In many ways, “Outer Banks” may feel like it is going by a checklist as it introduces you to its world and characters, but there is hope that may not be the case.
|Created By||Jonas Pate, Josh Pate, Shannon Burke|
|Directed By||Jonas Pate|
|Written By||Jonas Pate, Josh Pate, Shannon Burke|
|Genre(s)||Crime, Drama, Mystery, Young Adult|
|Introduced This Episode|
|John B||Chase Stokes|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
In the Outer Banks, there are two groups who rule: The rich, known as the Kooks, and those who live on the south side, knows as the Pogues. The two sides have a contentious relationship yet one needs the other. However, only for one of our characters, JJ, is the caste system a big deal. Probably since, for multiple generations, JJ’s family hasn’t had social mobility and because of it, they have been smugglers, amongst other illegal or risky business ventures.
But, when it comes to JJ’s friends, there are varying degrees of potential. Kiara, aka Kie, for example, she is actually a Kook, but one who hangs with the Pogues. Why? Well, it is hard to say. Though considering her family’s wealth comes from “The Wreck,” a local eatery, it could be due to seeing the Kooks at their worse so while noted as a Kook, it seems she is actually stuck in the middle between the two sides.
Leading us to Pope. He is supposed to be the smart one of the group, which is noted through him in the running for a special merit scholarship. He, like JJ, is a Pogues, but like Kiara, there is this vibe he isn’t the lowest of the low, like JJ. For between his intelligence and his father’s reputation, Pope seems like someone who could rise into the ranks of the Kooks, if he plays his cards right.
Thus leaving John B – the lead character. He is someone who, formerly, was raised by his dad, until he disappeared, was left by his mom when he was three, and is now dodging DCS (Department of Child Services) since his uncle, Uncle T, is supposed to be minding him, but he is in a completely different state. Which, unfortunately, the school is sure of, as are the cops, thus John B finds himself threatened with possibly being put in foster care.
Luckily though, most notable government agencies are on the mainland and thanks to Hurricane Agatha, their scheduled home visit is put off. However, as John B and his friends head out the next day for some fish, they come across a sunk boat, a key to a motel room, cash and a gun, and so begins a mystery. One which leads them to find out there are some corrupt cops in the town, people more than willing to kill some kids and for John B, that his dad may still be alive.
It’s More Interesting Than The Trailer Made It Seem
While the show offers classism, a mystery, and seemingly forbidden romance, if you watched the trailer, it would seem all of this could have been packed into an hour and a half movie. Especially since it didn’t really present anything special that we haven’t seen before. However, I will admit there is some glimmer of hope here.
Now, granted, a glimmer of hope isn’t a shining beacon or lighthouse, so I won’t pretend this CW-esque show, but with a pretty good budget, is going to be the next big thing. I will say though, the way it has crafted its characters, outside the Kooks, does make you want to continue on. For as much as everyone is modelesque and the only people who don’t seem to have flat stomachs are adults, that’s Hollywood for you.
But, rather than eye candy, it seems they want these kids to have distinct personalities and something to say. Well, at least John B and JJ. As for the others? Well, we’ll talk about them below.
The World Building
One of the things you have to appreciate is everyone isn’t necessarily from John B’s perspective. People have lives outside of him, there is a world he is only privy to, and getting to see it gives room for this show to expand. Now, whether viewers will like the various topics and people introduced? That’s another story.
On The Fence
The Girls Of The Show
Criticizing female characters is difficult when the show is male-focused. This is primarily due to not knowing if they will evolve beyond being potential love interest. Which for the only two who were spoken of in length, Kiara and Sarah, a Kook, it’ll take a few episodes to know how we should see them?
Taking note of Kiara first, she is the girl everyone in her friend group likes, but only JJ has tried to approach – and got rejected. So it makes her this weird forbidden fruit and while there is a counterbalance in place, if you take note of her environmentalism, our pessimism almost sees this as a shield to protect Kiara from being criticized. Yet, considering how the camera takes note of her, compared to her modelesque male friends, it’s hard to say whether she is meant to challenge your perceptions or is living up to them with a spin.
And then when we talk about Sarah, Kiara’s former friend, and daughter to John B’s boss, considering she is noted as a princess and she too feels rather meekly developed, it makes it hard to speak negatively about her. For, again, there is the need to question if wondering why more wasn’t done is a honest thing to ask or is it that, when it comes to girls who look like her and Kiara, expectations are so low for them that they are forced into a uphill battle?
Which is all to say, we are hoping that, after this introduction, Kiara and Sarah become more than the boys or men they are associated with. That we get to see Kiara with her family, invest in her environmentalism, and we get to see how Sarah found herself in love with local wildlife. Heck, maybe even why, from 9th to 10th grade, these two went from friends to enemies. If not, at the very least, Kiara went from Sarah’s friend to not being able to stand her.
This Seems Like The Kind Of Show That Could Go On Longer Than Needed
With 10 episodes that are all above 46 minutes, a mystery, and some minor drama amongst the teens, there is a need to ask how can this fill out nearly 8 to 9 hours? Note: As highlighted, the show does well in building out the world everyone lives in, but is that world, and the characters within, really worth investing such an amount of time?
As of episode 1, we honestly lean towards saying it isn’t likely. This definitely feels like a show which could easily peak by midway, and then is rushing towards its finish to try to maintain a high that it loses with each attempt to keep the ante going. But, again, these feelings are based off a average looking trailer and a premiere that was better than expected, but far from exceptional.
Continue To Watch? – Put On Watchlist
First Impression: Divisive
“Outer Banks” seems like a show that could be a hit, but the kind that relies heavily on a feverish fanbase than critical acclaim or universal admiration. For as likable as many of the characters are, there is this vibe it will peak early on, or midway, and then potentially fall apart. Especially due to having so much time to fill and probably using it for storylines well-treaded and having these slightly intriguing characters also devolve into the familiar.
But, while our first impression isn’t that positive, we’d like to hope this could get better. After all, it is only the first episode and while many tropes and red flags are being raised or brought up, one of the main things we’re holding against this show is that it is available to binge-watch. And with that, it means, while we may only watch two to three episodes a day, there is the opportunity to gorge on the whole season. Meaning the flaws will become even more apparent and harder to forget, or dismiss, as we did with shows like “Dare Me.”
So expect more from us, but in measured doses over the next week.
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