Some popular TV Western series include “Gunsmoke,” “Deadwood” and “Lonesome Dove.” From early classics to newer critical favorites, these TV series all offered their own unique interpretations of the genre.
“Gunsmoke” is the archetypal Western drama that drew the blueprint for successive shows to follow. One of the most popular TV series ever aired, the show was also one of the longest running scripted series in any genre, running for 20 years. Originating as a radio drama in 1951, “Gunsmoke” found even greater success in the burgeoning medium of television, crafting violent tales of morality and justice on the American frontier. The series’ 635-episode run is one of the most formidable in TV history.
David Milch’s short-lived HBO series “Deadwood” reimagined the Western for modern audiences, spinning a deep, complex character drama centered on the eponymous South Dakota boomtown. “Deadwood” takes historical fact and mixes it with fiction, crafting an original narrative that also incorporates real historical figures, including bar and brothel owner Al Swearengen, town sheriff Seth Bullock and Wild Bill Hickok.
Based on the bestselling novel by Larry McMurtry, the 1989 TV miniseries “Lonesome Dove” was largely responsible for bringing the Western back into prominence, with a star-studded cast including Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover and Diane Lane. Duvall and Jones star as two former Texas Rangers who journey to Montana for one final cattle drive.