27 January 2017 | jaksun5
A modern and engaging Swiss take on the American western
Joris Frangiere is just out from a stint in jail when the prodigal son returns to his small hometown of Horizonville to the petrol station motel that his father has left to him and his brother Charly, who has been running it for the 5 years that Joris has been inside. Of course that's just where the story starts, so if you can't see the traditional arc of the modern American western by the end of the first episode there will be no doubt that the story will be one that while you maybe haven't heard before, definitely feels familiar.
Fortunately between the Swiss production and location, and the French speaking actors there's an immediate distinction (for western audiences dominated by US programming at least) from the more formulaic American shows of the past that Station Horizon echoes. This should ensure that viewers will be more than intrigued in how the story of this little town turns out. Where in a US production some of the story elements and acting could easily come across as too hammy, Station Horizon is different enough, and takes enough turns through dark and interesting territory, while employing enough unexpected humour that each episode will keep you coming back for the next. Unlike any drama I've seen recently, Station Horizon seems to push some boundaries where it needs to while never feeling gratuitously violent or overly sexualised, which seems to have become a trend for shows of the last few years. The characters are also well developed and very relatable, from the tough and principled to a fault Joris, to his brother Charly who plays a struggling family man that you can't help feel has some runt issues. And while some characters such as the villain Raymond may feel a little more two dimensional, every character is afforded their time to ripen in front of the camera.
So if you are looking for a show that feels enjoyable and familiar, with enough cool factor, but without anything ever being too convenient or neatly packaged then make sure you give this a chance. In the meantime I'll wait and hope that a second season might be on the way. Whether this will happen isn't yet clear to me, although there isn't much information on this show in the English speaking internet, which was in fact what provided me with the motivation to write this review.
SBS in Australia is currently (Jan 2017) showing the entire season on their SBS On Demand catch up TV service, so if you are in Australia (or happy to pretend you are) then make sure you catch this show before it's too late. The only downside is that you may find that season 2 is not around the corner.