From the makers of the award-winning and international hit series Life on Mars, MI-5, and Hustle comes the new high-concept drama Outcasts. When Earth becomes uninhabitable, a surviving group of pioneers decides to leave for the planet Carpathia to rebuild their lives, and hopefully the human race.
The series takes viewers into a new frontier as it explores survival, sex, politics, and the drive for power in a new post-Earth era. And as the group continue to work and live together, they come to realize that this brave new world harbors a lurking mystery that threatens to topple the fragile peace they built. Created by Ben Richards (MI-5), the series stars Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty, The L Word), Liam Cunningham (Clash of the Titans), and Hermione Norris (MI-5, Wire In The Blood).
I've got good news and bad news about the BBC show 'Outcasts.' We'll start with the good. The first season is fabulous. It's almost like BBC's version of 'Lost,' except the people here have had to take up refuge on a distant planet because Earth has been all but destroyed. Only it takes 'Outcasts' eight whole episodes to tell a story that took 'Lost' around two and a half seasons to tell. 'Outcasts' is far more condensed than 'Lost' ever was, but it's still just as much fun.
The people of Earth have made their way to a new planet called Carpathia. It's a strange world, but the people have managed to build a city there called Fort Haven. They've set up leadership, an army, and a police force. They hope to create a society that doesn't have all the problems that the ones on Earth had. They hope that they can manage to create a sort of utopia. A place where humans can live in peace. Will they make the same mistakes that they did on Earth? Are humans doomed to inevitable extinction because of their inherent greed and violent tendencies? All these questions are posed in 'Outcasts.' They make you think. Could something like this really work, or are they working toward a pipe dream reality?
There are roughly 70,000 inhabitants of Carpathia, but the show only focuses on a few faces that turn up again and again. The president of Carpathia is Richard Tate (Liam Cunningham). He was elected by the people after they landed. Tate's nemesis is Julius Berger (Eric Mabius) who arrives on what is thought to be the last transport shuttle from Earth. If Julius had a parallel in 'Lost' it would be Ben Linus. Julius is constantly trying to play people off on one another. Trying to stir up controversy and usurp power. He's secretly greedy and power hungry. His and Tate's confrontational relationship is one of the best parts of the series.
Cass Cromwell (Daniel Mays) and Fleur Morgan (Amy Manson) are partners in the Carpathia police force. Cass is noticeably in love with Fleur, and Fleur tries to ignore it. Jack Holt (Ashley Walters) is the city's military leader who also has a thing for Fleur. Stella Isen (Hermione Norris) is a member of the president's cabinet and is in charge of the city's security. She's hoping that her daughter is among those on the last transport from Earth. Finally, there's Tipper Malone (Michael Legge) a young man who was brought to Carpathia because of his prodigy brain.
Just like in 'Lost', the people of Carpathia face threats from others and even other others. The planet seems to have a mind of its own. People hallucinate things about their past lives. It's all very much like 'Lost', but never feels like a direct copy. It's got its own pulse, and it's extremely addicting to watch.
Okay, now you want the bad news? The BBC canceled the series at the end of season one. This will be the only eight episodes you'll ever get to see. This is terrible since the last episode ends with so many cliffhangers it's almost as if you wasted eight hours of your life watching a story that will never come to any type of resolution. I still loved every minute of the show, but after it was over and I read the news about it being canceled, I felt like I'd been conned. I'd been tricked into caring for these people and their situation and now I'm never going to find out what happens to them. It's a shame too, because 'Outcasts' is one of the best sci-fi television shows I've seen in quite sometime.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
The first series of 'Outcasts' comes to Blu-ray from BBC. It's a two-disc set with each disc having it's own hub on the inside of the standard Blu-ray keepcase. Both discs are 50GB Blu-ray Discs.
'Outcasts' is presented in 1080i here. While the differences are pretty negligible between 1080i and 1080p during the daytime scenes, the nighttime scenes are certainly a different story.
Fine detail is very nice when the lights are on or the sun is shining. Carpathia is bathed in a yellowish glow because the entire city is built in what appears to be a desert. Dingy whites, and earthy browns dominate the color palette. Facial details look great. Fine facial hair along with pores and age lines are easily visible during the daylight hours.
When the lights are turned off it's easy to see the digital noise accompanying the picture. Noise dances in the blacker areas, while crush is a frequent offender. I didn't notice any sort of blocking or banding though. It's just that the nighttime scenes are overly noisy and will most likely detract from your viewing.
I was very disappointed in the audio here. All you're going to get is a 2.0 Dolby Digital track. This show really could have benefitted with a 5.1 lossless track since there's so much action, but alas we're stuck with an anemic stereo track that fails to capture the grandeur of the show.
There isn't much else to say. Dialogue is always intelligible, but lacks a sense of directionality because it's blaring out of the two front channels and not through the center. There are giant sandstorms on Carpathia which could've been great in surround sound, but with this stereo track their just a whirling mess of sound up front.
It's just disappointing that a show of this caliber wasn't given the proper treatment, but how could it be? It had already been canceled so skimping on the Blu-ray was inevitable.
It's hard to actually recommend 'Outcasts' since once you watch these eight episodes, it's over, despite all the stories left completely unresolved. You may find yourself as mad as I was. I wanted more. The show is really good, but it's been canceled, so that puts a wrench in the works. To recommend something means I think you should go out and buy it, but I don't think that here. The video is decent, but the audio needs some work – which it will never get. Plus, you won't want to start in on a new series just to be left hanging in the end. I still want people to see this show, so a rental may do here, but sadly that's about it.