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Frontier

TV review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Frontier TV Poster Image
Bloody, predictable historical drama about fur trade wars.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The Canadian frontier at the time of the fur trade wars was a greedy, dog-eat-dog world with little moral code or positive human interaction, even among supposed allies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A young man accepts a hero's journey to save his life and the life of his love. He stands up for a cook's servant boy who was forced by the cook to steal.

Violence

Throat slitting, stabbings, discussions about disemboweling, finger removal, the cutting off of genitals and other body parts. Violence and suggested violence against powerless women ("They're going to eat her alive in there", says about a woman being held in prison). One woman is choked nearly to death until another woman pokes a knife in the back of the man choking her.

Sex

Sexual violence against powerless women suggested multiple times in words and physical gestures. Two female characters portrayed as property of Lord Benton, the English leader of the powerful Hudson's Bay Co., are shown kept in his room. One scene shows the two women kissing each other. A priest suggestively kisses the hand of a barmaid and suggests that he can grant her salvation.

Language

"Ass," "hell," "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A priest is portrayed as the town drunk. He trades information with the barmaid for alcohol. He and Michael Smyth get drunk, Smyth wanders off to pass out, no one can find him. The governor gets drunk and harasses a barmaid.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Frontier is a historical drama about the Canadian fur trade turf wars in the 1700s. Fictional renegade trader Declan Harp, a half-Irish, half-Native American, attempts to disrupt the English domination of the fur trade with brutal, submit-to-me-or-suffer tactics. But the English-ruling Hudson's Bay Co. executives aren't going away without a fight and have their own forms of brutality. Viewers see all sides' wicked ways in gory detail: Expect throat slitting, stabbings, discussions about disemboweling, finger removal, and the cutting off of genitals and other body parts. Although it's an attempt to make a lesser-known piece of history interesting, teens will probably be bored, and it's not really appropriate for them anyway.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRon T. May 18, 2018
Adult Written byEff GP October 3, 2018

That guy GP

First of do not listen to any reviews GP writes. He hates gays, look at his reviews. There is nothing immoral about homosexuality. But back to the topic at h... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byelijah batz November 30, 2017

Check it out.

This season of Frontier is definitely a step up from the last. The characters are more likable this time around especially Michael. It steps away from the reve... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set in the 1700s Canadian wilderness, FRONTIER begins with two scenes of warring factions killing (or talking about killing) rivals in the fur trade. In a parallel storyline, three impoverished bandits in London prepare to rob an English Hudson's Bay Co. ship headed to the fur-trading lands. They're discovered, one of the three is killed, the other (a girl) is imprisoned, and the third, Michael Smyth (the girl's love interest), hides and becomes an accidental stowaway. Lord Benton, a bigwig in the Hudson's Bay Co., compels Smyth to find his nemesis, Declan Harp, or endanger himself and his love back in England. Smyth runs into trouble at every turn. Whom can he trust?

Is it any good?

This series' detailed talk about torture and killing adds nothing to the drama but audio gore to intensify the visual violence. While the natural setting where the fur trade took place in Canada is incredibly beautiful, the rest of Frontier is either brutally boring or just plain brutal.

This series' first episode begins with a wilderness fireside throat-slitting and an English lunchtime chat about dismembering enemies. From there, it gets more violent. Frontier follows the standard formula of many dramas set in the days of New World exploration and Wild West pioneering: Two sides fight for power. Unsuspecting underling gets caught up in the battles of the powerful. Underling, motivated by his love of a girl who's held captive, takes an impossible hero's journey. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how turf wars throughout history were brutal, even outside of officially declared war. In what ways was the pro-fur land depicted in Frontier similar to today’s conflicts around the world? How was it different?

  • Discuss the roles of the female characters on Frontier. How did Grace Emberly get her power in this male-dominated time and place? What role did the Native American woman play in Declan's gang? How were other women depicted?

  • Talk about Michael Smyth's predicament. Would you have made the same choices he's made, for survival or for loyalty?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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