TV Show Review: Outcasts

Post Published on March 15, 2012.
Last Updated on July 12, 2021 by davemackey.

Screen-shot of a public preview video.
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The TV shows I really like always seem to get canceled. Does that mean I’m bad luck for those TV shows? Or that I have bad luck in choosing TV shows? Most likely it has to do with the limited interest in the shows I find most enjoyable. Unfortunately, especially when it comes to broadcast TV, the shows which can appeal to the widest demographics are the ones that succeed…but in attempting to appeal to such wide demographics much is often lost. I hope that as internet TV continues to evolve we will see an increase in niche TV shows – since there won’t be the scarcity of time which currently occurs with broadcast TV, and overhead should also be less in creating the shows.

In any case, Netflix recently added a British show from BBC One called Outcasts – and I love it. I’ve just finished watching the first (and only) season. The show has been canceled and while one could desire much more – the first season is still well worth watching, being a semi-contained story within itself.

I can’t tell you too much about the storyline without exposing some of the many fascinating plots that arise…but the basic concept is that earth is becoming (or has become) uninhabitable due to mankind’s warfare and a new colony is being established on a distant planet – Carpathia. The story centers around the colonization of this new planet and all the challenges inherent with such an endeavor.

The show is not particularly fast-paced, rather it maintains a steady (not plodding) gait. When I watched the first episode I felt as if it was plodding a bit – but as I continued to watch I saw the design and beauty in the pace. Every episode tackles a story of its own while at the same time undertaking a greater mythos. At the same time the show focuses deeply on character development and relationships and offers up probing questions about some of humanities greatest questions.

The show is fairly clean – including by American standards – with no sex scenes, minimal skin, and a spattering of profane language (mainly of the British variety).

The cast is quite talented including Hermione Norris, Liam Cunningham, Daniel Mays, Amy Manson, and Ashley Walters. A favorite quote comes from the last episode in which Cass Cromwell (Mays) says to Richard Tate (Cunningham):

“Stop being so bloody laid back about it. Make like you care for once, about people not just your stupid ideas, your grand plans. This isn’t about humanity, this isn’t about the future, it definitely isn’t about pieces on the chessboard, its about [excluded], it’s about now.”1I excluded the name of what it is about, as it is important to the storyline.

I think this is an interesting and true challenge for those who can dissociate themselves from the subjective emotions of an experience and hold fast onto objective fact While this ability to stand as an external and objective observer is useful, it can also be a downfall.

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