Courtesy of OBX Today
By Kat Kaderabek
Netflix’s newest binge-worthy show, Outer Banks, was recently released and has since made its way to the top picks list. Due to its attractive cast, prime location, and intense plot-line, Outer Banks has quickly gained attention internationally, despite the exaggerated features of the plot. But does this eight-episode season of Outer Banks really deserve the hype?
The biggest issue to the quality of the show lies in what can arguably be called the most important aspect of a TV series: the plot. The show follows a foursome band of teenagers living in the Outer Banks as they spend their summers working, fishing, and surfing. Divided by social class, the main characters identify themselves as the Pogues, in opposition to the rich, wealthy elitist teenagers that they call Kooks. John B is the self-appointed leader of his group of friends. His father had gone missing at sea nine months prior to the opening episode. Avoiding Child Services and struggling to make ends meet, John B refuses to accept his father’s disappearance and clings to the hope that his father had found the sunken ship, The Merchant, a British ship that sank hundreds of years ago with a reported forty million dollars worth of gold on board. After finding his father’s compass on a sunken cruiser after a major hurricane, John B is convinced his father is alive and has found the gold and begins a treacherous treasure hunt for the stash and his father.
The opening episode promises a thrilling, adventurous mystery series full of intrigue, hot romances, and betrayal. What the audience receives is a frustrating, lengthy, and rather disappointing end to a show that had so much potential. Aside from the sheer impossibility of the Pogues’ treasure hunt, the mystery behind the Merchant’s gold and their subsequent finding was based solely on luck. Not only that, but every moment of their search had viewers on the edge of their seat, and not in a good way. The teenagers constantly encountered close calls and improbable situations in which they would just narrowly escape the impossible. This includes shootouts on moving boats, falling over thirty feet from a lookout, breaking into a murderer’s house, deadly chases from the police, and surviving a hurricane in the open ocean in a small rowboat. It was very action-packed, but these scenes were very anxiety-filled and occurred too frequently for any viewer to breathe easily. Perhaps this is why the show is so easy to binge-watch, since it is riddled with scenes that leave the audience wondering if the cast makes it out alive or is caught by those who want the treasure for themselves.
Another issue with the plot of Outer Banks is that it falls too quickly into the cliches of romance shows. The main character, a lowly but stunningly attractive boy John B, falls for the spoiled, rich girl who seemingly has a heart of gold, Sarah. In the midst of this, the lowly boy’s best friend, Kiara, becomes upset and jealous of their relationship and offers John B an ultimatum, to pick her or Sarah. The entire romance plot of the series was completely predictable and frustrating. It hindered much of the potential character development and instead pigeonholed much of the cast into a set role. The main villain of the show is also very apparent from the first few episodes. As a result, the audience is forced to watch the teenagers fall right into his hands. What makes matters worse is that even after discovering the true mastermind’s identity, they still play into the villain’s hands for the sake of “love.” Even though this love will cost them forty million dollars in solid gold. This only adds to the sheer frustration of viewers as they watch the characters make mistake after mistake. It even gets to a yell-at-the-screen point within the final episodes of the show.
These moments of frustration actually have a very real and rather devastating effect on the audience as they elicit a sense of hopelessness. The final episodes of the show bring an incredible sense of disappointment toward the law-enforcement in the outer banks since no one believes the teenagers. As a result their story, their cause, their money, and their friends slip from their fingers in a heart wrenching, disappointing finale of the show.
While the plot of the show is lacking, predictable, and baffling to say the least, the show does have its bright spots. Almost the entirety of the cast is admittedly attractive, both in looks and their character’s personalities. The foursome’s portrayal of laid-back islanders on the fringe of society is very convincing. Their characters’ interactions are very touching and there is a sense of a deep friendship between them from the very first episode. The group itself is rather dynamic and easily-lovable however, their actions throughout the treasure hunt are not. The addition of John B’s girl, Sarah, was rather unwelcome, but her character too grew to be somewhat trustworthy and likeable throughout the show, even if her relationship with John B had little foundation and was merely used as a plot device.
The soundtrack of the show was fun and quirky, with good transition scenes that made watching the show a semi-enjoyable experience. That, in addition to the locations filmed in, were very interesting to see on screen. It is clear that a lot of effort went into the creation of this series. The production crew utilized many different locations throughout the outer banks and this seamless transition between locations made the show seem more believable, even if the plot did not.
From the ending of the final episode, it is unclear where the show will lead. A second season is expected given the popularity of this first season. However, the plot of the second season seems geared towards taking another turn for the worst and descending further into improbability and unpredictability.