"Taika Waititi's New "Reservation Dogs" Is A Cool Indigenous Riff On Tarantino"

Reservation Dogs is an upcoming comedy-drama from Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo that focuses on the exploits of four Indigenous teenagers as they try to escape the rural confines of Okmulgee, Oklahoma and someday make it off to California. Here's the official blurb for the show, which premieres August 9 on FX:

"Bear Smallhill" (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. "Elora Danan" (Devery Jacobs) may be 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. Street-smart tough girl "Willie Jack" (Paulina Alexis) is the beating heart of the group. She's always looking out for her crew. Meanwhile, "Cheese" (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.

One year ago, Daniel, the fifth member of the Reservation Dogs, died. Struggling to make sense of the loss, the remaining four blame their boring, small town and its ability to crush the spirit. They decide to honor Daniel by adopting his dream of getting to California as their own. To succeed, they will have to save enough money, outmaneuver the methheads at the junkyard on the edge of town, constantly dodge conspiracy-obsessed Lighthorseman "Big" (Zahn McClarnon) and survive a turf war against a much tougher rival gang, led by the enigmatic "Jackie" (Elva Guerra).

It kind of reminds me of a more heartfelt, coming-of-age version of Scalped, the Native American noir comic book series from Jason Aaron and JM Guera, but with more Indigenous involvement. The cast and production (filmed on location in Oklahoma) are a pretty huge hallmark for Indigenous representation in media.