Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Could be better...
on 26 February 2014
The production values on HOW are about as good as one could realistically hope for a Western TV series. There are few obvious CGI moments here and there, and a large battle naturally occurs mostly offscreen and at night, but that is to be expected with TV budget constraints. The landscapes and cinematography are excellent and the series is often visually stunning.
The cast are mostly competent but I was disappointed in the direction the writers took some of the more interesting characters. An example would be 'The Swede', undoubtedly my favourite character from the first season; I was saddened by his transformation from devious schemer to outright lunatic. In my view this made him a less compelling antagonist.
There will be slight spoilers from here on so those wishing to avoid best stop reading here.
Unfortunately the writing in HOW is the root of the show's problems. Killing a seemingly integral character just as they were setting up a potentially interesting storyline for them in the 3rd season seems a very questionable move to me. If that castmember simply wanted to leave the show then I think the writers are still at fault for the manner in which they handled the death, as ultimately it serves very little purpose. There are also quite a few dull patches along the ride, particularly those involving Ruth, who just seems to exist for a +1 female character in a very male dominated show.
The reality is that I don't think the storylines are compelling enough to recommend this show to anyone who is not already a fan of the western genre (I include the first season here). Even I am somewhat hesitant to purchase s3 when it is released.