If there were a battle of western crime dramas, it would be ‘Deadwood’ versus ‘Justified’. Let’s see which show will take the crown!
2004-2006 saw a short crime drama, ‘Deadwood’, that changed the western world for many people, but, in 2010, viewers found a renewed hope in ‘Justified’, another excellent crime drama. So, which is better, ‘Deadwood’ or ‘Justified’?
- Discussing all things ”Deadwood”
- What ‘Justified’ had to offer
- Was ‘Deadwood’ better than ‘Justified’?
Discussing all things ‘Deadwood’
‘Deadwood’ originally aired back in 2004. It was a drama set in the late 1800s, encompassing characters of ‘Deadwood’ from South Dakota; a town known for its corruption and crime. The show had a western theme, and though there have been many great western shows to come before ‘Deadwood’, not a lot of them really got it right. There is just a large segment of reality attached to it that was factually and historically true – this was also something that made the show lovable and loathed.
One of the most controversial parts of the show was the language. The creator of ‘Deadwood’, David Milch, through his research, had stumbled upon the remarkably unusual contradiction of languages used in the old west. So, the cast of ‘Deadwood’ conversed with a combination of old-world English laced with profanity, in a way that was never done before. Due to the Shakespeare-like speech, the show required subtitles even for the many native English speakers who tuned into the show. Perhaps, this became the first barrier for loving the show.
But David Milch had also done magic with the cast, by introducing the world to Al Swearengen and Seth Bullock. People claimed that Ian McShane played Al Swearengen with an intense conviction and truth, which the character himself lives by. Al Swearengen believed in a black and white world, with his own set of life principles and morals for which he never apologized.
Seth Bullock, played by Timothy Olyphant, is a typical Western hero, with qualities ranging from handsome, rangy, strict to heroic. It’s no surprise he was chosen as one of the two nominal leads for ‘Deadwood’. While you don’t have to be a western fan to like the series, there’s a lot of ups and downs that came with the show. The historically correct depiction of a male-dominated world of the wild west, portrayed with its fair share of raw brutality and obscene language. After 3 seasons of extremely mixed reviews, the HBO show ended on a cliffhanger in 2016. To fans’ delight, a ‘Deadwood’ movie came out in 2019.
What ‘Justified’ has to offer!
‘Justified’ is also a Western crime drama television series that premiered in 2010, on the FX network. Developed by Graham Yost, it is based upon Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens stories. In fact, some of the episodes seem to paraphrase the exact dialogue used in the book. Of course, Timothy Olyphant truly glorified the role of Raylen Givins by his expert portrayal of the US Marshal. Timothy Olyphant had a flair and prompt historical respect that one would expect from a Texas Ranger. The role of Raylen Givins was proud, faithful, and had a keen sense of uprightness all packaged up in a restless bundle.
The entire series revolved around the occupants and culture of the Appalachian mountains area in Kentucky. It also featured Lexington, Kentucky where the local U.S. Marshals office is situated. The series received praise through its entire time on-air and lasted for 78 episodes, stretched over six seasons, and concluded in 2015.
Why ‘Justified’ is the better show!
The real question after the 2019 ‘Deadwood’ movie is: “Was ‘Deadwood’ better than ‘Justified’?” To many fans, it seems like ‘Justified’ was the better show. However, it’s a western battle that only the fans will settle someday. Both the shows had plenty in common, a life of crime and the wonderfully talented Timothy Olyphant, who nailed both his cowboy roles.
‘Deadwood’ had nuanced characters, and less anticipated outcomes, because the show was restricted with bits of actual history that were part of the core plot. What’s more, is that the season three cliffhanger left us all wondering if the show could have surpassed expectations if there was another season. ‘Justified’, as a show, was based on Elmore Leonard’s book and definitely had more of a cinematic feel. The characters also had more defined hero and villain roles, so you could count on the hero coming out on top at the end.
What do you think? Which is better, ‘Deadwood’ or ‘Justified’? Let us know in the comments section below!