Are Westerns making a comeback? Check out these new series on Netflix
For decades, Western movies and TV series have been a staple on the menu of entertainment options. Those action-packed historic features use the Wild West as the backdrop for a genre that catches our attention: bandits, good guys, a saloon with a honky-tonk piano, and lots & lots of fights!
Over the past two decades, this entertainment genre has been largely forgotten by TV & movie producers & directors. Those productions have been replaced with movies & shows provoking people’s thoughts & reflections, as well as bringing to light many social issues of our time, like racism, police actions, gun violence, and gender.
But, Westerns are making some sort of comeback, at least on Netflix. The streaming platform has been increasing the number of options for the genre, and a new movie called The Harder They Fall is set to premiere in 2021. With that being said, let’s see what Netflix has to offer us with its new Western series and movies.
The Harder They Fall (2021)
This is maybe the greatest Netflix Western original ever made. With a cast made mostly of black actors, The Harder They Fall has Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) as the main character.
Love is a Western man who rebuilds the gang he led in the past for one very fond mission: seek revenge against those who killed his parents. This quest will set the tone of the story, with lots of scenes of horse riding, train action, bullets everywhere, chains . . . Phew! A lot of stuff for Western fans!
The movie has Jay-Z and Lawrence Bender among its producers, and the cast also features Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, and LaKeith Stansfield. Directed by Jeymes Samuel, The Harder They Fall still doesn’t have a premiere date, but you can check out the official trailer.
In addition to starring in The Harder They Fall, Idris Elba can also be seen in a new Western Netflix movie that premiered this past April: Concrete Cowboy. The show, which premiered on April 2nd, brings in a drama that was inspired by the Greg Neri novel Ghetto Cowboy.
Idris plays Cole, the main character who moves from Detroit to Philadelphia at age fifteen to live with his estranged father, discovering horseback riding right after he arrives.
The feature is clearly a fusion of the classic Western elements and action with a more urban narrative, showing that Western movies are not limited to dusty deserts and ghost towns. The cast also includes Stranger Things’s Caleb McLaughlin, Byron Bowers, Liz Priestley, and Orange is The New Black’s Lorraine Toussaint.
Here’s another example of how Western can influence other genres of movies and blend in very easily. In a rare marriage between Western & Sci-fi, Cowboy Bebop is a new live-action Western series based on the Japanese anime of the same name.
The story centers on a group of bounty hunters that chase down criminals in different galaxies. It’s basically the essence of the Western genre, but going way beyond the Wild West, far away from us. Characters include gangsters, cops, gamblers, saloon people . . . You name it!
The main cast for this new series includes John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, Daniella Pineda, and Alex Hassell. Set to premiere in 2020, the production of Cowboy Bebop suffered major delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and Cho’s knee injury. Shooting only resumed in March 2021, and the series is scheduled to be available this Fall, meaning you can check out the other shows while you wait. Have fun!
What Western movies & series do you like the most? Do you prefer older, classic Westerns, or newer items in the genre? Let us know in the comments.