As Netflix’s latest nostalgia-in-a-blender exercise, teen drama Outer Banks is designed to trigger memories of a dozen movies from the ’80s and at least as many TV shows, counting on those conscious and subconscious responses to carry viewers through 10 episodes that are reasonably watchable, but contain very few original pleasures.
You can put it away for later. Outer Banks is Goonies meets The O.C. via Red Dawn and Netflix’s very own Stranger Things and possibly On My Block or On My Block, all with an smidgen of a high school Simple Plan — and perhaps your love for the shows will take you through the lengthy stretches in which Outer Banks veers between stupid or absurd and, in a few flashes entertaining.
The series is set on The Outer Banks of North Carolina filming with acceptable reproduction with acceptable replication South Carolina locations — the show is a tale of class war as well as treasure hunts, but not always in that order.
Our main characters are the Pogues Blue-collar children on an island that is divided among the wealthy and not-so-haves. John B (Chase Stokes) plays the role of narrator and storyteller but somehow, over the course of 10 episodes, does not generate one even a single Beach Boys reference even from the older inhabitants — as is the child of an missing person who is obsessed in his beloved Royal Merchant, a vessel that was lost and sunk in 1829 and is believed to have sunk with $400 million worth of British gold.
John B lacks all guardianship John B is a lifetime friendships with J.J. (Rudy Pankow) who is the troublemaker son of a drunk who is abusive; Pope (Jonathan Daviss) the apparently smart kid who doesn’t do anything smart throughout the entire series as well as Kiara (Madison Bailey) who is technically more at ease than her friends, but permitted to join them because they’re all attracted to her.
In the event that Pogues are the savage poor children in this world and their adversaries are the Kooks who are the kids of the local upper class. Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline) was once Kiara’s closest companion and now her antagonist may be the most powerful of the Kooks and is in love with super-preppy Topper (Austin North) who is a wASP-y character so obnoxious that William Zabka’sand post Cobra Kaiversion of Johnny Lawrence look reasonable and charming. The movie premieres with an impromptu beach party fight where the sole reason Topper does not yell “Welcome To The OB, bitch!” at his defeated opponent is because the writers Josh Pate, Jonas Pate and Shannon Burke assumed audiences would be competent enough to fill the gaps for themselves. This is the same reason why nobody of the Pogues actually announces, “Pogues never say die!” You’ll just be thinking about it.
And Sarah’s rich dad is depicted by Charles Esten, easily the most well-known member of the ensemble (though Adina Porter as the sheriff in the local area is likely to be close) and, in the end, it means exactly what it will.
Then … the plot! John B and his friends discover a variety of clues to the disappearance of his father and clues that could help them find an investigation into the Royal Merchant and its life-changing reward. Maybe they’ll be caught up in an increasingly dangerous conflicts against Kooks Kooks or in a variety of storms that cut off power throughout the region. Despite the fact that Outer Banks is set in the present limited access to cellphones and computers could be just as well 1984.
Directed directed by Jonas Pate, Outer Banks is a nostalgic look and is a feeling. A lot of the series is shot through a golden haze that makes it seem as if every second was a Magic Hour, even if none of the episodes are actually set in Magic Hour. It’s quite beautiful and deserves a lot of credit to the cinematographer J.B. Smith, even the fact that much of the shimmering was probably achieved by post-production. There is a lot of confusion about the passing of time in the episodes as well as within the entire first season It’s possible to claim that the 10 episodes were shot in four days or two months and I’d be able to believe it — is only one of the many issues with narrative.
While Outer Banks is conducting its treasure-hunting activities There are some thrilling moments, some fun investigation of clues, and a application of Gullah that I would have loved was a deliberate part of the show’s culture awareness instead of a random aspect that the majority of viewers certainly overlook. Treasure hunting provides some minor thrills , as well as some funny quips that are off the mark however, it’s generally immediately followed by class warfare content that is ruined by how ridiculously single-minded each Kook apart from Sarah is.
The final three episodes, which could have easily been reduced to two (or maybe just) hours, have become the only show that’s narrative momentum is entirely dependent on every character doing the most stupid thing that could be done. I watched hoping that a few poorly conceived characters would be killed violently that isn’t what you’d want from the show where most people are believed to be aged 16 (even even if the actors who play the roles seem to be mid-20s in the typical sense of the show’s genre).
The fact that you think that the Kooks have a cartoonish look to them does not necessarily suggest that they aren’t. Pogues aren’t incredibly well-developed characters. For instance, if you remove any reference to the interview for the scholarship Pope is prepping for, he might not even have a dialogue, and cutting Kiara into an “object of love for everyone” makes her a character with no agency beyond “Who is she going to will end up macking?” And yes, the characters from Outer Banks say “macking” often, and I’m not sure if their use of slang from the past is intended to signal their remote location or if it’s simply nostalgia pandering.
Stokes who is a looker and is a bit like a less lively Penn Badgley, and Cline as well as Cline, who also bring to mind your favorite similar geniuses, share some moments of chemistry that are enjoyable, even if nothing about their relationship can be understood when the entire season is set within a week.
The show is brimming with plot lines and characters which feel like they could have been pertinent or crucial in a thirteen-episode show or in a novel for young adults which gave more room for. The entire family that isn’t Sarah Cameron actually feels like they were left to die on the floor which includes the obvious stepmother Rose (Caroline Arapoglou) and her confused daughters Wheezie (Julia Antonelli) and her older brother Rafe (Drew Starkey) who’s capacity for improbable, absurd things can only be matched by the black-sheep sibling in the current series’ Ozark.
It’s difficult to put a pinpoint on the exact kind of show Outer Banks is trying to portray. It’s filled with underage drinking and drug abuse and the characters are known to swear like crazy however there’s an oddly traditional slant to the way that the show depicts sex even when it’s not showing off the beach bodies of its teenagers. Therefore, the ideal age of the audience is in the range of the age at which I first saw and loved the show at first, and the age at which I revisited the show and saw the flaws of the show and also the age I am today, where I look at the Goonies through glasses that are both nostalgic and clear. Perhaps I’m actually the audience? However, I’m in a position to discern the flaws of this show easily.