The Real Reason Why Deadwood Was Canceled After 3 Seasons

The Real Reason Why Deadwood Was Canceled After 3 Seasons
Image credit: HBO

It was sad to say goodbye to the legends.

When a series gets canceled, there are usually more reasons than one behind the decision. Poor ratings, big budgets, beefs between the cast and showrunners. All these things can lead to a decision to end the show and leave the fans without something they loved.

Still, every cancellation comes as a surprise, especially when the series was highly acclaimed both by the viewers and the critics. So after one of the best western shows of the 2000’s created by HBO was canceled after season 3, there was a lot of speculation about why such a decision was made.

What Is Deadwood About?

The series premiered on the platform in 2004 and was created by veteran TV writer David Milch. Deadwood is the name of the town in South Dakota that is choking on corruption and crime after the unfortunate Custer massacre.

The two male leads are bitter ex-lawman Wild Bill Hickok and Seth Bullock, a man hoping for a fresh start. They soon find themselves rooting for completely different sides with Al Swearengen,the incipient boss of Deadwood, adding so much unnecessary drama to each other's lives.

Deadwood Ratings Were A-Okay

The Real Reason Why Deadwood Was Canceled After 3 Seasons - image 1

The season had extraordinary ratings, and the streak continued until season 3 arrived on HBO. However, seasons 1 and 2 turned out to be more successful than the third one. But even that wasn’t the reason for cancellation.

Initially, HBO agreed to Milch’s 4-season plan for the series, but later revealed that they wanted to make the final season shorter: 6-8 episodes instead of 12. But the creators thought that was a terrible idea, because that would have drastically changed the course of the story in season 4.

But that was not what Milch wanted for his show, and he was so offended that he said he would rather not have season 4 at all. Another very likely reason for the cancellation was the money the company was spending on the show: it was just too much.

“Too expensive, the sets were very expensive, raising actor salaries and other opportunities and then there’s Milch who is a stone cold genius but was notorious for lying on the floor of his trailer [he has a bad back] dictating new dialogue to the Writer’s Assistants to produce new pages of THAT dialogue on the day of shooting and then handing it to actors,” Redditor grendel001 said.

Deadwood is available to stream now on Hulu, Paramount Plus and Prime Video.