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‘Klondike’: 5 Reasons To Tune In To Richard Madden’s Period Drama

Tue, January 21, 2014 11:45am EDT by Shaunna Murphy 4 Comments
Klondike Richard Madden
Courtesy Of Discovery Channel

The last time we saw ‘Game of Thrones’ star Richard Madden [7 MONTHS AGO SPOILER ALERT] he had his head attached to a direwolf, so watching him hunt for gold on the Jan. 20 premiere of The Discovery Channel’s mini-series ‘Klondike’ was a welcome return.

The Discovery Channel aired the first installment of its 3-part mini-series Klondike on Jan. 20, and we’re already hooked on the network’s first ever scripted series. Here are five reasons why you should give the Richard Madden-starrer a solid shot.

5 Reasons To Check Out ‘Klondike’

1. Majestic Scenery. Fan of HBO’s late, great period drama Deadwood? How could you not be? I’m hesitant to compare anything to that majestic jewel of a television program, but Klondike‘s lush scenery and unforgiving frozen terrain makes you feel like you’re the one trying to make it big during the Yukon gold rush, just like Deadwood transported you straight back to that crazy outlaw mining camp. Klondike was filmed over 56 days during a brutal winter in Calgary, so you can almost feel Bill Haskell‘s (Madden) icy pain as he tries to make it to Dawson City.

Richard Madden Interview

2. Richard Madden. Richard didn’t exactly have to carry the weight of Game of Thrones on his shoulders as Robb Stark  — even when he became King in the North, he was never given the sort of meaty, dramatic material he’s given here. Those his accent occasionally slips in Klondike, Richard still makes for a strong leading man. His Bill Haskell begins his journey as a gentleman and a scholar, and as he digs deeper and deeper into the Yukon wilderness, he’s forced to deal with the devastating greed that made men do awful, ungodly things to survive (and thrive) during the gold rush.

3. A-List B-Characters. Sam Shephard and Tim Roth shine as two of the (many) colorful characters Bill meets on his journey. Sam plays the fascinating real-life historical figure Father Judge, a strong-willed but ultimately just priest who tends to the emotional and physical needs of the brave souls navigating the treacherous conditions of Klondike. Tim Roth, meanwhile, is delightfully wicked as the Count — a  campy, would-be land baron who is willing to resort to desperate measures to make it rich.

4. Abbie Cornish. Complex, well-written female characters are often few and far between in period dramas, but the “richest woman in Klondike” Belinda Mulrooney (Cornish) — who is also based on a historical figure — is a delight. She’s a shrewd businesswoman who thrives in the rough, male-dominated town of Dawson City, but she isn’t a cold-hard b–ch like many of the successful women we see portrayed on TV today. She sees something in the morally upright Bill that she likes, and tries to protect his good heart from being ripped apart by the literal and metaphoric wolves of Dawson City.

5. Wolves. Okay, so it’s not like Robb Stark was reunited with his similarly dearly-departed dire wolf Grey Wind, but it’s still nice seeing Richard running with (or, more accurately, away from) the beautiful beasts in the treacherous snow. It almost feels like we’re back at Winterfell!

Klondike airs its second 2-hour installment at 9:00 p.m. on Jan. 21, and finishes its run on Jan. 22, also at 9:00 p.m. on Discovery Channel.

What do you think, HollywoodLifers? Did you tune in to Klondike last night? If not, will you give it a chance?

— Shaunna Murphy

More Richard Madden News:

  1. ‘Game Of Thrones’: Ed Sheeran & More React To Red Wedding Deaths
  2. ‘Game Of Thrones’: Red Wedding Deaths Reduced Cast To Tears On Set
  3. ‘Game Of Thrones’ Recap: A Wild Wedding Ends In Bloodshed