Netflix YA series Outer Banks is hit and miss, but it grows in strength as Season 1 develops, giving it potential for a better second season.
This review of Netflix YA series Outer Banks season 1 contains no spoilers. The series will be out on the platform on April 15, 2020 – add it to your list now.
Netflix YA series Outer Banks is peculiar. It brings forth that manufactured teen-drama dynamic in the first three episodes but it forms into something entirely different by the end of Season 1. It’s easy to be fooled by the “3-star” rating and assume the series is better off parked for a rainy day, but do not be deterred — Outer Banks has bags of potential.
Gracing the YA thumbnails and shouldering up to the successful teen-drama 13 Reasons Why and fantasy-teen CAOS, Outer Banks Season 1 gives itself a fight; a rather subdued fight in most episodes, but often an element will surface that will unduly surprise audiences.
YA series Outer Banks follows a handsome teenager named John B; parent-less and living a life with zero accountability. The character is introduced to the audience with him sporting beachwear and sipping a Pabst beer, owning his own presence. John B lives in Outer Banks, an island in North Carolina and is part of a group called the Pogues; they associate themselves as the lower class of the island, and that’s where their loyalty serves. Their opposing, middle-class-rich foes are called the Kooks.
Overhanging John B’s life is that his father is presumed dead after going missing. There’s a hint that his father found some mysterious treasure. Outer Banks tries to combine a teen drama series with a treasure hunt and it… kind of works in its own spirits.
Outer Banks tries hard to appreciate island life with stereotypical beach parties, a love for boats and the willingness to fish. John B has a loyal group of friends, and each predictably has their own conflicted issues; for instance, Kiara should really be a Kook, but due to social reasons, considers herself a Pogue.
As the Netflix series progresses, the stakes increase and it brings forth real danger to John B and his friends. There’s more to their teenage problems, which almost feels secondary once the underlying treasure plot transforms. It’s unbelievable where the story starts versus where it ends — the plot development feels highly expressive, growing a monster of a story to formalise a potential Season 2.
And there’s plenty to grab from Outer Banks Season 1; love triangles, childhood issues, drugs, sibling rivalry, and every other teenage issue you could muster. Again, this is a Netflix YA series that with some writing consistency could be considered a satisfactory success. Its convoluted quality in the first half is what lets it down.
Netflix’s Outer Banks is a guilty pleasure. You know it’s garbage in many ways but fruitfully entertaining in others. It’s far from being hailed as a fantastic YA series but perhaps with a strong second season, this could form strong sea legs.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.