While not a very successful formula, sci-fi westerns still seem to evoke some kind of curiosity on mention. Add Josh Brolin into the mix and it becomes a tough choice to not devote to. On the exterior, Outer Range has all the semblance of a well-crafted, meticulously devised, and skilfully executed sci-fi western mystery thriller. But without passing a final judgement on the overall quality of the show, it’s when we decide to dissect the many layers that the series gets into murky waters.
Outer Range Season 1 Cast
- Josh Brolin as Royal Abbott
- Imogen Poots as Autumn
- Lili Taylor as Cecilia Abbott
- Tom Pelphrey as Perry Abbott
- Tamara Podemski as Deputy Sheriff Joy
- Lewis Pullman as Rhett Abbott
Outer Range Season 1 Plot
Royal Abbott heads the family consisting of him, Cecilia Abbott, his sons Perry and Rhett Abbott, and his granddaughter Amy. The Abbotts have had their fair share of struggles. Things get tougher for the Abbotts when their neighbours lay a claim over a patch of land from their ranch. The real mystery is revealed when Royal discovers a huge dark void in the midst of the said patch of land. To make things complicated, Autumn Rivers, a hiker with a connection to the Abbotts, appears with her actions only suggesting that she knows more than she likes to reveal.
Outer Range Season 1 Review
Set in the state of Wyoming, Outer Range focuses on the Abbotts, headed by Royal Abbott, who run their family ranch and are grieving from the loss of their daughter-in-law Rebecca who disappeared mysteriously nine months ago. But this initial mystery is just the tip of the iceberg as Outer Range dedicatedly pursues and presents more than one mystery through its rather long run. At first instance, similarities with Dark are hard to miss. In the feel and tone, Outer Range walks on the very lines Dark presents. But, that’s about when and where the similarities end.
On the whole, Outer Range presents a rather interesting concoction of subjects. A sci-fi angle remains under the wrap for the longest time with the mythological undertones taking the forefront to minutely hint at what’s unfolding. A flavour of Greek mythology, with repeatedmotifs of animals employed throughout, adds to the creative world-building that’s behind Outer Range. Questions of faith, purpose, self-discovery, grief and survival all line up to present a stretched thriller that’s more dedicated to the family drama and the relationships all the characters share with each other than to explore the mystery that shrouds everything they are doing. Outer Range successfully lures the viewer into sticking with the characters, the world, and the weirdly disorienting premise. The lingering mystery of the dark void, the prospects of time travel, and beyond all, the dubious intentions with which the majority of the characters act are all aspects which make it tough to give up once the commitment is made. But keeping the viewer on the hook still falls short as the series inconsistently travels through long instances of uneventful “voids” occasionally filled with the adrenaline-rushing action.
At opportune moments, Outer Range provides you with captivating brilliance that makes you doubt whether you were watching the same thing for so long. These moments of unmatched craft come out with the contribution of a punching performance of the cast, glaringly noticeable visuals, and a ceaselessly haunting score. Yet, when the curtain falls on this 8-episodes long mashup of a sci-fi mystery and western family drama, the feeling left is oddly unsatisfying. This forlorn sense of dissatisfaction accompanies much of the run-time because, for the longest time, Outer Range almost leads you to the door of mysteries which encapsulate the world of Wyoming but when the time of judgement finally arrives, the answers are not served to make up for the long wait.
The Well-Written Conversations Which Invoke Something Special
The long voids of uneventful gaps are filled with deep conversations between characters who pour out their feelings through mostly well-written metaphorically brazen lines. While these are important instances and provide for purposeful meaning inherent in the scenes, the episodes drag on and on without acknowledging the mystery that should be the most relevant to the viewer. It’s not until late that a clear picture of what’s what is revealed from behind the constant build-up of the story’s mythmaking. And throughout, it’s utterly inconvenient to comprehend how the characters are ignoring the most obvious of questions to carry on with the dreary long process of storytelling the makers chose to go with.
On more than one occasion, it’s obvious to question what the writers wanted to achieve with all the world-building without providing any answers to the mysteries the story’s wrapped up in. Beyond a point, the questions reach such an overwhelming number that an absence of answers to any of them makes one doubt whether the writers had any clarity on the direction they were heading. The thing about a well-crafted mystery is it makes sure all the loose ends are tied by the end. While Outer Range‘s season finale obviously provides for another season to achieve that, it’s highly doubtful by now that it will be able to wrap it up with the kind of comprehensiveness that makes for the difference between a masterpiece and an attempt in vain at creating a masterpiece.
Josh Brolin and Imagen Poots, with special mention for Tamara Podemski along with the rest of the central cast, provide plenty of moments that create the really engaging aspect of the story and pay off for the unnecessarily long run-time. Imagen Poots as the eccentric, mysterious and near-bonkers Autumn Rivers performs flawlessly as her character demands. Yet her character herself remains disconnected from the rest of the lot until when the makers suddenly decide to switch gears swiftly.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
From the absolutely dark night scenes where it’s nearly impossible to gauge what’s ensuing to the random nature of events without any justification behind their occurrences, Outer Range is marred by inconsistencies which are demotivating enough to make one miss out on the remarkable, momentary brilliance it achieves in certain scenes, shots and dialogues.
The clueless direction it takes while devoting itself to the journey of the characters deeply but escaping from addressing the most concerning and relevant issues at hand is the most unsatisfying ordeal Outer Range bestows the viewer with.
For a story concerned with questions of faith and belief so much, Outer Range really makes you believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel. But this time, when you finally reach the end and come out into the open world, you finally realise that the sun is not shining as brightly as you expected it to be. Yet, you will still be happy that you reached the end eventually with a couple of glorious moments to cherish.