Airing on Cinemax on Friday June 3, the first episode of Outcast promises a thoroughly compelling new television series, the most compelling I’ve seen in a while.
Based on the comic of the same name written by Robert Kirkman (and in this opening episode, at least, the series is quite faithful to the comic), Outcast is not unlike Kirkman’s better-known epic, The Walking Dead—although the bleakness of Outcast seems more unrelieved, the characters and landscape more monochrome. Even though the world as we know it is not actually over yet in Outcast, the desolation seems more palpable—perhaps because the world is ending in a way that cuts a bit closer to home than the zombie apocalypse. Despite that difference, Outcast and The Walking Dead are similar in that each takes a violent and easily sensationalized horror subgenre (exorcism, zombies) and weaves it into the fabric of everyday life, creating a horror narrative that relies on realism to induce dread.
At the center of Outcast is Kyle Barnes (played brilliantly by Patrick Fugit). Kyle is the titular “outcast,” although the first episode ends without shedding light on what exactly that means. Kyle has returned to Rome, West Virginia, and is living alone in his childhood home on the outskirts of the dying town. Read more