There is just something about British humor that clicks more often than not. This inexplicable quality that the Brits have is priceless. Not only does it make the content organic, but also combusts well with the more somber and deep thematic exposition in the storytelling. We have been given some great shows over the years because of this cherished combination, and The Outlaws is no different.
The Prime presentation centers around a group of seven individuals serving their community payback service together. Their task is to renovate the local community center. However, an unexpected robbery involving one of the persons from the group changes the complete dynamic by making all of them complicit in the crime. At six episodes long, The Outlaws has a lot to offer in a small amount of time.
The show does not rely on atmospheric visuals or innovation in commonplace technical norms. It excels on the back of consistent themes such as the value of human connection, the variability of choices, and how living with the consequences of those actions becomes a part of life.
In many ways, The Outlaws is about the strength of togetherness of strangers that are bound by the mutuality of their circumstances. With so many goofy characters and peculiar situations, creator Stephen Merchant ensures that the journey is full of laughs.
Inadvertently, like many other shows, The Outlaws drags a bit in the middle. It briefly enters the territory of mediocrity but not for long. The A-list cast including the likes of Christopher Walken, Stephan Merchant, and Eleanor Tomlinson, churn out heartfelt performances that augment the feel-good factor for the series.
The personal investment in these characters’ journey steadily increases with each episode, giving the viewer a rewarding experience in the end. Tomlinson is the star of the show, in my opinion, effortlessly putting the charms on in a moment’s time. Her’s is probably the most complex of the lot, in terms of personality and familial issues. But she makes it look all a bit too easy.
One big letdown by Merchant and co was the handling of action sequences and the transition between multiple plotlines. The switch from the Halloran household to the Rekowski’s was not seamless and looked forced at times. It is not uncommon for shows to struggle like this though.
With this big an ensemble, there was bound to be some mismatch in tone. But for The Outlaws, it sustains for quite a bit. More often than not, the convenience of film fiction allows them an easy way out.
A lot of things remain unresolved going into the second season. I am fearful of the prospect of this trend repeating again due to the bag load of this unfinished business. A longer season could have afforded them the time but the development falls short of the mark by some distance.
Season 1 is definitely binge-worthy from the word go. The show’s occasional veering off the pace is redeemed by the heartwarming characters and their real-life problems. It is good news that a second season has already been commissioned with shooting due to start this year. The central conceit, though, yet remains to be clear. Will the BH gang and the Dean finally play a part, or will there be a new introduction of a plot altogether? All will be answered in due time – hopefully!
Verdict - 7/10