The Red Road Series Premiere Review: Why So Serious?

TV is so good right now that it’s getting harder to distinguish actual achievements in the medium from something that only seems like envelope-pushing drama. The bar has been raised by the likes of HBO, AMC, and FX, and in addition to a certain level of production value, a show must also have a unique voice in order to stand out. Television can look and sound respectable, but that’s basically all TV these days, so there’s got to be something extra to attract modern viewers such as ourselves. Sorry, we've evolved. Otherwise, why not just watch Mixology? Sundance’s second foray into original programming forces a Native American ex-con and a white-man cop into each other’s worlds as part of an illegal cover-up. On paper, The Red Road is a show about family troubles, cultural prejudice, and moral ambiguity in the name of a greater good. And even though it's perfectly watchable, the execution could benefit from a more specific, creative point of view and further portrayal of the modern-day Ramapo Mountain peoples.So the basic set-up is this: In the lands between New York and New Jersey, former Khal Jason Momoa plays Phillip Kopus, the aforementioned ex-con with ties to both the tribal world of the Lenape people and the criminal world. Kopus is tasked with keeping his screw-up "brother" (Longmire’s Zahn McClarnon) in line after the dude commits a murder. Meanwhile, investigating police officer Harold Jensen (New Zealand’s own Martin Henderson) has to deal with an alcoholic wife (Julianne Nicholson) and rebellious teenage daughter Rachel (The Lying Game's Allie Gonino) while also solving crimes. Things get a little murky though, when Rachel refuses to end her relationship with her Native American boyfriend Junior (Kiowa Gordon), sending her mother on a rampage that leaves a Native American boy dead on a rural road. Will Kopus make good on his offer to keep witnesses quiet, or is he up to something more sinister? So goes the central conflict between The Red Road’s main duo.  More at

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