4 January 2015 | larshevn
A victim of its own ambition
Klondike is one of those series I picked up because it looks fascinating, with a somewhat unorthodox setting. With gold digging as the historical background, you assume that this is what the series will also be about mostly - aside from all the frauds and the harsh climate. Alas, everything seems to be addressed only once throughout the series, because there isn't time to remind the viewer what's so perilous about the environment, and what's at stake. Instead the show aims to be a classical Western story featuring cold weather.
The gold digging itself is also left completely out of the story. While I wouldn't want to watch a 6 hour series about digging gold, it's striking that a 20 page chapter of "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" is more detailed in the process of extracting gold, than a 6 hour series produced by Discovery. At times it's easy to forget that the show is even taking place in Klondike, and not just any saloon in Santa Fe.
Despite a good crew of actors, the characters are one-dimensional and there is little room for any character development. Although some of the characters undergo transitions, there's no development - they simply go from A to B while not giving the viewer any credible reason for their transition. The same goes for the relationships between the characters. Some characters that take up a lot of screen time are even completely redundant, and a waste of the precious time of a 6 episode mini-series. I can think of at least two subplots, without which the show would have lost virtually nothing, while gaining both time and coherence.
"Klondike" bit off more than it could chew. A mini-series of 6 episodes is not equipped to deal with profound questions on the true value of gold, while also dealing with the position of females, the suppression of Native Americans, the presence/absence of hope and God, and so on.
This series could and should have been a lot better.