If you’ve seen any of Taika Waititi’s films, then you can have an idea of what to expect when going into this show. It’s unique, infused with clever comedy, and has a child-like sense of adventure. That is largely helped by its cast, who all have really great chemistry and are genuine in their approach to their characters. It is also largely due to filmmaker Sterlin Harjo who co-created, wrote, and directed. This feels like something that we haven’t seen before, with elements of other great visionaries such as Quentin Tarantino.
We follow four Native teens living in Oklahoma, directly after the death of who we learn was the fifth member of their group. While we are told that the town is what killed him, we never learn exactly what that is. We instead see the daily struggles of our characters, primarily through the eyes of Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai). His close relationship with his mother (Sarah Podemski), as well as the insecurities that stem from the lack of a supportive father figure, is what gives the show a sense of realism. It justifies why they all long for escape, the catalyst for our story being that they all want to leave the reservation for California.
Even though I felt that the show took a few episodes to really get going, I did feel more of a connection to these characters and this world as we got more into the reservation itself. The supporting characters such as Sheriff Big (Zahn McClarnon) gave the show a much-needed sense of wisdom and comedic relief, especially for our characters when we see them at their worst. It also provided for some very interesting backstory. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing everyone return for another season. This show is only progressively getting better and has the opportunity to continue to do so when it returns in 2022 for Season 2.
Season 1 Review: 8.0/10.00
“Reservation Dogs” was renewed on September 2nd, 2021. No release date has been confirmed yet but will premiere sometime in Fall 2022 via FX on Hulu.