Jason Aaron’s “Scalped” would be original in any medium. Its a western set on the Prairie Rose Reservation, where the impoverished Oglala Lakota people fight crime, drugs and lure of hope in the form of a new casino. Its a dark, realistic journey that is expertly written.
At the center of it is protagonist Dashiell Bad Horse, a member of the local police and FBI double agent whose return to the reservation brings back both his history with his activist mother and an equally painful future with flawed lover Carol. But the highlight of the series is villain Lincoln Red Crow. Red Crow is a monster but a familiar one, the disadvantaged underdog who has to fight his way through a hard life, and in the process becomes worse than the things that tormented him.
Scalped is gritty, violent and somehow original, although it boggles the mind that no one ever thought about setting a drama in a reservation. There is a long list of unsavory characters around, rendered dynamically by R. M. Guera. In a television environment with Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy, this could easily be the next big thing.