Frontier — Season 1 — A watcher’s take

As a friend of mine said to me recently, Frontier is one of the “gems” of shows produced under the Netflix brand. The show chronicles the trade war between various powers of the fur trade in North America. The show is well cast, although the level of “F-bomb” use so often, in the early eighteenth century, is questionable. It seems the show’s writing takes a plunge into the Sopranos from time to time.

The acting is done well by the lead cast, but there are some areas where it could be better, in terms of character development. Declan Harp is played very well by Jason Momoa, but he is limited by the script. In the beginning his character seems to be a protagonist bent on righteousness, and liberation, from the clutches of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC).  As the story unfolds Harp sinks into blood lust, with one guiding thought; to maim and kill Lord Benton, the corrupt HBC leader, who had brutally murdered his family.  Perhaps this is what the writers had in mind.  To show Declan being consumed by hate and revenge.  It will be interesting to see what character developments are coming in the next season.

The least exciting characters seems to be Clenna Dolan, although the acting done by Lyla Porter is not lacking, she is severely limited by her character, and I am looking forward to seeing the Clenna Dolan character eliminated from the next season. It is understandable that Clenna offers the conflict in the Michael Smith character to solidify his dedication to Harp; however, that part of the story has run its course and prolonging it could damage the entire series. The same can be said for the Michael Smyth character played by Landon Liboiron. At some point in the story Smyth needs to morph into a man, shedding his adolescent aura. The series may rely on it.

The main antagonist is played masterfully by Alun Armstrong. His character radiates hate and ruthlessness, and Armstrong plays the character with all his talent. Zoe Boyle as Grace Emberly is the best character on the show. You feel she has to be internally conflicted by her personal ambitions and her love for Harp. Her range acting is amazing, and it’s the best of the entire cast.

The set design and costumes are masterful, although probably historically inaccurate in very few cases, but that is being picky. The low light shots are vivid and without blackouts, which are one of my biggest disappointments when viewing night scenes.

I am looking forward to watching the story unfold in the new season.