The idea behind Frontier was a good one: a six-episode show about colonial America starring Jason Mamoa. The only problem is, it’s just not that good and used its marketing as a lie to get people to watch it…
Frontier explores the fur trade of Colonial North America, a subject that seems fresh enough on the surface. It’s interesting to learn about this rarely-explored aspect of American history, and at first, Frontier feels like a refreshing break from the endless attention given to the Civil War. However, the problem is that the interesting part doesn’t go much further than this. The BBC took a similar approach with Taboo. Tom Hardy was the clear centre of Taboo, and his unstable, evil characteristics were interestingly explored. Jason Momoa’s equivalent character in Frontier, however, was left comparatively undeveloped. Where Taboo perfected its setting and character, Frontier fell disappointingly flat.
For those who were drawn to the show by the casting of Jason Momoa, it’s important to highlight that he was exploited as a marketing device for the show, despite the fact that he isn’t anywhere near the protagonist. Now don’t get me wrong, his character is as awesome as you’d expect, emanating his expert air of fearfulness. However, Netflix placed him at the centre of the show’s marketing, despite the fact that he’s hardly seen. In the first few episodes he appears in just one or two scenes alone. It is clear that Netflix wanted to capitalise on Momoa’s success in Game of Thrones to mislead its viewers.
So, has Netflix done it again? Have they taken a golden show and made it their own? Afraid not. The production value is there, it has strong performances, but the interest never really extended further than the concept. It has everything except heart. I would recommend giving it a go, there are only six episodes after all, but don’t go out of your way for this one.