As the sun sets on the first day of summer, four teens board a small boat and set off for an afternoon of lighthearted fun. Meanwhile, a storm brews deep in the horizon prepared to drag much more than just seaweed onto the shores of the Outer Banks. Released on Netflix in May 2020, “Outer Banks” is a truly exciting mixture of treasure hunt, murder mystery and forbidden romance that does not disappoint.
At a glance, the show seems like another cheesy teen drama, and it certainly has many elements that fit into that category. However, “Outer Banks” overcomes many of the negative characteristics of teen dramas that repel more mature audiences.
Unlike in “Glee” or “Riverdale,” the actors of “Outer Banks” are successful in taking a movie-like situation and portraying it as realistically as possible. The show has no shortage of drama and angst, but in most cases, it is executed quite tastefully.
Particularly, the viciously abusive relationship between the character JJ and his father is incredibly convincing. While this plotline has certainly been used before, both cast and crew were able to convey JJ’s emotions with a unique rawness and intensity that strongly connects him to the viewer.
Each of the main characters, John B, Pope, Kiara, JJ and Sarah, possess their own subplots that allow the audience to understand and empathize with their actions, although some are more fleshed out than others.
The show plays entirely off of clichés: the social outcast who falls in love with the queen bee, the father who has mysteriously disappeared, the group of teens in a competitive hunt with hardened criminals and the polarizing feud between kids on the rich and poor sides of town.
However, there is a reason why these storylines continue to succeed in stories on all types of platforms. “Outer Banks” plays on its audience’s love for these clichés in an incredibly suspenseful way that makes them seem fresh and new once more.
To an older viewer, the sudden romances may seem overplayed and unrealistic. It is easy to scoff at the characters’ dramatic declarations of love, especially towards the end of the series. Yet, the breathtaking scenery in these moments allows the audience to forget, even for just a few minutes, the improbability of certain situations.
In general, the story strongly utilizes the landscape to enhance the emotions of the scene, whether it’s a vine-entangled house where a woman murdered her husband with an ax or an abandoned church with a window in the steeple that encapsulates a beautiful sunset.
With a cast of bright, new faces and a story with elements as old as time, “Outer Banks” is a worthy companion to any boredom-ridden evening.
With its thrilling nature, “Outer Banks” makes it almost impossible not to binge all of season one in the span of 24 hours. Viewers will be left on the edge of their seats, anxiously awaiting the adventures and mysteries of a second season.