‘Outer Range’ : I watched It! Should you?

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Have you ever sat there with the television’s dull light illuminating the space around you? It’s quiet; you’re bored or you want to relax after a long day of work. “Let’s watch something” you say to your significant other(boothang), yourself, or your cat- you scroll over to Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu,(whichever you prefer really) and it hits you. “what the hell do I watch?”

The choices are endless, and frankly by the time you can make a solid decision you’ve already wasted a good chunk of free time. But, I’m here to help.

In this series I’ll help you decide what to queue up or what to avoid as you scour the endless streaming services for your next dopamine hit, sleep aid, or deep dive into the world of cinematic storytelling.

Starting off by going into key basics of a show: Where you can watch it, the cast, genre, the official synopsis, and a little bit of background if it applies.

I know different people have different tastes in what shows they like, as well as how they like to consume their content. I’ll consider things like season status, episode counts, and run times so you have all the necessary information to make decision on whether to watch a show or not, even without a personalized opinion.

But it’s impossible for me to properly talk about shows without getting personal. Who would read anything written by some shmuck who didn’t even pay attention amirite?

I’m going to try my very best to avoid spoilers but I will not avoid bringing up things that I find as major flaws.

Let’s start talking Outer Range!

The Basics

Table of Contents

Synopsis

I couldn’t find a synopsis I liked, so I made one for Outer Range myself :

When Royal Abbott finds a mysterious Void on the West Pasture of his ranch, a series of events unfolds sending his family, and his world, into total disarray.

Genre/Network

Outer Range was produced by several different studios: Plan B Entertainment, Reunion Pacific Entertainment, and Amazon Studios.

It was distributed by Amazon Studios which means the only place you can watch it is Amazon Prime Video.

Outer Range is a neo Sci-Fi Western, and while that’s exactly what it is, I view it to be so much more than just that.

It clearly draws a lot of inspiration from various genres and sub-genres. I’ll be elaborating on this specifically later on, so read ahead.

Season Status/Episode Count

Outer Range is a brand new show. It was released on April 15, 2022.

The first season is short; with only 8 episodes, they range in length from 43 minutes being the shortest and 63 minutes being the longest.

They released two episodes initially, and then two more episodes weekly. Amazon Prime Video also used this format to release the highly anticipated 4th season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Season 1 Status: Completed

Principle Cast

This section is going to be pretty long. One of my favorite things about Outer Range is the cast. I’ll be avoiding going too in-depth here, because I’ll be bringing them back later on in the article.

Josh Brolin

In his first TV Appearance in almost 20 years, Josh Brolin plays the Main Character and Patriarch of the Abbott Family. Your classic cowboy he’s solemn, quiet, and full of secrets.

Josh Brolin gives an absolutely spectacular performance throughout the entire season.

Josh Brolin as Royal Abbott
Josh Brolin as Royal Abbott

Josh Brolin has had an incredibly extensive career. Outer Range wasn’t his first rodeo(haha get it?) in the world of Westerns, and while I’m just starting to get into the genre(probably because of it’s resurgence) I have little doubt that this performance is going to go down as a legendary one.

To see what else he’s appeared in you can check out his IMDB Page here.

Lili Taylor

Playing the Matriarch of the Abbott Family, Lili Taylor gives a pretty good performance as Cecilia Abbott. She’s incredibly tough, loving, and compassionate but oh man is she a force to be reckoned with.

As the story unfolds we watch her question her faith in God and try to keep her family intact.

Lili Taylor as Cecilia Abbott
Lili Taylor as Cecilia Abbott

This is my first time seeing Lili Taylor on a screen, but it was quite clear that she is a seasoned actress. To see what else she was in, of course, check out her IDBM Page here.

Tom Pelphrey

The eldest son of the Abbott family, Perry Abbott is grieving. It’s been 9 months since his wife mysteriously vanished. Still dealing with his loss, while raising eyebrows around town and raising his daughter, He’s a kind man who’s prone to drink a little too much and get a little too angry.

Tom Pelphrey as Perry Abbott
Tom Pelphrey as Perry Abbott

You’ll probably recognize Tom Pelphrey as Ben Davis from Ozark or as Ward Meachum from Iron Fist.

For a full list of his credits check out his IMDB Page here

Lewis Pullman

The second son of the Abbott family, Rhett Abbott followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a local Rodeo Hero. A family man through and through he loves his parents, his brother and his niece, but dreams of leaving the family Ranch.

He serves as a supporting character throughout the show and doesn’t get too much character development but I’m sure his story isn’t over.

