Reservation Dogs, Season 1 (FX)
In the TV-show Reservation Dogs we get to follow four friends living in a reservation in Oklahoma. Their dream is to move to California, and in order to get the money for that they do some small-scale crimes and other hustles in their neighborhood. One day a rivaling gang shows up, not making things any easier for them.
Going in, I thought that this was gonna be a show about the rivalry between these two groups, but I was pretty wrong about that. Sure, that’s a small theme throughout the show, but not at all the main focus. This show is so much more about friendship and family relationships, and life growing up on a reservation.
Considering Taika Waititi is one of the creators and writers, I kind of expected a different type of comedy than what is being served here. That’s not a bad thing though, this show definitely has its funny moments, but it’s almost equally much a drama at many times. And Taika knows how to write more serious stuff as well, as he showed in Jojo Rabbit.
There is a dead friend/brother whose death very much has left his mark on the group of friends we get to follow. All of these four in the main cast also get their own episodes where we get to follow them more deeply on a bit of a side-adventure. I’m using adventure loosely here as it’s everyday things like hunting with your dad, getting your driver’s license or tagging along the reservation cop for a day. It’s low key, but it’s endearing and emotional at times, really funny in between and always a good portrayal of living in a reservation.
You can tell that the other creator, Sterlin Harjo, has a native American background, having grown up in Oklahoma himself. I wouldn’t know for sure, but it feels like a true to real life depiction of what it’s like. I’m sure Taika has provided some insights from his heritage as well and woven them into this story.
It’s well acted and really nicely written. You get to feel for all the main characters and really start to care about them. Marketed as a comedy, you should expect more than that going into this one. I definitely recommend it though, it’s well worth the time spent.