OUTCASTS: SEASON ONE

 

THE PLOT THUS FAR

With Earth rapidly becoming uninhabitable, pioneers seek to colonize the harsh terrain of the planet Carpathia. 10 years later, the town of Forthaven faces danger as the planet’s dark secrets are revealed.

 

WHAT WE THOUGHT

Despite a promising premise, the last of Earth’s survivors are rather flat. Fleeing Earth following an unexplained cataclysm, they are forced to live out on a new world and re-build society and survive the planets harsh hazards, it mostly falls flat. Part of this comes from a bad sense of what to do with the concept…instead of watching the first wave of settlers start to build a settlement and the struggles for power and resources that entails, we come too late, they have a whole town going with electricity, law and order and even a gun ban. It’s like we’ve missed the really good parts, you know, the compelling struggle, fighting and survival.

The show Outcasts reminds me of most is not Star Trek or any other popular sci-fi, but Heroes – because, like Heroes, it’s a slow – paced show with a focus is on the characters. The show doesn’t disappoint in this regard – the characters are all interesting, and the relationships and dialogue between them is entertaining. More importantly, there is some genuine emotion involved as we learn more about the characters’ pasts, and as they are developed. Where it differs from Heroes, though, is that it isn’t padded out to the ends of the Earth. Honestly, I only realised just how needlessly padded out Heroes was after watching Outcasts – though I will grant that the latter doesn’t have quite as many characters, and, well, they don’t have superpowers.

Outcasts is also great at creating tension without resorting to one- dimensional card-carrying villains pointing guns at the heroes. Again, I’ve got no problems with the Daleks – in fact, I rather love them – but it is nice to see a show break from the mold every once in a while and do something original. The special effects are probably the best I’ve seen in a TV series. That’s a bold claim, but I stand by it – and you know why? It’s because they are used in moderation. There’s a few shots in the first episode of the space ship above Carpathia, and they all look beautiful. The “white- out” in episode 3 also looks great and believable – as do the effects marking its approach (the odd effect it has on the sunlight…) and the shot of it from space.

The Blu-Ray comes with a set tour and a semi-commentary featurette from the cast and crew. The A/V Quality continues the streak of amazing releases from the BBC into Region 1. The 1080p transfer sports a flawless mix that shows off the imagined space desert setting, though it’s shot in South Africa. The audio track is a slightly compressed stereo mix that my system couldn’t decide if it was simply Dolby or PCM. I’ll leave that one up to you to discover. In the end, it’s worth a rental.

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!

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