Lewis Pullman as Rhett Abbott
Lewis Pullman as Rhett Abbott

Lewis Pullman hasn’t been around for a long time, but he has a total of 5 different appearances in 2022 alone. To see his full list of credits and what he’ll be appearing in this year, check out his IMDB Page here.

Imogen Poots

Imogen, Imogen, Imogen. If I could choose only a single way to sell Outer Range to those that are curious, it would be Imogen Poots. She is absolutely stellar throughout the entire show.

Autumn Rivers finds her way onto the Abbott Ranch for some “camping.” Mysterious, clearly not from the area, and branded a “hippy”, she takes a central role and is a constant driving force in the story.

She’s gone into extensive detail about her character, which you can check out an interview she did for DigitalSpy.

Imogen Poots as Autumn Rivers
Imogen Poots as Autumn Rivers

To see what else she’s been in check out her IMDB Page here.

Noah Reid

If you’re a fan of Schitt’s Creek(which, let’s be real, you can’t not be) then you’ll definitely recognize Noah Reid. He’s the only one of the Tillerson clan I’ve featured here because he’s… well, the best.

The youngest and most innocent of the family, Billy Tillerson is a shockingly complex character if you peel back all the comedic relief that he provides throughout the show. We see him singing to himself(and sometimes others) throughout the show, which makes sense since Noah Reid is also a musician.

Noah Reid as Billy Tillerson
Noah Reid as Billy Tillerson

For more of Noah Reid, check out his IMDB Page here.

Tamara Podemski

Deputy Sherriff Joy Hawk finds herself in a unique position in Outer Range, after the previous Sheriff dies, she’s now the face of law and order in the county. A Native American, with a loving wife and child, she’s very different from her constituents. And she’s constantly reminded of it.

She’s smart, she’s tough, and she understands that there’s a long uphill climb ahead for her to achieve her goals.

Trying to balance her identity with the person she wants to be is no easy task for anyone, let alone someone who’s trying to get elected as the new Sheriff. Joy Hawk is at the center of a huge cliffhanger at the end of season 1, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what happens with her character as Outer Range continues.

Tamara Podemski as Sherriff Joy Hawk
Tamara Podemski as Deputy Sherriff Joy Hawk

For more on Tamara Podemski check out her IMDB Page here.

Olive Abercrombie

Olive Abercrombie is the youngest cast member(with a speaking role) in Outer Range. The playing Amy Abbott, she’s dealing with the mysterious disappearance of her mother. Though her family tries to protect her from the constant events in the show, she’s an intelligent child who understands a lot more than the rest of her family wants her to.

Child Actors tend to be hit or miss in my opinion, but in this case, it’s definitely a hit. Olive carries her characters story like a seasoned veteran and frequently shines throughout the show.

Olive Abercrombie as Amy Abbott
Olive Abercrombie as Amy Abbott

To see what else Olive has appeared in, check out her IMDB page here.

How I Watched it

I watched Outer Range sporadically over the course of two weeks. I only did this because after watching the first episode, I realized that the rest of the show wasn’t out yet so I figured I’d wait.

The rewatch value on this show is incredibly high and I know for a fact that i’ll be watching it again soon enough.

Impressions

So Many Themes

Religion/Cultures

Outer Range is filled with different themes. I’ll give a super simple breakdown(sorry but it’s still long lol) of them so I don’t spoil too much.

Outer Range features tons of symbolism from three different cultures. The first, and what sets up the foundation of the story is Greek Mythology. The show opens up with the story of the Greek God Cronus(Chronos).

If you’re unfamiliar with the story it goes something like this: Cronus was the youngest of the 12 Titans, the son of Uranus(Heaven) and Gaea(Earth) he was inquisitive and explorative. One day, he castrates his father with a sickle, which, in turn, separates the Heavens from the Earth and thus creating Time.

Cronus is also referred to as Father Time, and was revered as a god of the Harvest in Greek Mythology. To me this is fitting in the context of the story(I wont spoil don’t worry) and will connect us to another of the remaining two cultures, Christianity.

Christianity, as I’d imagine many know is one of the 3 Abrahamic Religions. The first of the 3 Abrahamic Religions, and the first monotheistic(important here imo) is Judaism, the second was Christianity, and the third being Islam.

I am in no way, shape or form a theologist but I always found the concept of Faith, especially Faith in a higher power to be fascinating and always take an interest in religion when it appears in media. So much that, I find myself researching myths and history of all religions pretty frequently.

