Updated: May 4, 2020
I've been hooked on this TV for the past few weeks and I can't keep it to myself anymore. I have to share the awesomeness with everyone.
The Outsider is an HBO miniseries with 9 out of 10 episodes already out. The show is an adaptation of Stephen King's 2018 novel of the same name, which was published on May 22, 2018.
Before I even get to what the show is about, one of the things that gets me excited about this show are the people in it. Jason Bateman is not only in the show, he's also one of the producers and directs a handful of episodes. If you remotely liked the mood and suspense of The Ozarks, then I think you'll really enjoy The Outsider. I've always seen Jason Bateman in comedic roles but lately I've seen him consistently in serious roles and I really enjoy his performances.
Alright, so I'm actually going to keep this post spoiler-free, which might make this post a little shorter, but that's how much I want everyone to experience this show! The show revolves around Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman's character) being accused of murdering a little boy, Frankie Peterson, in a small southern town. There's overwhelming evidence, including multiple eye witness testimonies and DNA tests, that points to Terry as the murderer. It isn't until after Terry is arrested that new evidence pops up that puts Terry at a conference a few hours away at the time of the murder. So the question lies, how can one person be in two different places at once?
Stephen King's novel is categorized in the horror genre but one thing that Jason Bateman said he wanted to accomplish with the show is the dread and suspense vs. traditional horror. And 9 episodes in, I can attest that they absolutely nailed it. The storytelling is fantastic but one element, to me, that really drives the mood is the music. The shots, production, and editing are fantastic but what glues everything together is the soundtrack. It's such a perfect mix of unsettling and creepy that sets the tone of the show. When you're watching the show, the music basically tell you how you're supposed to feel for you and if that's not legit storytelling I don't know what is.
Another favorite thing of mine are the actors that have been cast for the show. Honestly, the entire cast ensemble is awesome. It doesn't even feel like I'm watching people act. But a couple of performances on this show I want to highlight are that of Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo.
Ben Mendelsohn's character is Detective Ralph Anderson, the cop assigned to the case of Frankie Peterson. Terry Maitland was arrested by the detective without being brought in/questioned because of said overwhelming DNA evidence. Though after Terry is arrested, I mentioned that new evidence surfaced completely contradicting everything Ralph and the rest of the prosecuting team found. Realizing he might have jumped to quickly on arresting Terry, Ralph spends the rest of the season trying to piece everything together and make sense of things. If you're not familiar with Ben Mendelsohn, he's an Australian actor that's been in movies like Rogue One and Captain Marvel. In Rogue One he plays a full on bad guy and it was fantastic. In Captain Marvel, he plays a Skrull named Talos. That movie was incredibly fun to watch but seeing his character being painted as the bad guy and it not turning out that way was so great -- especially his fear of Goose the Cat aka a Flerken. Anyway, my point is Ben Medelsohn's performance is acting AND storytelling at its best. I'm expecting him to receive a nomination in the Emmy's and Golden Globes next year.
The next performance I really loved was Cynthia Erivo. I had no idea she was in the show until she showed up a few episodes in. If you're not familiar with Cynthia Erivo she's known for her acting (and singing!) performance in Bad Times at the El Royale. She was also recently nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar for her performance in Harriet, a Harriet Tubman biographical film. She a phenomenal actress that originally started doing musical theatre in London. Cynthia plays a character named Holly Gibney on The Outsider and based on what I've read, she's a character that pops up in other Stephen King books. However, in this series, she plays a vital role as a private investigator in helping Ralph and a handful of other characters get to the bottom of the Frankie Peterson case. I'm not sure what Holly is like in the books but in the miniseries she's a savant investigator. A couple characters recommend her services to Ralph but preface by saying even though she's a bit eccentric, she's amazing at her job. I can't say enough about her performance, but similar to Ben Mendelsohn, I don't feel like I'm watching Cynthia Erivo act. I'm 100% sold on Holly Gibney. She's a real person, not a character.
Another favorite thing of mine about this show is, not knowing the backstory, I didn't realize the supernatural elements to it. I thought I was watching a really dramatic crime show, like True Detective or The Ozarks. So when they started revealing supernatural elements to the story, I was 100% on board. Here I was watching this show thinking they're trying to catch a sicko serial killer, but then they reveal the whole thing of Terry being in two places at once. I really related with Ralph in this instance because he's so grounded in logic and real evidence and I was thinking there must've been a logical explanation for someone being in two places at once. I love stories that are grounded in, I guess "real life", but have a small supernatural twist to it.
There's one episode left in this miniseries and I'm chomping at the bit to see what happens. I might come back to this post and add a little update after the last episode but I just couldn't wait another week to share this awesome show. If you have HBO and you haven't checked out this show, I highly recommend The Outsider. It's everything that I want and need in a horror crime drama. As the great Peter Klaven would say, "Sunday night programming on HBO. It's spectacular!"
Have any of you read the novel? I might have to pick it up after this show ends. If you've watched the show already I'd love to know your thoughts!