Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp, Jeremy Bobb, Julianne Nicholson, Mare Winningham, Paddy Considine, Yul Vazquez, Jason Bateman, Marc Menchaca
Written By: Stephen King / Richard Price
Directed By: Various
Studio: Warner Bros. / HBO
Buy On Amazon.com
The latest HBO mini-series (or limited) is based on a Stephen King book on the same name. The Outsider is a slow paced, supernatural/detective type of show but pays off in the end. It’s what True Detective should have been but thankfully we have The Outsider. Oh yeah…Stephen King hates children.
The series starts out with an investigation of a gruesome murder of a 11 year boy. The investigation is led by Cherokee City, GA detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn). Evidence points to baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) but soon things start to happen to prove maybe he didn’t do it. Ralph and others bring in an unconventional private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) into the mix. Everybody begins to realize that something dark, twisted and supernatural is happening. If they don’t try to contain the evil, it will keep spreading and killing.
I wasn’t really aware of this show when it came out. I think a few weeks after it aired, I started to hear friends and people on Twitter talking about it. I managed to binge this series in a few days and it’s truly one of those shows that’s better to binge than watch each week. I know I would have been impatient and annoyed by some of these cliffhangers that happened during the season. About the only thing I knew going into this was that Stephen King wrote the book. Other than that, I knew nothing so it was nice going in fresh.
The first two episodes, in a way, feel like a completely different show. You have the detective/true crime part of it in the beginning, and then it goes into this crazy, folklore, supernatural entity aspect of it. I like both parts of it but I agree with some of the criticism about it, that it can be slow to get through. I didn’t mind the slowness since I was binging the series. By the way, what’s with Stephen King and every story he’s involved with and it has dead kids in it? Does the guy not like children? IT, Stand By Me, Pet Sematary, this and so much more…
I’m going to not talk about spoilers too much but the subject matter of this was creepy sometimes. I know when I went to bed, I made sure to double lock the doors. Not like that would have done anything with a supernatural entity. The way things ended up in the final few episodes were pretty dark. I mean, the entire series was dark with dead kids and lots of deaths. Let’s just say don’t get too comfortable liking a particular character. I really liked the first few hours of the Outsider, and even if it was just a typical true crime story, it would have been great. Adding all the supernatural stuff to it made it a different show and interesting to me. Some people might not like the direction it went in. Just like True Detective, we loved the first season and how it looked like something dark and mysterious was at play. Then it just turned out to be some creeps in the Bayou.
The acting was really good, starting with Ben Mendolsohn and Cynthia Erivo. Those two should have gotten Emmy nominations but Jason Bateman got one for being a “guest.” He also directed the first two episodes he was in. Towards the end, you almost forget he was in the early episodes. Once Holly shows up in the third episode, she completely takes over the series. She’s such an interesting character and I hope they bring Erivo back for another season or spin-off. Be sure to watch the mid-credits scene in the finale and then you’ll find yourself reading tons of theories about it. The rest of the cast is just as good with Bill Camp who has been in a ton of stuff lately, Julianne Nicholson as Terry’s wife, Paddy Considine, Mare Winningham, Yul “who’s not wearing the ribbon?” Vazquez, and Jeremy Bobb.
The Blu-Ray offers up a few featurettes to watch after watching the mini-series. There’s the usual Inside the Episode featurettes that’s usually offered on HBO and YouTube after the episodes air, there’s one about Holly, one about Jason Bateman and a few other smaller ones. The best featurette was El Cuco, The Baby Yaga and The Outsider since the cast & crew talk about the show’s supernatural elements.
I think The Outsider is a show to check out if any of this sounds interesting. I liked it a lot and thought it was on par with the first season of True Detective. Parts of the series were a bit frustrating with the pacing of it and if I watched this when it aired, I’m not sure if I would have the patience to stick around the entire way. I like the mixture of the supernatural and true crime aspects but the supernatural angle might turn people off. Honestly, I’m thinking this might have worked out better as a 2-part movie or just a movie than a limited series. Although, we wouldn’t have focused so much on some great supporting characters. I enjoyed this and that’s all that matters in the end really. I wouldn’t mind if they came back with a second season or spin-off though.
El Cuco, The Baby Yaga and The Outsider
Invitation to Set Stephen King and The Outsider
Jason Bateman and The Outsider
Adapting The Outsider
Analyzing Holly Gibney
The Outsider: Inside Episodes 1-10
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 2.00:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.00:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French
Bottom Line: Slow-paced but the payoff is worth it in the end
Running Time: 551 mins