Head-to-Head: Outer Banks has compelling plot and engaging characters

Maeve Dietrich, Staff Writer

Shannon Burke and the Pate brothers’ creation of a new hit Netflix series Outer Banks has sparked a phenomenon on screen as well as in the media. With the rare situation the world is facing, this well-developed cast entertains Netflix subscribers with an electrifying number one ranking ten-episode series that premiered April 15. The exhilarating show follows the adventure of John B. Rutledge (Chase Stokes), a sixteen-year-old who’s father mysteriously disappeared on a $400 million heist nine months prior to the present, and his surf rat friends to finish Big John’s mission.

The series puts an ingenious twenty-first-century spin on the West Side Story rich-versus-poor elements:  there are the Kooks, who have a luxurious lifestyle and reek of daddy’s money, and the Pogues, a group of four best friends, John B., JJ (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), and Kiera (Madison Bailey), who are the working-class citizens living paycheck to paycheck. The feud between the two is riveting, as both groups of people feel that they have to have eyes on the back of their heads all the time. This caused me to feel constantly on edge while viewing. The writers do a superb job in defending both sides, as nobody has it easy during this journey. The villains all have ulterior motives, and those are explained tremendously well throughout the first season. 

The compelling plot had me constantly on the edge of my seat when watching the series for the first time. A group of law-bending teenagers who are just trying to have a lazy summer go on a captivating goose chase and turn into young Ben Gates’s. The storyline is clear as day. Some movies and series can try to shove too much information at the audience, but not Outer Banks. There was something so intriguing about this show that I reacted out loud with them. I laughed when they did and my stomach dropped with them when something devastating happened. Being left off the ultimate cliffhanger was a brilliant tactical move from the creators, which will have the audience eager for a second season.

Despite most of the cast being in their mid-to-late twenties, I have never seen a production capture teenagers so accurately. Many shows’ outfit choices miss the mark completely with teenage life, either dressing them like twelve-year-olds or fully-grown adults. There was not one outfit that seemed out of touch or too unrealistic. Lots of teens are so intrigued by the characters and their stories because their persona and style are so similar to people in their lives or even themselves.

Although probably not initially intentional, Outer Banks brings an escape from the reality we are facing right now with the beautiful chaos that these high school aged people are going through. Season two will be a wild ride and can not get here fast enough.