1923 season 1 review: Engaging, intelligent, and impressive

1923 follows the story of the Dutton family after the events of 1883. When their land is threatened, the Duttons have to fight to protect their family and their legacy. All episodes are now streaming on Paramount+.

Story

In 1923, Montana starts facing the effects of droughts, locust attacks, and the early stages of the Great Depression. There are men, including sheepherders and businessmen, who seek a piece of Jacob Dutton’s land.

The ensuing struggle results in losses that the family cannot recover from without the help of Jacob’s nephew, Spencer, who fought in World War I and has not returned home since then. 

Spencer is now a hunter in Africa, trying to run from the haunting memories of the war. He meets a British girl named Alexandra, who then joins him on his adventures.

Teonna, a Native American girl, is forced to stay at a boarding school run by the church. The school prohibits her and other Native American children from speaking in their native language or following their customs. 

The school also tries to ingrain in them a new set of teachings, which causes Teonna to rebel and subsequently get punished. Will Teonna ever escape or will the school stifle her rebellion forever? 

Performances

Helen Mirren as Cara is, without a doubt, the star of the show. Mirren’s brilliant performance makes Cara’s character stand out time and time again. The matriarch of the Dutton family is the strength and the pillar of the family, and Mirren convinces the audience about the same.

Harrison Ford, as Jacob, also gives a great performance in the show. The actor depicts Jacob’s wisdom and the experience that he has with finesse. He truly seems to be a rancher dedicated to his land and to his family.

Brandon Sklenar plays the part of Spencer, a hunter who is haunted by his memories of the war. Sklenar’s performance is not always flawless and, at times, lacks depth, but it still works.

Julia Schlaepfer as Alexandra also gives an adequate performance, but there are times when she gives such a powerful performance that it makes her stand out.

Aminah Nieves does justice to Teonna. The actor lays her emotions bare for the audience to see; her fear, anger, frustration, and pain move the audience.

Positives

The show’s depiction of colonization is praiseworthy. By exposing the white man’s burden for what it is, the show makes the audience see the injustice done to the colonized. 

The atrocities of the colonizers are brutal and raw in a way that invokes fear and anger and raises the question of who are the real savages. The audience gets to see the disruption of the life, culture, and societies of the colonized in the name of God and civilization. 

1923 is a year close to the time when women gained suffrage in the US. The show talks about issues like women’s purpose in life and their ability to lead. It also depicts the anxiety of women that comes with helplessly waiting when men get involved in conflicts.

The show immaculately balances emotions and thrill. The action scenes will keep the audience on the edge of their seats and the emotional scenes are touching.

The show performs well when it comes to visuals as well. The audience will get engrossed in Spencer’s adventures which are full of beautiful sceneries riddled with a sense of danger.

The characters in the show have depth. They have been written in a way that the audience will understand their motives and their actions. Furthermore, the show often depicts that in a war of survival, the heroes and villains are not much different. 

Negatives

There is not much that the audience will dislike about this show. At times, the plot, especially when it comes to Spencer’s story, develops at a slow pace. The audience might not like the slow pace when there is a sense of urgency that drives the rest of the plot.

Verdict

1923 is a drama that comes packed with great performances and writing and keeps the viewers invested throughout the eight episodes. It should definitely be on your watchlist if you are a fan of Western dramas. 

1923 season 1
1923 season 1 review: Engaging, intelligent, and impressive 1

Director: Ben Richardson, Guy Ferland

Date Created: 2023-02-27 13:15

Editor's Rating:
4.5

Also Read: 1923 season 1 finale recap, review & ending explained

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