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DirecTV Makes Two More Brilliant TV Acquisitions: "Oz" and "Deadwood"
April 22, 2009  | By David Bianculli
 
krstenbell-deadwoodjpg.jpgSince most broadcast networks seem to be abandoning quality, the field is wide open for a competing network to embrace it. Satellite's DirecTV is doing just that, and has just added two more champion thoroughbreds to its stable: the first off-HBO telecasts of Tom Fontana's Oz and David Milch's Deadwood.

Starting May 31, DirecTV 101 Network -- which already has kept NBC's Friday Night Lights alive and is about to present never-before-seen episodes of CBS's Smith and ABC's Eyes -- announced Wednesday it is presenting unedited, uninterrupted episodes of Oz and Deadwood as a weekly double feature. In HD. From start to finish.

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Oz, the prison drama that taught the TV industry what the freedom of cable could mean when applied to a drama series by a visionary and maverick writer-producer, has never been repeated elsewhere since its original, pre-Sopranos HBO run. Deadwood is in the midst of a rerun cycle on one of HBO's subsidiary networks, but this is the first time it, too, will be offered to non-HBO subscribers.

Both series are fabulous. Deadwood, that brutal Shakepearean Western, was killed one off or two years too early by HBO, while Oz may have gone on one year too late -- but both series are unforgettable, unique examples of quality TV. There has been no other series quite like Oz, or quite like Deadwood, before or since. And reruns are fun, because since-familiar faces keep popping up, like Kristen Bell on Deadwood, just before she starred in Veronica Mars.

Presenting them both, and as a package, is DirecTV's way of saying it's very, very serious about establishing itself as television's premier Quality TV franchise.

The only down side is that Oz and Deadwood are being shown beginning Sunday nights at 9 ET, which pits these classic episodes against fresh product by both HBO and Showtime. Deadwood and Oz may have drawn more weekly viewers on a different, slower night -- Friday or Saturday, perhaps -- but with availability at other times during the week, and on DirecTV On Demand, real-time time slots don't matter as much as they once did.

But to DirecTV, at least, quality does. Hooray for our side.

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1 Comment

 

Adam Bomb 1701 said:

The "HBO Zone" channel was re-running "Oz" every weeknIght at 11 for a long time. When the last episode was run, it would give the series a short breather, then start all over again. While it was in production (HBO did a scanty eight episodes a year) it was the best show on TV. If you newbies have a chance to see it - DON'T MISS IT!

Comment posted on April 23, 2009 4:11 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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