Reservation Dogs (S1 & S2) Series: Loved This Native Comedy

Home » Series Review » Reservation Dogs (S1 & S2) Series: Loved This Native Comedy
Reservation Dogs Featured Image

We loved Reservation Dogs – a Native comedy. Its creators Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi belong to the indigenous native communities of the USA and New Zealand respectively.

In fact, this original and pioneering series has become the first show to feature all the writers and directors from the Indigenous community. In fact, the cast and the production team of this show trace their roots to the indigenous North American communities. No wonder, its script handles a lot of contemporary indigenous issues in a smart manner.

Focus on the meaning of the “Reservation” in the context of the USA

Please allow us to explain the concept of the “Reservation” word being used in the United States of America. In this series, this word means the geographical area populated by the Indigenous Native Americans. We have used the excerpts from the external source to help you understand the meaning of this US concept.

The “reservation” name comes from the belief that (indigenous) tribes were independent sovereigns at the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Early treaties for land also designated parcels which the tribes, as sovereigns–a term used to describe the concept of Indian nations’ right to govern themselves– “reserved” for themselves. Those parcels came to be called “reservations.” The term remained in use even after the federal government began to forcibly relocate tribes. Today, tribes possess tribal sovereignty, even though it is limited by federal and state/local law. Laws on tribal lands vary from the surrounding area. The tribal council, not the local or federal government, generally has jurisdiction over reservations. Different reservations have different systems of government.

Thus a reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are approximately 310 Indian reservations in the United States although there are more than 550 federally recognized tribes. This is because some tribes have more than one reservation, some share reservations, while others have none, often due to a lack of federal recognition.

The US Dakota War of 1862

Synopsis (official summary) of the Reservation Dogs (S1/2021) Series

It is a half-hour comedy that follows the exploits of four Indigenous teenagers (Elora Danan, Bear Smallhill, Cheese and Willie Jack) in rural eastern Oklahoma who steal, rob and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious and faraway land of California. The show’s first-of-its-kind Indigenous creative team invites audiences into a surprisingly familiar and funny world.

Poster of the Reservation Dogs (S1/2021) Series

Reservation Dogs (S1/2021) – poster.

Focus on the members of the Rez Dogs group members

Let us focus on the key members of the so-called Rez Dogs group of 5 youngsters, the following information is as per the details shared by its team.

  • “Elora Danan” (played by Devery Jacobs) is the true leader of the group. But she’s so focused on getting to California, and so oblivious to her own power, that she often can’t see the beauty and goodness in herself and all around her.
  • “Bear Smallhill” (played by D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) is destined to be a warrior and a leader. The only problem is he’s not a good fighter, and the gang doesn’t really consider him the leader. But with the guidance of a questionable spirit guide, he just might get there.
  • Street-smart tough girl “Willie Jack” (played by Paulina Alexis) is the beating heart of the group. She’s always looking out for her crew and friends.
  • Meanwhile, “Cheese” (played by Lane Factor) is the gentle, quiet ride-or-die who is so willing to go along with the group that he never stops to consider what his own dreams might be.

A year ago, Daniel (we only hear about his tales from his family and friends), the fifth member of the Rez Dogs, died. Struggling to make sense of the loss, the remaining four blame their boring, small town and its ability to crush the spirit. So, the four surviving team members of the said group decide to honour Daniel by adopting his dream of getting to California as their own.

Poster of the Reservation Dogs (S2/2022) Series

Reservation Dogs (S2/2022) – poster

Synopsis (official summary) of the Reservation Dogs (S2/2022) Series

As mentioned above, this series is about four Native American teenagers growing up on a reservation in Oklahoma. And, so in the second season, quite a few new developments in the lives of the Rez Dogs take place. Elora and Jackie undertake a road trip. Bear gets a job. With a letter from Daniel, Willie Jack seeks guidance from the past. The Rez Dogs go on a journey for Daniel. Cheese does time. Lastly, let us not forget a heart-touching episode, when the Native village comes together to send Mabel on her journey.

Spoiler-free review of the Reservation Dogs (S1 & S2) Series

Like a breath of fresh air

When we first saw this series during the coronavirus pandemic period, we were bowled over by its simple yet oddly funny show about Native American youngsters. It was unlike any other comedy-drama show that originated in the United States. Like a breath of fresh air, it hits you with tales about life in reservations. It is not surprising that the dreams and aspirations of the Rez kids are at a crossroads again.

