Strange Empire, the new and well-received Western series on CBC television, returns tonight (January 12th) with a new episode following the holiday break. The episode, entitled “The Cage”, is the tenth installment in a thirteen-episode first season. Strange Empire plays Mondays at 9pm (local time). 

Created by Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik, the show is set in the Alberta-Montana region of 1869 and features a strong ensemble cast led by Cara Gee. Gee plays Kat Loving, a Métis woman with an adopted family who has settled (at least for now) in the settlement of Janestown, a female-led community adjacent to the mansion of John Slotter (Aaron Poole). Slotter, along with his wife, Isabelle (Tattiawna Jones), seek to build their fortune by developing a local coal mine, thus supplying an important resource for the railway spur line to the US being built by Slotter’s father, Cornelius Slotter (Duncan Ollerenshaw).   

Cara Gee as Kat Loving / CBC Image

Strange Empire, within its narrative framework, has explored a number of issues, such as Indigenous rights, race relations, gender, capitalism, and workers’ rights. For those new to the series, CBC has been streaming each installment at Strange EmpireThis online viewing opportunity has increased awareness of the show with international audiences. Here is the launch trailer for the series:

For those familiar with Strange Empire, has reviewed each episode to date, beginning with Episode OneIn this writer’s view, this is a very singular show that has done well to dramatically examine issues that both reflect the history of the Canadian West and connect to today.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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