Well, hello there! If you’ve been in any kind of contact with me over the last few weeks, I’ve already talked your ears off about one of my new favourite series of the season: Outcast.
Having finished its first season run on Cinemax, the studio that brought us the gem Banshee, Outcast has gone virtually under the radar since it started airing just under three months ago. But those of you lucky enough to have followed it on a weekly basis have been rewarded with a dark, character-driven tale with quite a bit up its sleeve.
Based on Robert Kirkman’s comics of the same name, Outcast takes an extremely different approach to horror than Kirkman’s other monster hit The Walking Dead, replacing the action and larger-than-life characters from TWD with flawed and often emotionally unstable people living in the small Stephen King-esque town of Rome who realize that a dark force has taken grip of their abode, and that some people might not be who they seem to be.
Outcast is, at it’s heart, a possession horror not unlike The Exorcist. But as the first season progresses the horror evolves into a dark mystery, reflecting the inherent evil in humanity in contrast to the evil force that takes hold of the town and its residents.Our anti-hero and social pariah, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit – who some of you might recognize as the now grown-up kid from Almost Famous), lives on the fringes of Rome, hated and rejected by his town after a violent event in his past. His only friend is the town’s unconventional Reverend (Philip Glenister), a borderline alcoholic, lonely exorcist that struggles to keep his flock in the pews. The Reverend finds a use in Kyle though, who unwillingly is able to ‘cure’ the possessed by touch alone. As a mysterious new man shows up in town (Brent Spiner), these events start to escalate and Kyle and the Reverend realize that their town is in grave danger.
Kirkman manages to weave a slow-burn, brooding narrative that is driven by its excellent characters and almost exclusively favours building atmosphere over cheap scares. I can highly recommend it for any fans of Stephen King. It also cleverly doesn’t rely on Exorcist-levels of possessions to drive the tone, but as the initial shock wears off it replaces it with an ominous, almost overwhelming darkness that will chill you to the bone in every episode.
Last Updated: August 17, 2016