The same fact is true for the older generation of the Native American population too.

Raises the issues faced by the indigenous communities

Should they move on and away from their past (and native lands), that is one of the questions. Should they hold onto their unique beliefs, customs, culture, rituals, traditions, and heritage? This show also touches upon the common historical backgrounds, challenges, problems, and dilemmas that the people from indigenous communities face, not only in America but around the world in different nations.

The conclusion

Its unique and fresh storyline is an added bonus. Both the co-creators and the writers have done a tremendous job in this show. Not to forget its immensely talented Native American cast members, who have brought alive its story with their heartfelt and touching acting jobs. This show is a great watch with only a half-an-hour-long episode, a perfect watch.

Please note that we have yet to watch its third season as it is still streaming right now, we shall share its review after watching its finale. 

Ratings of season one of this Native American series

FM’s rating4.15/5
IMDb rating as of the date 8.05/10
Rotten Tomatoes ratings as of the date98% Tomatometer & 89% Audience Score
Critics’ Consensus/Rotten TomatoesAimless afternoons yield absurd delights in this show, a low-key comedy that deftly captures the malaise of youth and Rez life thanks in no small part to its impressive central crew.
FM, IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes ratings – Reservation Dogs (S1/2021) series.

Trailer of the Reservation Dogs (S1/2021) Series

Reservation Dogs (S1/2021) Series – trailer | YouTube.

Ratings of the Reservation Dogs (S2/2022) Series

FM’s rating4.25/5
IMDb rating as of the date8.34/10
Rotten Tomatoes ratings as of the date100% Tomatometer & 91% Audience Score
Critics’ Consensus/Rotten TomatoesThis series has a bittersweet bite in its sophomore season as it mines more difficult dilemmas than before with its spiky sense of humour, making for a piquant portrait of a community and a place.
FM, IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes ratings – Reservation Dogs (S2/2022) series

Trailer of the Reservation Dogs (S2/2022) Series

Reservation Dogs (S2/2022) Series – trailer | YouTube.

Key details about this Native American series

GenreComedy, Drama
LanguageEnglish (US)
ReleasedAugust 2021
Seasons Three
EpisodesSeason One (1) – Eight (8) Episodes – August/September 2021
Season Two (2) – Ten (10) Episodes – August/September 2022
Season Three (3) – Six (6) Episodes – August 2023 (Its episodes have started airing this month)
CreatorsSterlin Harjo & Taika Waititi
CastD’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Lane Factor, Paulina Alexis, Elva Guerra, Zahn McClarnon, Sarah Podemski, Dallas Goldtooth, Jana Schmieding, etc.
AwardsPeabody Awards – 2022 Winner – Entertainment
Golden Globe, USA – 2022 Nominee – Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Critics Choice Award – 2022 Nominee – Best Comedy Series
Peabody Awards – 2023 Nominee – Entertainment
Network Hulu
About – Reservation Dogs (S1 & S2) series.

Its actors talk about Rez Kids, Native humour & other stuff

The three lead cast members of this show attended a talk show to discuss their auditioning, playing characters that are similar to themselves and sharing Native humour.

It is a fun conversation, indeed.

Cast of Reservation Dogs | Youtube.

Upcoming Final Season of this drama series is going to be aired in August-Sptember 2023.

Poster of the Reservation Dogs (S3/2023) Series

Reservation Dogs (S3/2023) series – poster.

Synopsis (official summary) of the Reservation Dogs (S3/2023) Series

In this final season, the Rez Dogs find themselves stranded in Cali and have to figure out their way back home. Season three is full of road trips, bathroom wisdom, unexpected fathers, boarding schools, Bigfoot, rumours, revenge and healing.

Teaser of the Reservation Dogs (S3/2023) Series

Reservation Dogs (S3/2023) series – teaser | YouTube.
FM article:- Reservation Dogs (S3/2023): Classy Native American Show Ends On A High Note

If you like the Native American series, then perhaps you can check out our article about season one of the Dark Winds show on our Focus Magazine.

Featured & Other Images: Reservation Dogs | Hulu & FX.

Discover more from Focus Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top