April 4, 2011
Long overdue, what did I think of Outcasts?
Well, I had high expectations, coming from the same production stable as Spooks and Hustle, both of which have been entertaining and fresh. And unfortunately Outcasts didn’t live up to those expectations.
What I was hoping for was an exploration of why creating a new society is hard, of the human struggles to craft something new. And there were hints: the virus that wiped out the kids, the clones blamed for the virus. But all too soon it seemed to resolve to cliché with the unknown alien force and the rebel clones. In some ways the attempt to make the plot larger scale, with aliens and incoming settlers, actually detracted from the big picture of creating a new life. I wanted some explanation of why they hadn’t spread out, of the difficulties they faced. I wanted more of Jamie Bamber and the style of the first episode, which promised quite a lot. I wanted Outcasts to be itself, to carve out a unique identity and not settle for a bit of Lost and a bit of BSG.
There were glimmers of what it could have been, which is what made watching it so frustrating.
The reaction to Outcasts seemed to be overall, negative. Including being moved from it’s Monday slot to Sunday, during the series. That never happens in the UK, due to the shorter series length. Someone at the BBC didn’t like what they saw. Consequently it’s not coming back. I can only hope that it hasn’t set back the possibility of getting a quality UK Science Fiction TV show. Bur it probably has.
Meanwhile UK film makers like Duncan Jones and Gareth Edwards have been producing awesome SF films. Maybe this will filter through to TV eventually?