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Why you should give Outcasts a chance

The internet reaction has been swift and unapologetic, but here’s why I believe Outcasts is a good thing for UK television.

It must be terrifying to be a television producer these days watching your new show premiering for the very first time. First, there’s no escaping cynical bloggers, and now social media has exponentially amplified the critical reaction to television events.

Browsing Twitter, the reaction to last night’s premier of sci-fi series Outcasts would appear strained with pessimism. Comments say it was “poorly acted,” “staggeringly uninteresting” and “dull.” Now those are phrases I’ve been using to describe EastEnders for years, yet people continue to find something in that formulaic depiction of London life.

I’m not sure what the rest of the country was expecting – maybe a speeder bike chase through the wildness with vicious alien bats attacking? But an all singing, all dance, sci-fi thrill ride with typical action stereotypes is never what the show professed to be.

It’s not about CG images or nonsensical sci-fi techno babble. It’s about the one thing which we humans still can’t agree on: how to get along with each other.

It speaks volumes though that after a single episode of a serial drama, viewers are ready to switch off before it’s barely begun. This a sad state of affairs when the BBC is attempting to innovate with a genre that is rarely given a primetime slot.

In his blog post about Outcasts, writer Ben Richards wrote: “I wanted to explore second chances, most fundamentally whether humanity is genetically hardwired to make the same mistakes again and again.”

If one of those mistakes is shying away from originality – in favour of running back to the familiar embrace of The X Factor and EastEnders, then I’m sorry to say it may be a long time before UK audiences are ready to accept a sci-fi drama that challenges conventions – like Outcasts.

What has been condemned as a “safe and uneventful” opening may well be reflected upon as a sensible touch of restraint in future. Be it seamless or strenuous, the exposition has been laid and now the sky’s the limit. Personally, I would wish that the BBC avoid chasing ratings and continue to green light new ideas, as they have here.

Half the nation may have already given up on Outcasts, but I’m going to stick it out and see what lies beyond. After all, it is possible to be both an exile and a pioneer.

Aaron Lee

7 Comments on Why you should give Outcasts a chance

  1. So it’s ‘Survivors’ in space…lol what a load of Arse!

  2. Still giving it a chance. I gave up on Lost after the first episode and look where it went afterwards.

  3. I enjoyed it, but then I’m used to thinking outside the box and using my brain, even when watching television.
    I will watch the entire series before deciding whether or not it was any good. I didn’t expect the bells and whistles usually associated with US Sci-Fi programmes, I expected good drama, decent acting and an interesting plot that takes thought and attention. That is exactly what I got.
    I don’t expect TV to wipe my mind until it ceases to function, the programmes I watch take a little more effort than that. Perhaps it will only be popular with the people who still watch tv to have their mind stimulated and their brain cells engaged instead of the seemingly endless supply of mind numbing drivel we’re force fed by UK TV these days, but hopefully there are still enough of us to make an impact.

  4. I’m persevering, but there are so many holes in the plot they are in danger of falling in! Who would go to another planet and not take air and land transport? Have none of the designers and writers read any serious studies of Planetary colonisation?

  5. Madnurse3 // March 14, 2011 at 12:40 am //

    After watching the last episode I can not wait on the second series starting..Why has the BBC moved a great new show from prime time to when they think no-one will be watching.They receive a few bad revfiews and shelf the show for repeats..Hopefully we will not have to wait long for the second series

  6. I really want a 2nd series think it was a great show and is really happy that the BBC are doing something different.Also there is so much still to be explored.

  7. I thought it was great, and I am disappointed to hear its been cancelled. Ridiculous to leave us with no conclusion to the story.

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