David Milch

April 26–27, 2010

2010 Fellows seminar notes

  • Reading: Streaming video, MP3 audio
  • Discussion: Streaming video, MP3 audio
    1. the opening scene of Ep. 10 of John from Cinncinatti and Dylan's "series of dreams" (11:11)
    2. coming together and the misconception of separateness (4:11)
    3. magnetism among people, the unity of form/content, and readying the spirit for the miracle (7:24)
    4. the scene of Hickok's burial, Reverend Smith's insistence on community, and Bullock's fear of passion (from Deadwood) (7:06)
    5. co-depandance and the public/private drama (7:04)
    6. psychopathology and the complicated relationship between parents and children (5:13)
    7. the trouble with generalizing about the medium of television, organizing behavior around fear, and the capacity of life to continuously surprise (11:41)
    8. violence and storytelling as pastoral rather than curative (4:57)
    9. mentorship and enmeshment in relation to working for television (3:56)
    10. the western genre (3:12)
    11. poetics of uncertainty (4:27)

    Complete Recording (1:14:05)


    David Milch Screenwriter and producer David Milch is known for complex, rich characters and drama that is at once beautiful, profane, complex and sublime; modern and Elizabethan; low and high; comic and tragic. Mr. Milch is the creator (and, often, the main writer) of the television series NYPD Blue, Deadwood, and John From Cincinnati and has worked as executive producer on those shows and others. His joining the writing team at Hill Street Blues (in season 3) many credit as the turning point in that long-running drama.

    He is currently developing Last of the Ninth, a drama set in the New York Police Department during the 1970s, with collaborator and friend Bill Clark.

    Mr. Milch won the "Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series" Emmy in 1983 for Hill Street Blues and in 1995, 1997 and 1998 for NYPD Blue, among many nominations. He has also won three Humanitas Prizes and two Edgar Allan Poe Awards, which honor mystery writers of all kinds. In 1994, Mr. Milch was named Television Producer of the Year by the Producers Guild of America and in 1999 he was the recipient of the Laurel Award from the Writers Guild of America for Television Writing Achievement. A star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame was dedicated to Mr. Milch in 2006.

    Before making his way to Hollywood, Mr. Milch attended Yale and earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. Mr. Milch's fiction and poetry have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and The Southern Review. There is no doubt that Mr. Milch's writerly strength and wild imagination have been the keys to his and his shows' success. The Washington Post has written that in its "beautifully ugly glory," Deadwood is, "magnificently gritty in appearance and poetically obscene in language."