Oh dear. Where do we begin, readers? I found myself watching the first episode of BBC One’s Outcasts tonight, hoping for gritty sci-fi drama and finding a tedious space colony that borrowed heavily from every other space series.
Human beings have branched out to a desert-like planet they’re calling Carpathia. With planet Earth presumably wasted by humanity, the last survivors are trickling across space to live on this new planet. However, it’s not the fresh new start for humanity that you might have hoped for, and it seems there’s a rising schism between the powers that be and a small group of…I don’t know what you’d call them.
The thing is, as a pilot episode Outcasts failed to engage the viewers. I always lament the fact that more shows don’t have a Knight Rider or A Team style intro monologue to explain the premise of the show. Outcasts could have done with one, because most of the viewers showed up tonight for a science fiction show and found a bafflingly dull cliche. It kept coming back to one simple question – what’s this show about again?
Characters…so incredibly hard to give a damn about any of them. And that’s after watching Daniel Mays leading a pig around. Sadly the black market bacon joke may have been the highlight of the episode. We had a President Richard Tate who seemed to be a solid ruler, though more of a military leader than a president. We had the psychotic Mitchell Hoborn who (we think) bashed his wife on the head, escaped from the compound, then tried to smother his son. But then got scandalously shot dead before the end of the episode. And still it was hard to care.
With your first episode, you’re supposed to reel the viewers in. Make them want to come back for more.
You know the only thing that makes me want to watch a second episode of Outcasts? I want to see Daniel from Ugly Betty. I want to work out what persuaded Eric Mabius to sign up for what appears on the strength of this first episode to be a deadly dull space colony. The people who died on that spaceship at the end of the episode may have had a lucky escape.
Come on readers, help me out here. Am I being too hard about Outcasts? Give me a reason to tune in for a second episode!