Square Eyes #5 – BBC’s Outcasts, out of touch?

The BBC has had a great plan for a new drama. Basically, planet Earth has become uninhabitable and a group of humans now have the chance to start afresh on a brand new planet. A fantastically original idea… if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s been done to the death on other shows and at the cinema.

But regardless, I was looking forward to Outcasts when it started this week on BBC 1. There seems to be a strange consensus that Britain can’t do high quality drama like the American’s. I completely disagree with this and think that shows such as Sherlock, Spooks, Ashes to Ashes and Doctor Who prove this. All the same, it was great to have a new British drama to look forward to.

But Outcast’s isn’t an example of great British drama. It’s poorly acted, completely unoriginal, has very unbelievable characters and a story that’s more predictable than Bruce Forsythe’s catchphrases. In the first two episodes we have seen the traditional ‘good things happen in the end’ story with no sign of a proper story arc other than a few hillbillies that resemble ‘The Others’ in ‘Lost’

I will be honest, I missed the first few minutes of the show and that can often cause you to feel disconnected from a show before it’s even begun. But all the same, the show just didn’t grab me like I expected it to. There was nothing new to get me interested, no real interest, no real reason to keep watching.

But keep watching I did, in fact I will continue to keep wanting. I think I want this show to be good, I think it deserves to be good. It certainly has a good cast including Hermione Norris (Spooks), Daniel Mays (Ashes to Ashes) and a colony president who seems to think he’s Patrick Stewart. But the characters they’ve been given don’t seem to work. Daniel Mays has gone from a character I hated yet loved to watch in ‘Ashes to Ashes’ to a cockney idiot who I just laugh at in ‘Outcasts’, especially when he falls down cliffs for no reason. Maybe that’s the idea of his character!

I do think the BBC’s scheduling of ‘Outcasts’ is also very peculiar. There are very few shows that are own for two consecutive nights and then nothing until next week. I’m not ready for a new episode the day after the previous ep, I need time for what I’ve seen to sink in. It’s almost as if the Beeb though this wasn’t particularly good and gave it very odd scheduling. Or perhaps they literally have nothing else to put on.

Either way, I will be continuing with ‘Outcasts’ for at least another week. These shows take time to grow and I have hope (possibly false) that this could become a good show eventually. But it’s probably more likely to join the long list of BBC Sci-Fi’s axed after one series.

In the mean time, I notice as I write this that Marchlands has just started over on ITV. So far that’s turning out to be a good mystery/ghostly tale. Lets hope ITV have finally come up with a hit, they could do with one!

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3 Responses to Square Eyes #5 – BBC’s Outcasts, out of touch?

  1. Tim says:

    I’m still sticking with Outcasts, but I’m not sure why. Too much lazy, flabby dialogue, too much pontificating, not enough genuine drama. And entirely derivative – Jamie Bamber’s (brief) presence aside, this has Battlestar Galactica stamped all over it.

    And as for the ‘shock’ killing of a big name actor from Law & Order UK, didn’t Survivors do this with Freema Agyeman? Dear, oh dear.

    Having said that, I thought episode two was an improvement, although the hostage plot annoyed the hell out of me. The only drama inherent in that story is a direct result of Jack repeatedly acting like a suicidal arse. I get that part of the show’s premise is that people will be people – and therefore subject to great stupidity – no matter where and when they are, but really?!?

    Tonight’s episode had better be sharper, or even I may give up. I see the viewing figures for episode 2 were less than stellar – I can’t say I’m surprised.

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