Strange Empire, the critically-acclaimed Western series that ran for one season on CBC, is now available on DVD. Created by Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik, Strange Empire combined strong acting with strong writing to explore a number of ideas such as the expansion of settler society in the 19th century North American West, Indigenous rights, race relations, and significantly, gender roles and expectations.
Set in the Alberta-Montana region of 1869 – a period shortly after the US Civil War and the creation of Canada – the show centers upon a group of travelling women that find themselves isolated by the end of the first episode. The three leading female characters are Kat Loving (Cara Gee), a Métis woman from Red River country, Rebecca Blithely (Melissa Farman), a socially-awkward but intelligent girl from the East, and Isabelle Slotter (Tattiawna Jones), the ambitious wife to coal mine & brothel owner John Slotter (Aaron Poole). It is into the community run by the Slotters that Kat and Rebecca arrive following the dark events of the first episode.
Filmed in British Columbia, Strange Empire ran from October 2014 to February 2015 and the complete first season can be purchased via shop.ca at Strange Empire DVD. The 4-disc DVD set, which includes deleted scenes, was released May 12th.
Westernsreboot.com also contacted CBC to learn that the network has the online streaming rights to the show’s episodes for 7 years from the first telecast and that current plans are for CBC to continue to offer that online option. Each episode can be streamed at Strange Empire Online.
For those who purchase the DVD and/or view episodes of the show online, and are looking for further reflections on each installment, this site has reviewed each of the thirteen episodes from the first season. A chronological list is presented at Strange Empire Review Collection with links to individual reviews. As a final note, this writer appreciates the time and help given by Kylie McGregor at CBC as inquiries were made.
Here is one CBC-produced trailer for Strange Empire (2014-2015):
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)