Friday, June 24, 2011

New TV Scorecard: Outcasts

Okay, okay, I know, technically Outcasts isn't new. It's already completed its first season (and I think entire series) run across the pond. But it just premiered on BBC America this past week, so it's new to me. Avoiding spoilers has been no easy feat, either. At least now I am finally free to read the episode reviews io9 posted back when the show aired in the U.K. You can find the first one (which covers the first two episodes, so maybe wait until next week) here.

So. Outcasts. My initial take is that there seems to be a lot going on here, without many answers provided to the viewers. I am not complaining about this, just making a note. The basic premise of the show is that humanity has for some unspecified reason had to flee Earth. A group of pioneers has settled on a new planet called Carpathia. They've been there ten years and everything is not, of course, copacetic. On the ground we've got two factions gearing up for what is likely to be a very messy conflict. There is also a possible third group outside of the colony, unbeknownst to most of the colonists. I am guessing the folks in this third group are the titular outcasts, since it doesn't seem as if the primary Carpathians are Earth's rejects. In the air, so to speak, we have the incoming transport from Earth. As the story unfolds we quickly learn that it has been five years since the arrival of the last transport, as well as that the current arrival is likely to be the last. A little deft exposition also reveals that many of the transports that have arrived have had problems actually landing due to the ships being ill-equipped to deal with reentry into the planet's atmosphere.

I would be tempted to call this first episode purely set up, except it answers far too few questions to qualify as such. Instead I think it could better be termed an introduction into the world of Outcasts, an intriguing one at that. My only real quibble is the wasted use of Jamie Bamber. Don't get me wrong, he really got to flex his acting muscles here, but come on. Why make him go crazy and die in the very first episode? That's not cool, man. The many questions raised about his character's motivations (and sanity) were rendered moot before we could even begin to explore them. Why, then, raise them in the first place?

Bottom line: Right now I don't really have an attachment to any of the characters. I don't really know where my sympathies do (or should) rest. The episode spent a lot of time spread out between all of the different characters (two of whom died before it was over), and not enough with any one to really let us get to know them. But. That being said, I am very curious to see where it goes from here. So far this is my kind of science fiction. I will definitely keep watching. Bonus, with the knowledge that Jamie Bamber isn't a regular cast member, I can probably just enjoy the very short ride without being too disappointed when it is over.

Here are a few questions I will be hoping are answered before that end does come:
  1. Who, exactly, are the outcasts in this scenario? Why are they outcast, exactly?
  2. What happened on Earth to make humanity leave in the first place, and why  does the evacuation seem to have gone so poorly?
  3. What is Cass' secret?
  4. Why does Protection and Security think that they can keep anyone protected and secure without guns when no one appears to be enforcing the weapons ban?
  5. Why does it seem like anyone who wants guns can get them, especially in light of said weapons ban?
  6. Why the heck didn't the Carpathians let Earth know about the shoddy transport construction before they lost contact with those they left behind?
I may need to figure out how to turn on the close-captioning on my television before the next episode though. I had a hard time following some of the dialects, even with my regular exposure to the Brits. Still, all in all, a solid first entry if you're the sort who is willing to give a story the chance to unfold.

First Impression Rating: 8.75/10 (It loses a quarter of a point for killing Jamie Bamber off so soon. Alpha-Girl over at Pink Raygun knows what I mean.)


Another Friday has come along, folks. Don't forget to check out Gronk today!

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