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Taika Waititi, Sterlin Harjo Bring Us a Slice of Indigenous American Life on FX's 'Reservation Dogs'

By James Field | TV | July 19, 2021 |

By James Field | TV | July 19, 2021 |


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Frickin’ Taika Waititi, man. His nickname might as well be Delta, because like the variant, he’s everywhere you look these days. HBO Max and Hulu just started showing his Kiwi production Wellington Paranormal to (my) rave reviews. We’ll see him next month in Fox’s Free Guy, and on September 2 we get a new season of What We Do in the Shadows. He’s still working on Thor: Love and Thunder for next year’s release. For all I know he’s releasing a line of BBQ sauces. Now we get a trailer for FX on Hulu’s newest half-hour comedy, Reservation Dogs. Set on the Muscogee (Creek) reservation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Reservation Dogs tells the tale of 4 Indigenous teens willing to do almost anything to leave their flyover home state for the promised land of California after the death of their fifth member and friend, Daniel.

To be completely honest, I will give any production that employs Zahn McClarnon a fair shake, because that man can act. He was great in Longmire and Fargo, and terrifying in the small but integral role of Charlie in Benson and Moorehead’s Resolution. Newcomers D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, and Lane Factor have a lot to offer as the best thieves in their (small) town. As What We Do in the Shadows proved, FX and Taika Waititi are a killer combination, which makes him the perfect partner to bring Sterlin Harjo’s vision to life. Harjo is a Seminole-Muscogee filmmaker from nearby Holdenville, Oklahoma, who previously produced and directed a number of independent features and documentaries centered around the lives of Indigenous Americans. It’s a subject not often explored by mainstream television, and hopefully Reservation Dogs gives Native life the same sort of exposure Jane the Virgin and Kim’s Convenience, among others, did for other American cultures.

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Reservation Dogs is exclusively on FX on Hulu beginning August 9.

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Header Image Source: Youtube trailer screenshots