Harley and the Davidsons TV review

Harley and the Davidsons on Discovery Channel

TV mini-series Harley and the Davidsons, about the early days of the famous company, is a top-quality action drama that combines plenty of realistic bike action with superb acting and production values.

It premieres on the Discovery Channel Australia on November 17 starring two Game of Thrones actors.

The three-part, six-hour mini-series has just screened in the US to rave reviews and, after watching the first episode, we agree.

While many Hollywood movies get motorcycles so wrong with unlikely stunts and bad sound effects, this show’s 80 specially built replica motorcycles and racing action are very realistic.

And even the main actor, Michiel Huisman who plays Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones, is a long-time motorcycle rider and did many of the low-level riding stunts.

He plays Walter Davidson who did a lot of the testing and racing of the early bikes.

Harley and the Davidsons on Discovery Channel
Michiel Huisman as Walter Davidson

“I think it certainly helped that I know how to ride motorcycles,” he says.

“But riding those old bikes is also completely the opposite of what you’re used to do. Your ‘clutch’ is actually your front brake. Your actual clutch is by your foot—if there’s a clutch at all. It felt sometimes like I had to forget all I knew.”

The first episode of Harley and the Davidsons deals with how Arthur Davidson (Bug Hall) and Bill Harley (played by Robert Aramayo who is Eddard Stark in the Game of Thrones) made the first prototype and talked Walter into funding their development.

Harley and the Davidsons on Discovery Channel
Bug Hall, Michiel Huisman and Robert Aramayo

Bug says he’s been into motorcycles “my whole life” having owned 10 bikes and having been in 10 motorcycles accidents.

“People who know me know that’s a big part of my persona.”

Harley and the Davidsons on Discovery Channel
Bug Hall as Arthur Davidson

Arthur was the marketing and sales genius who decided to go racing to promote the product and Bill was the engineering genius.

They take their bike to enduro events and the dangerous timber-floored motordrome in the first series and in the second series they move on to flat track racing.

Harley and the Davidsons covers the first 30 years of the iconic company, ending with the Knucklehead Harley.

Discovery Channel prides itself on historical accuracy, even in their historical dramas, and claims to have spent three months researching the project at the Harley Museum in Milwaukee.

Harley and the Davidsons on Discovery Channel
Michiel Huisman as Walter Davidson

They seem to have done a pretty good job, although there are some dramatisations, including plenty of punch-ups and a little romance.

Much of the filming was done in Bucharest, Romania, because it was cheaper than filming in the US.

At this stage a DVD or digital release for Harley and the Davidsons has yet to be confirmed.

One thought on “Harley and the Davidsons TV review

  1. As current owner of two Harley’s and also two Indians, I really enjoyed this mini-series.
    The only complaint that I have is how Indian builder, George Hendee, was portrayed as kind of a pompous jerk. The truth is that Art Davidson and Hendee were not enemies but were close friends who visited each other at their homes and bonded over common interests in motorcycle and other things.
    Also, before each sales season, representatives of both companies would meet for a big meal and discuss each companies new models and discuss what they should charge for each new model. (Would be illegal “price fixing” today!)
    In addition, when Indian got in financial trouble before DuPont bought the company,
    Harley founders even had discussions on how to help Indian financially. And when Indian finally died, there was mourning in Milwaukee.
    All the Indian vs Harley “war” was mainly at the dealer level. And of course on the race track! Again, I really enjoyed this series!

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