Vengeful Binge

The Best Hulu Original Shows Of 2021

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Hulu’s “Reservation Dogs” — from creators Sterlin Harjo and “What We Do in the Shadows” mastermind Taika Waititi —is completely fresh. It’s about a close-knit group of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma, which makes it stand out right away; Native American characters and shows set in sleepy, non-quirky tiny towns are both rarities on the small screen. But “Reservation Dogs” is also a highly relatable sitcom for people from many backgrounds, because it so perfectly and amusingly captures the aimlessness and boredom of being a teenager — life on the cusp of adulthood and feeling ready to leave home, but also not quite sure what to do next.

Bear, Elora, Willie Jack, and Cheese are driven by the need to do something, anything, as well as the collective dream to earn or hustle enough money to take off for the fantasy dreamland of California. Stealing a delivery truck sets a lot of their schemes in motion, while brief but telling flashbacks show how these kids got to the present day without revealing too much about their personal lives (but a lot about their family histories). The humor isn’t laugh out loud, but quiet, deadpan, and situational, except for moments like the one when Bear hallucinates a judgmental warrior figure.

With a wildly positive Rotten Tomatoes score, “Reservation Dogs” is one of the most critically acclaimed shows of 2021. Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone calls it “awfully good, even if its heroes are bad at being bad.”

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