Outcasts

OutcastsOutcasts is a Science Fiction serial that ran on BBC1 beginning in February 2011. Because we don’t have cable, and it seem not many liked the show, I had no idea of it’s existence until Netflix recommended it to me. I’ve been watching episodes of it off and on for the past few weeks. It has elements in it’s story that are very similar to both Terra Nova and the old school Earth 2. It’s most likely that these striking similarities are the reason why I thought the show was fantastic.

The basic premise is this: In the background story, which is told through narrations and bits and pieces from the characters in the show, Earth was on the brink of total destruction from a nuclear war. Nuclear arms had been used, and were still being used. A certain groups of people (seemingly most from the UK)  were chosen to undertake a five year space journey to a newly discovered “Goldilocks Planet“. It is never made known which of the Earth’s countries developed the technology to make the voyage, or by what way the lucky ones were chosen. The hope was that Humanity would survive in a new colony on this far away planet, as the Earth’s remaining madmen destroy the world in a lust for power and wealth.

Outcasts 2The story begins ten years after the first ship arrives on the planet, which is named by it’s settlers as “Carpathia”. As it happens the planet is pretty rough to live on, but livable. The people living there have done their best to keep a peaceful life, leaving the greed, lust for power behind, and embracing, or at the very least tolerating differences in people. The city of nearly 70 thousand is nearly entirely secular UNTIL, the last of the transport ships arrives, bringing with it a man who begins attempting to re-introduce religion to the populace (not for spiritual reasons, rather in an obvious attempt to cause chaos). From there the story becomes a haywire mess of human failings (jealousy, avarice, fear, etc)  vs. reason.

The primary story is one of human relationships and behavior, but it is intermixed and interrupted by intrigue and various science fiction elements such as new diseases, genetic clones and you guessed it, aliens. While this alien force is a danger to them, the biggest danger is still one coming from earth, which doesn’t come to full realization until the last few minutes of the last episode that was made. The serial only made it to eight episodes due to terrible terrible ratings. It actually only aired five episodes in the prime time slot before it was cancelled, and the last three episodes aired in a late night time slot for the benefit of the die hard fans.

Like Terra Nova and Earth 2, Outcasts was cut off before it could become fully realized.  It seems that these kinds of shows just aren’t stupid enough or fast acting enough for the general populace, and even for many of the critics. Outcasts did manage to bring the serial to some kind of a climax, unfortunately it ended on a cliffhanger. I would definitely recommend you give it a go, even if you will be left on the edge of your seat at the end, never being able to see what happens in the next chapter.

Outcasts is currently available on Netflix Watch it Now and on DVD from Amazon. It has run on BBC America in the summer of 2011, I don’t know if it will run again.

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2 Responses to “Outcasts

  • I watched all of the episodes available on netflix, and am truly sad it stopped where it did. I was pretty emotionally invested in the characters at that point: I want to know what happens to them! Several actors will be very recognizable to fans of other BBC shows such as Dr Who, and even though it is similar to other shows I found it different enough to be entertained.

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