If you haven’t seen Sundance’s Cleverman, I don’t know what you are doing with your life. Now let me begin by acknowledging that I am predisposed to like this show. It features a multi-ethnic cast, with an aboriginal lead. It weaves aboriginal folklore and culture into the storyline and it’s not a “hood-tastic” look at life. It’s real human drama performed beautifully.
The SJW in me is already prepared to stand up and cheer.
But, putting all of that aside, Cleverman is a great choice for your next binge watching adventure. With two seasons complete and no word yet on the third, I am currently sitting with my fingers crossed hoping that Sundance will pick it up for another season.
Cleverman is to racial and ethnic minorities what The Handmaids Tale is to women. It is a disturbing and yet hopeful look into a possible future that seems, increasingly, not that far away. In it, a race of people called “hairies” who have existed only in folklore are proven to be real and humanity responds in just the way you would expect. Ghettos, passes, IDs, concentration camps, extermination camps, mass incarceration, and massacres. Sound familiar?
Into this hysteria steps a community of indigenous people (Aboriginal peoples) who ally themselves with the “hairies”. They have known about them for thousands of years and have often been on the receiving end of the worst of humanity so they make perfect allies. The story uses three central conflicts to drive the plot. One is a rivalry between brothers, the other the suffering of a family torn apart by hatred, and the third a madman’s quest to find the secret to eternal life…no matter the cost.
This drama deals with everything that I hold dear. It touches on identity, spirituality, and what we owe to our community. It doesn’t flinch at subjects like sexual slavery and genocide. Instead, it handles them bravely and offers hope for a way forward, not just for hairies and human, but for all of us.
If you have a Netflix account be sure to give Cleverman a look-see.