Native Representation Shines in Peacock’s New Comedy Series Rutherford Falls
Another small town comedy from Mike Schur? Yeah, we're watching this.
With The Good Place wrapped up and Brooklyn Nine-Nine headed into its final season, audiences are facing a shortage of Mike Schur’s feel-good comedy. Luckily, the prolific creator has tapped a stellar team for his latest series, Rutherford Falls. The new series, which will stream on Peacock, is a comedy about two lifelong best friends, Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) and Reagan Wells (newcomer Jana Schmieding), who find themselves at a crossroads – quite literally – when their sleepy town gets an unexpected wakeup call. Rutherford, a descendant of the town’s problematic founder, finds himself in a battle with the town’s Indigenous community over his ancestor’s monument, which is built inconveniently in the middle of the road. At the same time, Wells is struggling to attract visitors to her cultural center which is tucked away in the local tribal casino.
The series cast includes Michael Greyeyes (Fear the Walking Dead), Jesse Leigh (Heathers) and Dustin Milligan (Schitt’s Creek). Rutherford Falls also features a major breakthrough in Indigenous representation in comedy, with Jana Schmieding (Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux) and Michael Greyeyes (Nêhiyaw from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation).
Hey @DEADLINE be part of the solution. The showrunner for this show is Sierra Teller Ornelas a badass female who is Navajo & Mex-American. THAT IS HUGE! So add her name to this headline. She is what makes this show special. https://t.co/FjffWYui4C
— Gloria Calderón Kellett (@everythingloria) March 16, 2021
That inclusivity extends behind the scenes, with five Native writers in the series writers room, making it one of the largest Indigenous writer’s rooms on television. These writers include co-creator and executive producer Sierra Teller Ornelas (Navajo), Bobby Wilson (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Tai Leclaire (Kanien’kehá:ka [Mohawk Nation]/Mi’kmaq), Jana Schmieding (Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux), and Tazbah Chavez (Nüümü [Bishop Paiute Tribe], Diné [Navajo], San Carlos Apache).
The series was created by executive producers Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation, The Good Place), Ed Helms and Sierra Teller Ornelas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Superstore).
There’s a lot to like here: Schur’s sensibility, a talented cast, and a point of view we almost never see in comedy, let alone entertainment in general. Plus, the series is tackling relevant issues that our country is currently facing. Needless to say, we’re tuning in.
Here is the trailer for Rutherford Falls!!! On @peacockTV which is a platform that does exist! @edhelms @janaunplgd @MichaelGreyeyes @DustinWMilligan are going to melt your faces, lovingly, with comedy. pic.twitter.com/8OOYPLtItz
— sierra ornelas (@sierraornelas) March 16, 2021
So proud to be doing this with you Jana!!!! ❤️
Can’t wait for the world to see what we’ve cooked up 👍
— Ed Helms (@edhelms) March 16, 2021
THIS SHOW HAS IT ALL! An amazing Native cast/writers’ room! The perfect Northwestern joke! Created by my role model and friend @sierraornelas! I CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH RUTHERFORD FALLS! https://t.co/hYUahiRD8V
— Ilana Peña (@ilanacubana) March 16, 2021
Rutherford Falls premieres Thursday, April 22 on Peacock.
(featured image: NBC Universal)
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