Amazon Prime Video has been building up one of the most impressive content libraries in the streaming space. The giant company has been spending a lot of money on creating original content that includes top talent behind and in front of the cameras. The effort seems to be paying off, as Prime Video stands just behind Netflix and Disney+ as the most popular streaming platform.
To make that library of content even stronger, Prime Video now releases Outer Range. The show is a mystery thriller centered around the Abbott family, owners of a ranch in the state of Wyoming, as they struggle to keep hold of their land and also reveal the mysteries the land holds as well.
Outer Range is heavily influenced by both Yellowstone, with its emphasis on character and family drama on the ranch, and Lost, with its heavily mystery-influenced plot lines and strong cliffhangers at the end of each episode. These are two of the most popular shows on television, so it seems like a no-brainer that combining the two shows would also create something incredible.
The last statement is still on the fence. Yellowstone is an amazing show, and Lost was no less than a phenomenon, and yet, both series have many detractors. It is a risky business. On paper, the idea seems fine, but the execution of the idea will be the deciding factor that can make or break this show forever. So far, though, Outer Range seems to be on the right track. The series manages to create an engaging character drama and also throws out a bunch of questions while building up the lore behind everything that is happening in the universe.
The questions are many, and at least in the first episodes of the show, only hints are being thrown. This is fine. Most people need to understand that being patient with these kinds of shows is a must. There needs to be a level of trust with the creators, we need to believe that they know what they are doing, if not at a plot level, at least at a character level.
If that trust doesn’t exist or the audience is not willing to offer it, then watching the show will become a waste of time. So, for audiences wanting to hate on this type of show, the best thing you can do is not watch. If, on the other hand, you are willing to open your mind and let the ride guide you, this could be your new favorite show.
The show moves naturally between its most mundane and fantastical aspects, so plotwise, not one single element overstays its welcome, things are always moving. Sadly, a compromise to keep things engaging is to lose a bit of character development. Just a couple of characters have received enough time in the spotlight to see an interesting picture of them. All the others are just bystanders, and that is a shame because the cast this show has is something to brag about.
All the actors are fantastic, but the ones who really stand out are, of course, Josh Brolin, Imogen Poots and also Lili Taylor. Brolin’s charisma and presence on screen cannot be overstated. He puts the show on his shoulders, and he manages to keep it afloat all the time. Royal is a complex character thrown into a complex situation. It is quite intriguing to see how Royal makes decisions with so much on his table. Brolin also pulls off some monologues here and there that are quite sweet.
Imogen Poots, plays the other main character in the show, a mysterious young woman named Autumn. The character is a mystery unto itself, everything she does generates questions, but Poots uses her innate charisma to cover all of these layers of mystery behind the face of a person looking for something. You can see the excitement in her voice and in her eyes each time she seems to be close to her objective.
Lili Taylor, as Cecilia, Royal’s wife, is also a standout. So far, her presence on screen is quite minor, but every time she shows up, there is the potential for something great. Brolin and Lili have great chemistry; you can feel their love for each other and their years of experience working as a team.
Brian Watkins serves as showrunner, and in such a role, he has put a bullseye on his back. The series has excellent production values, and the scenery in Wyoming is breathtaking, but a show of this caliber cannot be sustained indefinitely. When the time comes, and it will come, audiences will want answers no matter what. Let’s trust that Watkins and his team have satisfactory answers, and let’s hope they are able to deliver them at the right moment.
For those ready to take the leap of faith, Outer Range is captivating and entertaining. It is a mystery worth going back to each week.