Characters

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

This weekend S and I caught the features DVD of HBO’s production of Deadwood, which we’ve been enjoying via Netflix. The conversation between creator and writer David Milch and Kieth Carradine was particularly fresh and insightful: two very smart guys talking about order, history, writing, character, and the creative process.

Milch and Carradine 1) are passionate in their work 2) know what they’re talking about 3) have a sense of humor 4) are sensitive to and seriously smart about a wide range of subjects: Victorian literature, psychology, history, politics, linguistics, religion, and image making. Deadwood’s excellence comes from Milch’s concentration and devotion to developing characters, which you can feel in the experience of the drama, hear in the crack dialogue, and react to as tensions unfold organically.

It was simply nice to see “smart,” textured, and uncontrived for a change. This is a marked difference between the podcasts of the writers of Battlestar Galactica, whose concentration has now become all about slavery to format and character and story incoherence.BG’s first year was tight, sometimes brilliant, and spellbinding. In the second season, the characters forgot who they were and are now experiencing things they should not be doing or thinking.

Character is core, whatever the format, film or hypertext.


3 responses to “Characters”

  1. Josh says:

    Have you checked out Firefly? Kas and I have throughly enjoyed that series (as have countless others). You came to our mind as being someone else who would appreciate the tight story, smart dialogue, and “sometimes dark, sometimes light, but always funny” humour.

    We rented the first disk from Netflix, and intend to just buy the whole (and only) season from Amazon.com (where it’s listed for $19.95 over 50% off!) You can also view the episodes at a reasonable price on Comcast inDemand (if you have that).

  2. Steve says:

    Josh,

    We’re big Firefly fans around here. The film was excellent too, an excellent example of The Journey.

    I didn’t really get into the television broadcasts of the short series and found out later that they had been reordered for some reason. When we got the DVD everything made better sense.

    Glad you’re a fan.

  3. Josh says:

    Yeah I heard about the order thing too. Glad I didn’t see it on TV because the “Serenity” two-part episode was actually broadcast after the train episode.

    Stupid thing is, I was confused an actually watched the train episode first before I read about the order beinig wrong.

    So there’s the warning to anyone reading this and looking to watch this series :-)