Frontier is a Jason Momoa lead tale about the early colonial days in the savage New World. What immediately lends itself to being a cheap, B quality series, stands out in the ways that it presents story and violence. While it absolutely has it’s problems, a charismatic Momoa and a fantastic supporting cast help to place the story at the forefront, and help you to keep fascination all the way through. Phenomenal costuming and a stunning backdrop also lend to this tale of revenge, industry, and love in the New World.
Our story begins with a man named Declan Harp. A half-Native, half-Irish man who has an axe to grind with the British lord Benton who heads up the HBC. Benton is one of the most powerful men in all of England, and Harp seeks to do whatever he can to derail Benton’s plans to further his own vendetta. At the same time, we also get eyes on Michael Smith. Michael is an Irish immigrant living in Britain with his Clara and her brother (whose name I literally cannot remember whatsoever). The two are stealing scraps to survive, and Michael is accidentally shipped off to the new world in a robbery gone wrong.
Where the show excels is in ts characters. When Harp is on screen, Momoa plays him excellently. There is almost no possible way to upstage him in this show because of how fierce, menacing, and charismatic he plays his role. On the other hand, the unfortunate part is that because of how huge Momoa is, other actors easily feel dwarfed around him. When their acting is as stiff as a board, the unfortunate truth comes out. There is no way to forget the bad performances in this story, because they are surrounded by so many good ones. Moments of drama are often ruined by horrible bouts of stiff acting, and poor line delivery, reminiscent of Coppola’s daughter in Godfather III.
Beyond the acting, the costuming and set pieces are phenomenal. People’s teeth are yellowed to fit the period, and the costuming is exact to a T. Scenes are bloody, brutal, and the violence feels warranted, but never over the top. Women are used as extremely strong characters throughout the series, and consistently serve as the backbone of the show. Used as more than just sex objects or sex fetishes of the time, the female characters have substance and strength, they’re just as useful, if not more useful than the men in the majority of situations.
I also have to pride the show on how few times the characters annoyed me or made me feel as though I was watching something that would make me want to…you know, rip my eyes out. However, I will say that the show does suffer from character fatigue at certain points, and it’s a bit hard to keep track of so many of the characters at once. Once you get a handle on it though, the individual story lines are quite intriguing, and they use Harp so sparingly that it’s definitely a treat when you get to see him on screen. I must also commend Lord Benton for being so menacing and sinister throughout.
All in all, Frontier is a great binge watch to tide you over while you wait for your favorite shows to return. While being a massively stylized piece, if you can manage to stomach the bits of bad acting, there’s a ton of depth to discover here, and you can absolutely sink your teeth into future seasons to come. Ending on a crazy cliffhanger, the next season is sure to top the first, hopefully with a bit more production.