By Mollie Campbell
Show: Outer banks
Genre: Teen, Drama, Mystery
Cast: Chase Stokes, Madison Bailey, Jonathan Daviss, Rudy Pankow, Madelyn Cline
Outer Banks is a coming-of-age, murder mystery show. The lovechild of Beverly Hills: 90210 and Dawson’s Creek. Or The Goonies meets a much less interesting version of Bloodline.
Set in the Outer Banks islands in North Carolina, the show begins with the introduction of the four main characters who are classed as the ‘poor’ people of the island or the ‘Pogues’, they are ‘John B’ the group’s ringleader whose father went missing at sea months before, ‘Kiara’ who used to be a kook (one of the rich kids), ‘JJ’, a seemingly laid-back guy who actually turns out to be a much more deeply layered character than expected, and ‘Pope’ a local smart kid. The upper class are known as the ‘Kooks’, consisting of ‘Sarah’, Kiara’s ex-friend, John B’s future love interest and the daughter of Ward, a wealthy businessman whose actions and secrets lead to a rabbit hole of mysteries.
The start seems quite solid, four kids fishing, surfing, drinking beers and laughing until the sun goes down, a classic CW style show. But as the episode progresses, things get quite strange, so much so that I actually still don’t really know what to make of the whole show. This is the start of many little interjections of storylines and subplots, there is an ongoing aim for the show, but it is so fragmented it is almost painful to watch. John B, upon searching for his father, somehow manages to find the location of a shipwreck from years before, a shipwreck that was searched for by many fisherman and townsfolk over the years but is somehow discovered in 2020 by a group of teenagers, this is the first of many unrealistic events, so get used to it! In doing this, they discover the coordinates to hidden treasure; gold that has been presumed to be lost for years. This really is the start of a very silly Scooby-doo style goose chase, as the pogues begin a journey into a completely unrealistic world.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t somewhat enjoy it, as I was very interested to see how it ended. But in order to enjoy it, I really had to switch off the common sense portion of my mind. By stopping myself from picking it apart; it made for some mindless entertainment. The acting isn’t appalling and the story has good intentions, but it is so far-fetched it could never be taken seriously. The only storyline worth watching is one that dares to dig deeper, the portrayal of JJ and how he deals with the physical and emotional stress of his father’s abuse towards him. It is acted very well and is incredibly impactful to watch, intertwined with the character’s personality traits and the reasons why he reacts to situations in the way that he does.
Lastly, despite some interesting sub-plots and the beautiful summer scenery, the writers couldn’t quite keep a grip on its originally intriguing plot long enough for it to be the great show it could have been. The scenes become less engaging as the show progresses and the interactions between the characters become so unrealistic that it grows stale just when it needs to be heating up, making it difficult for the show to really take flight. As a lover of all art forms, I really do hate to totally trash a creative effort, I’m sure not everyone feels the same way I do about this show, that is the beauty of art. But personally, I would give it a miss.