The trailer for Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo‘s new FX series, Reservation Dogs, has dropped, and it looks like an absolute blast. The series follows four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma who both commit crimes and fight them. The series will draw from writer and director Harjo’s experiences as an Indigenous Oklahoman to make it as authentic as possible, while still being wickedly funny.
Trying to be Anywhere but Here
The series stars D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, and Lane Factor as the previously mentioned teens as well as Zahn McClarnon (Doctor Sleep). We definitely caught a glimpse of the legendary Wes Studi (Heat, The Last of the Mohicans), but whether or not he’s there in a series-regular capacity or as a cameo is currently unclear.
In the trailer, we see them relaxing on the front lawn of a house eating snacks shortly after a chip truck was apparently stolen. The police officer who questions them (McClarnon) is dubious about their answers, but we later see them selling the stolen snacks to other kids. We also see them beefing with a local gang, though their drive-by weapon of choice is a paintball gun.
The series will follow these four kids, the “Reservation Dogs”, as they steal, rob, and save as much money as they can to get out of Oklahoma and move to their promised land: California. It starts one year after the death of Daniel, the fifth member of their group, and will explore their collective grief and healing all framed by the difficult circumstances of their boring, small town. They will have to outwit junkyard meth users, survive the attacks of the rival gang, and try to make something of themselves all while feeling trapped by their surroundings.
The adventures of hapless warrior Bear (Woon-A-Tai), natural leader Elora (Jacobs), street-smart tough girl Willie Jack (Alexis), and sweet quiet kid Cheese (Factor) sound pretty relatable to anyone who grew up in a rural small town and dreamed of bigger and better things. The trailer is funny and whip-smart, and with Waititi co-writing the pilot, it’s almost guaranteed to give you the giggles.
Waititi’s co-writer on the pilot, Harjo, also directs the first episode. The series was filmed on location in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and is a step forward for Indigenous representation on TV both in front of and behind the camera. (Waititi is of Maori and Ashkenazi Jewish descent and often describes himself as a “Polynesian Jew”.)
“As longtime friends, it was only natural that Taika and I found a project together, and what better than a show that celebrates the complementary storytelling styles of our Indigenous communities — mine in Oklahoma and Taika’s in Aotearoa,” Harjo told Variety while promoting the series. “We’re thrilled by the opportunity to tell the Reservation Dogs’ story with our amazing cast and crew, Garrett Basch, and the whole team at FX.”
Reservation Dogs starts streaming August 9, 2021, exclusively on FX on Hulu.
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