Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Duration: 45 minutes (per episode)
Outcast: Season 1 (Blu-ray) – Series Review
Robert Kirkman is responsible for the television adaptation of the comic book series ‘The Walking Dead’. With a saturation of anything zombie related, the producer turned to something less viral and undead and something more sinister now. Is it the being that’s taken control that’s doing the horrid things or is it just someone unleashing their inner demon? That’s the one million dollar question raised by ‘Outcast’.
Outcast is a horror television series and an adaptation of comic books just like ‘The Walking Dead’, and was revealed in 2013 in the New York Comic Con. The series revolves around Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) and Reverend John Anderson (Philip Haywood Glenister). Kyle Barnes is banished after beating his wife and things aren’t looking to good for him on a social level. Soon it becomes apparent that he had been abused by his mother and locked in the pantry in his childhood. His mother wasn’t in control of her actions, however. She had been possessed by a force that is beyond human comprehension. People are being possessed and it’s unclear by what. The acts happening in the series are quite vile and the strength of ‘Outcast’ is that it’s never quite clear if it’s the person or the possessor that’s doing the actions.
When making the comparison to ‘The Walking Dead’ something becomes apparent. ‘The Walking Dead’ is quite fast paced. The story unfolds quickly and the stakes are set from the get go. The first season of it is only six episodes long, so it really can’t draw out the intrigue and has to rely on fast paced character introduction and things have to be resolved quickly. ‘Outcast’ on the other hand is nothing like it. There are ten episodes and the series doesn’t revolve around giving the viewer a quick resolution to the problems or giving answers to the questions raised by the first few episodes. By the last few episodes things spiral out of control and even up to the last couple of minutes things are really messed up and as confusing as they were in the first few minutes. Outcast is really dark. Sometimes it’s in your face brutal and at other times it raises the hairs on your arms and neck as the scenes play with both the perspective and the twisted personalities.
Robert Kirkman took the time to slowly build the suspense and made full use of the ten episodes. The writing is simple and easy to follow but it’s solid and concise. The way the world or at least the town of ‘Rome’, where the series takes place, is built is so solid it draws you in. The actors also match the southern vibe the town holds really well, especially Wrenn Schmidt and David Denman, who play Megan Holter and Mark Holter respectively. The way they are written is perfectly flawless and they feel like real persons with their own amount of drama and they never break out of their roles. It never feels like their problems are ‘over the top’ or that they react way out of proportion. The actor that stands out the most is probably Brent Spiner, who plays Sidney, both a very enigmatic and very subtle bad guy. If you are wondering why the name rings a bell, it’s because he also played in Star Trek as ‘Data’.
The episodes of ‘Outcast’ are quite long. Each episode is about 50 minutes and the material is dark so binge watching isn’t really all that easy. When it comes to the extras, there are some really nice ones. For those of you who aren’t in the know about the comic books, you can read all about it and find the introduction to the series. There’s also the ‘about Outcast’ explaining the series a little better. ‘Rome, West Virginia’ shows off the place where the series takes places. ‘The motion comic experience’ is a short clip about how they filmed the series while staying true to the origins. If there’s something that’s almost always present, it’s the ‘Making Of’ sequence, to which this release of Outcast is no exception.
Outcast is a horror series that does what most series shy away from. It’s written in such a manner that you are left with just enough questions to want to keep looking. It’s quite a slow burner sometimes bordering on too slow territory, which might make you stop looking. It also asks the question if being possessed is such a bad thing and if the only possibility of doing monstrous things is when you aren’t in full control of yourself. If you are looking for a horror series that’s quite spine tingling then this is something for you.