This mysterious western may be the craziest show out there, but the madness can be forgiven when it’s so darn engrossing and original. A possible cult classic in the making, this is unpredictable and highly entertaining binge material.
This review of the Amazon Prime Video series Outer Range season 1 does not contain any major spoilers.
Trust me, the marketing team has you fooled, this is not your standard crime thriller, there are many secrets and surprises to unlock in Amazon Prime Video’s latest binge series. Created by Brian Watkin’s, this eight-part western, starring your quintessential cowboy Josh Brolin (Marvel’s Thanos) as rancher Royal Abbott, is not just an extensive, serialized No Country for Old Men or a Yellowstone rip-off, in fact, its Wyoming wilderness backdrop is just a front for some seriously bizarre and eccentric behavior. The insanity that follows is ignited by the discovery of a mystical hole, which sits at the heart of this mystery.
Royal Abbott, the sheer epitome of the American man, finds this ungodly hole whilst searching for missing cattle on his large expanse of land. This eerie hole is perfectly round, pitch black in colour, with a fine layer of alien dust floating on its surface. Royal throws a rock into this sinister abyss, yet it doesn’t hit the bottom, this void feels never-ending. So, of course, as you do, when discovering an alien portal, Royal shoves his hand into this darkness. The hole provides the rancher with short-term visions of his near future and later it becomes his dumping ground for a multitude of sins.
The show has these fantastical elements scattered throughout it, but the main focus of Outer Range is the family drama at the centre of it all. The Abbotts are a close knit family unit, grounded by their religious mother Cecilia (The Conjuring’s Lili Taylor), compromising of the two parents, two sons and a granddaughter. Eldest son Perry (played by Ozark’s Tom Pelphrey) is burdened with a missing wife and his brother Rhett (Lewis Pullman) is an alcoholic bull rider. These cursed individuals are locked into a land dispute with their ranch neighbours the Tillersons and this bitter family rivalry leads to further tragedy.
The Abbott brothers are provoked into a drunken fight with Trevor Tillerson and their opponent is brutally murdered. Royal has the bright idea of hurling the corpse into his new magical abyss, setting the tale in motion. A gripping drama follows, with the series exploring the Abbott’s unwavering desire to cover-up this killing alongside the emotional impact of the collective lie. There’s a committed Deputy Sheriff on the case too and the introduction of an enigmatic camper (Imogen Poots) on their land only adds to their stresses.
Outer Range works best when it focuses on the family dynamics, addressing the mental ramifications of covering for the ones you love. Obviously there are other genres at play here as well and the show does boast some rather nifty twists and some tense action sequences. Those revelations are shockingly unpredictable, working within the narrative to keep viewers coming back for more with each closing chapter. This is a series you will want to see through to the end.
But it isn’t all plain sailing, the show is utterly and unashamedly bonkers insane, with many scenes and characters that would give David Lynch a run for his money. There are eye-roll moments a plenty and the craziness will turn a lot of viewers off straight away. You have been warned, this isn’t for the faint of heart. You must persevere and embrace the madness else this will become a difficult watch to endure. Two very distinct genres and two very different storylines are squeezed together to make a highly original if polarising series.
You can stream Outer Range Season 1 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
1 thought on “Outer Range Season 1 review – an insane but addictive cult series disguised as prestige TV drama”
Why is the video filmed from 2 to 4 f stops underexposed? Any effort for it to be artistic falls completely flat ( and dark)! It’s just annoying! Even makes for a poor audio book when all we can see is a black screen.