What you may need to know
1. After years of false starts and broken promises, the long-hoped-for return of HBO’s masterful western drama is really real.
2. Deadwood, set in the eponymous frontier town in the late 19th century South Dakota, initially ran for three seasons from 2004-2006. It didn’t find much of an audience at the time but has since been consistently hailed as one of the all-time greats due to its realism, complex characterisation, production value and blending of actual events with fiction.
3. Ever since its rather undignified cancellation, creator David Milch and much of the cast kept a candle lit for its eventual return. That has taken more than a decade, but fans are currently punching the air in ecstasy.
4. A healthy portion of Deadwood’s acclaim is for Ian McShane (top) in the role of saloon owner and local crime boss Al Swearengen, whose penchant for soliloquies and getting his hands dirty for what he believed to be the greater good gave him the air of a dusty Shakespearean king.
5. Beyond that, there are actually too many good things to say about Deadwood, other than there’s plenty of time to catch up between now and the end of May.
Doug’s verdict: Yer darn’ tootin’
Release: May 31 (Sky Atlantic TBA)