Netflix’s “Outer Banks” almost hits the jackpot


Courtesy of @obx instagram

Netflix Original “Outer Banks” released on April 15, 2020, claiming the #1 spot for over four weeks.

By Maya Bhattiprolu, Online Editor

The Outer Banks. Paradise on Earth. Love, guns and war between two social classes. And $400 million worth of undiscovered gold. 

Set in North Carolina, Netflix’s “Outer Banks” follows John B (Chase Stokes) and his crew: JJ (Rudy Pankow), the abused teen always down for an adventure; Pope (Jonathon Daviss), the scholarship-bound kid who does everything to risk it; and Kiara (Madison Bailey), the socialist-turned-surfer who would do anything for her friends. Known as the Pogues, they spend their days working two jobs and their nights having a good time. 

Where there is Pogues, there is also the Kooks: the upper class rivals who own two homes. Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline) is the epitome of a rich snob: queen of the Kooks with a jerk of a boyfriend named Topper (Austin North). The two groups constantly conflict with each other. 

After the mysterious disappearance of John B’s father nine months prior and a hurricane devastates the town, the crew stumbles upon a sunken boat, leading them on a dangerous wild goose chase for the wreck of the Royal Merchant ship and its infamous treasure. 

While the premise of the show is intriguing, there are multiple plot holes and unrealistic expectations set. After spending one day together, Sarah and John B fall madly in love. Not to mention the fact that she was already in a relationship and had a history of cheating, which is a major red flag. The show glorifies infidelity and implies that, in certain circumstances, it is necessary and excusable. 

Second, many characters were left undeveloped or not given a character arc. Pope, the intelligent one of the group, was often overlooked and not given any other personality trait other than being overly obsessed with his currently non-existent scholarship. Topper is left to be understood as the crazy ex who is obsessed with Sarah, when in actuality he had every right to confront her and John B. 

Wheezie (Julia Antonelli), Sarah’s bratty little sister, was often more relatable than the main characters, even though she was not designed to come off that way.  Rafe (Drew Starkey), Sarah’s aggressive older brother, was engaged in multiple illegal actions but ultimately never seems to go to jail or repent for his wrongdoings. 

Sarah had absolutely no personality and was deeply flawed. Her only trait was the attempt at being the exception to the stereotypical shallow Kook. John B, given the choice between his girlfriend of 24 hours or his best friend, could not seem to pick the obvious answer. Although Kiara’s character was more likeable, she paled in comparison to the spotlight given to Sarah. Kiara risked her life for her friends and always looked out for them, something the guys took for granted numerous times.

Despite these character flaws, “Outer Banks,” in its entirety, does manage to capture the feeling of freedom and living life to the fullest. With no wifi, no phones and no screens, it is like life in the 1980s, before the world revolved around technology and social media. The characters are not afraid to party and have fun. The show is pure adventure and excitement, an aspect that makes it very appealing to viewers.  

It is also relatable to teens, even with actors surpassing teenage years (Stokes and Starkey were 26 while filming). The characters have amazing chemistry, in both platonic and romantic relationships. The cast, especially Pankow, brought light humor to otherwise dark scenes, some of which included improvised dialogue, easily making the show ten times better. 

Even with an entirely predictable plot, Netflix managed to create an engaging and suspenseful show. It is easy to tell the series will likely get another three or four more seasons. For viewers who want an adventurous new show to binge, the hour-long episodes of  “Outer Banks” are perfect.