The Final Season of BLACKSTONE
Blackstone is one of those series you may have missed or dismissed. It faces challenges getting audience attention: Canadian, airs on APTN, and set on a First Nations reserve. Blackstone turns its camera on a community and shows it, warts and all. There are no “noble but tragic Indians” here — just the tragedy.
Blackstone could be any rural town in Canada, laden down with high-employment and its associated poverty problems. If you grew up, or even just spent time, in outport Newfoundland, a mining town after the company left, or any other similar location, Blackstone is going to have a familiar feel. As will the characters, from the down-and-outs to the where’re-they-getting-all-that-money? Nearly every aspect of Blackstone is familiar like that. Because Blackstone is not about Aboriginal people. It’s about people. Human beings in desperate, often tragic, but real, life.
Blackstone is unabashedly First Nations, don’t misunderstand me. And you will learn about the issues, same as with those other shows, because Blackstone doesn’t shy away from them either. It tears off the bandages, picks off the scab, and shows you the wound. You see the despair behind the substance abuse, and the results of it. You learn enough about residential schools to see how their impact is still being felt, how the program destroyed lives and communities. You get some history of land claims and how the government treats First Nations. There’s water problems, housing issues, government audits, conniving oil companies. You’ll learn some Cree, even. Blackstone doesn’t lecture though. It neither excuses nor condemns, it simply presents. It gives you just enough of a look at the reality of reserve-life to send you googling for more détails.
Above all, Blackstone is simply fantastic television: top notch ensemble acting, excellent direction, and riveting storylines. It’s gritty and gripping. Blackstone deserves a place alongside all those specialty channel dramas: The Sopranos, Deadwood, The Wire, and The Killing. It is not just good Canadian television — it is excellent TV period. Unfortunately, it was announced on Monday that this will be the fifth and final season for Blackstone although the door is still open for perhaps a movie, or maybe something else. The new season starts on Nov. 3, which means you have plenty of time to watch the first four seasons. And the great news? You can see them all free online at APTN.
Excerpts from the article by Jeff Rose-Martland | HUFFINGTON POST