In the Abrahamic Religions, the one true god is also considered to be Father of Time. Boom connection. It makes sense that at the foundation there would be similarities, seeing as Judaism, the root of the monotheistic religions, shared similarities with the Greek Pantheon because they had to have been interacting at least somewhat during antiquity.

The same story also would also appear later in the Roman Mythologies as well as earlier in Indian Mythologies.

However, Christianity plays a very central role in the story, seeing as one of our characters is very religious, and their beliefs are central to their character arc.

I’m sure you’re wondering what that third culture is now that you’ve read my little rant, and, that’s the Culture and Religion of the Native Americans.

I know that beliefs vary from tribe to tribe but in Outer Range we see a type of modern Native American Culture where, tribes are seemingly more connected than they were before they were beginning to be slaughtered by colonizers. I don’t know much about the Native American cultures, so this opened up a whole line of curiosity for me.

In many Westerns, Native Americans are often Antagonists(villains) but in Outer Range they’re people with hopes, dreams, and a rich history and culture. For a show that’s about how people tackle the Unknown, it makes sense to include Native Americans(especially in Wyoming) because well, there’s still a lot that people don’t know(by design tbh) about their culture.

The Unknown

The Unknown, is something that’s lingered in the minds of humans since the dawn of time. The first humans probably gazed up into the night at the flickering stars in awe. And, I imagine, that is how the first religions were formed, by way to explain the stars in the sky and the universe around them.

Of course, as time went on and we began to learn more and more, we understood more and more. But there are still many things that nobody knows for sure.

Everyone handles the idea of the Unknown differently, and it’s portrayed beautifully with all of our characters in Outer Range. Some, tackle the ideas with skepticism, some with an open curiosity, some with a sense of dread or hatred, some trying to maintain a balance, some don’t think about it at all.

This is definitely going in a rant-like philosophical direction so ima cut it short here.

Symbolism

If you’ve read any of my other articles in the ‘Should You Watch’ then you’ll know I revere cinematography and the visual language of Television and Film.

Outer Range is no different, but I wanted to approach the cinematography of the show from a different point. Sure, Outer Range is beautifully shot, but it’s so filled with visual symbolism that connects all of the themes in the show that I had to approach it a little differently.

There are constant(and very confusing) symbols throughout the show. A buffalo with two arrows, a sign in the Abbott Home that reads

Music

Outer Range has an impressive soundtrack. There is a massive list of songs most will recognize throughout the show, and at the start of each episode I found myself wondering “What’re we going to hear in this one?!”

I found a full list of the soundtrack in Outer Range. Enjoy!

The Cast

I always feature some of the principle cast earlier on in these articles but I wanted to put a seperate section specifically to say, the acting in Outer Range is stellar.

Every character in Outer Range is important to the story and has an impact, no matter how big or small their role is.

Whether it’s the result of incredible writing or really good direction throughout… I don’t know. Let’s just say both.

How I recommend Watching It

While Outer Range is very binge-worthy I recommend watching it slowly.

An episode a day or an episode every few days. The reason for this is because there is a lot to break down in each episode. The story can get very confusing and it’s very easy to miss minor details that add even more depth to a show that’s already complex.

If you choose to binge it anyway, fret not, I know for a fact that many people will be revisiting Outer Range more than once, I know that I will.

Should You watch?

If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi or Westerns then Outer Range is a must-see. If you’re a fan of both, then I hope you haven’t even finished this article and turned it on yourself. If you’re not a fan of either, then you definitely will be after Outer Range.

While the story can get convoluted at times, the first season has a spectacular ending rife with cliffhangers and leaving more questions asked than answered. I have no doubt that Outer Range will see at least 3 seasons, and I hope that it wraps up with a Season 4.

Outer Range is filled with symbolism, religion, and a peek into the world today(as it should).

The cast is absolutely fantastic, from recognizable veterans such as Josh Brolin, Tom Phelphrey, and Tamara Podemski to slightly fresher faces with Noah Reid, Imogen Poots, and Olive Abercrombie; almost everyone in the cast gives a spectacular performance.

The soundtrack in Outer Range is fantastic as well, I catch myself humming the songs featured in the show over and over again. I also introduced me to some artists I may not have listened to otherwise. Big bonus for me.

I wouldn’t recommend Outer Range to people who like to use shows as background noise, this is a show that requires your attention.

I give Outer Range 8.5 Yeehaws out of 10.

Trailer

If you’re not already convinced to watch Outer Range then check out the trailer below!

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