, about $20 to rent all the DVDs in it? Is that about right? Does this mean it's even cheaper to order the whole shebang rather than rent them thru netflix or something? Anyone Wire-heads have any advice?

Andrew said...

Kalman, it depends on what type of rental plan you have setup at what online retailer. Without knowing specifics, it's a little difficult to know what'll cost less. The five seasons amount to 23 discs, if that helps.

Kalman said...

Thanks, Andrew. Actually, I don't have a plan. I was just trying to sound trendy by dropping the name "netflix". Really, I'd likely just go to Blockbuster. Seems to me they usually break each Season up into 5 separate rental segments, and I'm guessing that each rental is probably 3 or 4 dollars, so that's between 15 and 20 a season. There's five seasons, right? So that's $75 to $100, so maybe owning is the cheaper option . . .presuming I end up liking the series and following it through to the end.

Test said...

I have even better news for those blog readers capable of reading PAL dvds - UK, Australia, NZ and the more tech savy US folk. All the major Australian online retailers have a huge Wire discount at the moment that blows Amazon USA to the dust. Granted it is only the first 4 seasons, and obviously without the full set extras, but they have them at an amazing 19.95 Australian dollars each.

My personal pick is the very well regarded www.sanity.com.au who I have personally spent literally thousands of dollars with shipping from Australia to New Zealand without a single issue ever. They ship up to 4 units for Australian $7, and if you whip out your calculator, take OFF their sales tax (if you are outside Australia you don't pay it), then INCLUDING shipping that's a touch under Australian $80, or US 55 Dollars / GBP 37 Pounds for FOUR SEASONS OF the Wire.

To top that off Sanity currently have Deadwood at what ends up the same price for all 3 seasons - $80 Australian shipped, and major specials on a bunch of other TV series - the full 5 season Tombstone box set of Six Feet Under for US 73 dollars shipped anyone?

Why is a multi format dvd player a great idea - this is why, of course it doesn't hurt that PAL has a slightly technically better picture quality than NTSC encoded discs either.

Eric said...

Just wanted to thank Alan for passing along this pointer - I've been on the edge of buying the complete Wire for months, but couldn't quite pull the trigger at $130 or whatever it was, but my Amazon order is now placed.

And I really need to watch Deadwood and Rome and the other HBO shows at some point, but one step at a time.

debbie said...

I just ordered this after sitting on the fence for awhile as well.
Can I still post on the old entries of The Wire on here as I watch them? Heh.

SJ said...

I just got it from Best Buy yesterday. They are sold out in a lot of places. Can't believe I got the greatest TV show ever for only $90. The commentary on the 2nd season with Dominic West and Michael k. Williams is hilarious.

SR said...

I know the sets are burned down, but maybe Milch could round up the cast for a final radio drama? Or animated series? Hey, it worked for the original Star Trek!

ProgGrrl said...

I'm just seeing this about the Deadwood sale today...thank you so much for posting about it, I just bought myself a copy. Cannot wait to watch this new Milch featurette. Happy New Year!

Josh said...

maybe it only fits into this post in my own twisted mind, but the freaks and geeks yearbook edition has been brought back as well. i've seen it at best buy and ordered it from amazon. since F&Gs in my top 5 favorite shows along with the wire and deadwood, i tend to lump it in with the hbo critic candy...

karenmiller said...

You need to be careful ordering dvds from Australia. While there are often great $$$ deals, a lot of the time the sets we get are based off the UK masters (due to regional copyright issues) and are therefore without the extras that come on the US editions. West Wing was terrible for that. The packaging advertised all the extras eg commentaries, and the dvds were eps only with no recourse from the distributor.

Just a heads up ...

Anonymous said...

Anybody know when season 5 of The Wire will be released in Australian stores? I've been trying to find information on this...