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Deadwood producer moves on to cop genre - Metro US

Deadwood producer moves on to cop genre

John From Cincinnati, the latest series from Deadwood producer David Milch, has been cancelled by HBO.

DEADWOOD F*&%ING DEAD: Hell, I thought it was sort of interesting, but I was definitely in a minority since HBO has cancelled John From Cincinnati, David Milch’s follow-up to Deadwood, just as the final episode of the summer series aired. You can probably blame me personally for the thing flopping – after the first episode, I decided that I couldn’t possibly wait a week after each episode to figure out just what the hell was going on, and that I’d wait for the box set. My bad – sorry, David.

For Deadwood fans who’ve started doing the happy dance in anticipation of the two Deadwood movies Milch and HBO sorta kinda maybe promised they’d do back when that series was cancelled after its third season, it’s time to simmer down, at least according to New Jersey Star-Ledger TV columnist Alan Sepinwall. “As for the Deadwood movies, I just think there are too many logistical hurdles for them to ever happen,” Sepinwall wrote on his blog. “Once they let all the actors out of their contracts, that effectively killed any future movie prospects. This isn’t the kind of thing where Milch can grab three actors and film it in his basement, you know?”

The Deadwood set has been broken down and packed away, and thanks to the show’s critical popularity, Ian McShane is looking like he might match Jude Law for ubiquity on the big screen. Even major supporters like James Poniewozik, TV critic for Time magazine, has said he can live without more Deadwood. “I’d like to see the movies,” he wrote, “all things being equal, but I doubt they’d be nearly as satisfying as a full season would have been. And all things rarely are equal, so given the choice, I want to see HBO, or someone like them, give writers like Milch as many swings at making new series as they’d like.”

Milch is apparently already up and swinging, according to a Variety story, which says that he’s already set to start work on a story inspired by Bill Clark, NYPD Blue executive producer and longtime collaborator with Milch. It’s a cop show set in the ‘70s, featuring a Vietnam vet who’s offered a fast track promotion as a detective in the NYPD if he goes undercover in the anti-war movement, and it’s already been put into development at HBO, with the sort of speed that suggests that the network was way ahead of Poniewozik.

I’m the last person who’d find much enthusiasm for another cop show, HBO or not – it’s an overcrowded genre that suffers from an almost inevitable sameness of tone, though I’d like to think the guy who made John From Cincinnati will be able to throw a few spitballs in that very dull game. But since TV programming is a world full of doubles and doppelgangers, it looks like Milch won’t have the ‘70s cop field to himself, what with David E. Kelley’s ABC remake of the BBC hit Life On Mars, which has already cast Colm Meaney in the badass senior cop role performed so memorably by Philip Glenister in the original series.

Milch can only hope that Kelley’s show tanks before he gets his on the air, and that no one comes up with a Vietnam vet show in the interim. Frankly, I’d have preferred to see Milch bring his creativity to a truly moribund genre like the variety show or hick comedies – who wouldn’t watch a Petticoat Junction remake done by the man who created Al Swearingen?

rick.mcginnis@metronews.ca

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