The Outsider is an horror crime miniseries directed by Jason Bateman (Ozark, Bad Words, & The Family Fang), Andrew Bernstein (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Ozark, Castle Rock, & Fear the Walking Dead), Daina Reid (The Handmaid’s Tale), Charlotte Brändström (Madam Secretary), J.D. Dillard (The Twilight Zone), Karyn Kusama (XX), & Igor Martinovic (House of Cards). It’s based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Stephen King (Castle Rock, Maximum Overdrive, Silver Bullet, Doctor Sleep, IT, Pet Sematary, & Creepshow) who also wrote for the show. The miniseries was written, produced, & created by Richard Price (The Wire, Clockers, Ransom, Sea of Love, Shaft, & The Color of Money). It premiered on HBO January 2020.
In Georgia, the mutilated corpse of a young boy Frank Peterson is found covered in saliva & human bite marks. Local detective Ralph Anderson (played by: Ben Mendelsohn from Animal Kingdom, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Ready Player One, Captain Marvel, & The Dark Knight Rises) quickly identifies strong evidence pointing to Little League coach Terry Maitland (played by: Jason Bateman from Arrested Development, Game Night, Horrible Bosses 1/2, Smokin’ Aces, & Teen Wolf Too) including testimony from multiple witnesses & security camera footage. Ralph, whose own late son was coached by Terry is enraged & he has him publicly arrested at a Little League game. Terry insists on his innocence & his wife Glory (played by: Julianne Nicholson from Boardwalk Empire, Masters of Sex, Kinsey, & Law & Order: Criminal Intent) calls their family lawyer Howard Salomon (played by: Bill Camp from Joker, Vice, Public Enemies, The Kitchen, & Black Mass). Alec Pelley (played by: Jeremy Bobb from Jessica Jones, The Kitchen, Under the Silver Lake, & Manhunt: The Unabomber), a private investigator hired by Salomon tracks down evidence that Terry was at an out-of-town conference at the time of the murder including news footage of Terry speaking at the conference. Both sides are left with extremely decisive but contradictory evidence. Salomon is certain Terry will be vindicated but Terry is left in jail waiting for his arraignment. Meanwhile, the Peterson family disintegrates with Frank’s mother suffering an emotional breakdown that escalates into a heart attack. A hooded figure with a grotesquely deformed face lingers outside the Maitlands’ house & Glory finds her younger daughter suffering from apparent nightmares of a man in her room telling her “bad things”. This leads to several people around experiencing bizarre & similar events. People like Jeannie Anderson (played by: Mare Winningham from American Horror Story, Under the Dome, The Affair, & Wyatt Earp), Claude Bolton (played by: Paddy Considine from Child 44, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, & Dead Man’s Shoes), Yunis Sablo (played by: Yul Vazquez from Fresh), Jack Hoskins (played by: Marc Menchaca from Ozark), Holly Gibney (played by: Cynthia Erivo from Harriet), Seale Bolton (played by: Max Beesley from Suits), Tamika Collins (played by: Hettienne Park from Hannibal), & Andy Katcavage (played by: Derek Cecil from House of Cards) are forced to deal with the dangerous & mysterious situation as things get weirder. What will happen next????
The Outsider is not constant at all but it does have it’s highlights. The first four episodes (two of them were directed by Jason Bateman) started out great & they are the best parts of the show. They could have easily been put together as a feature film & it would have probably been much better that way to be honest. The middle gets weird & off track for a little bit, some of it just feels like filler material. The last few episodes make up for all of that & end the miniseries strong for this season. Jason Bateman kept busy on this project. He was basically the lead for the first few episodes, he produced The Outsider, & he directed two of the best episodes for it. This is one of his high quality performances in his career & I love his character for this. He has been on fire lately with serious roles, he has been killing on Ozark the last few years. I will say, don’t expect him to be the full lead for The Outsider because he actually only in a few episodes for the show. Most of the teasers, trailers, & promotion acted like this was his series but it’s honestly not besides the first few episodes. Ben Mendelsohn is the real lead when it comes to The Outsider & he carries the show with no problems. Mendelsohn has always been under-rated & he flexes his acting skills here. I enjoyed that the character makes up for his mistakes & owns up to it. He is flawed but he is determined to solve it all. The supporting cast was excellent which includes Bill Camp, Jeremy Bobb, Paddy Considine, Yul Vazquez, Marc Menchaca, Mare Winningham, & Julianne Nicholson. It’s well written show with quality performances from almost everyone. Holly Gibney is a familiar character from the Stephen King universe. She is from the Mr. Mercedes series but they changed her a lot in The Outsider compared to the original source material & the other show. It does have it’s weak moments but the beginning & end make it worth watching the whole series. I am looking forward to seeing what they do next with this concept because it can do anywhere. RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! These 1080p (2.00:1) transfers on 10 episodes look stunning on blu ray. It has a nice atmosphere, precise cinematography, & a variety of locations that shine here. It has a few different options for audio which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & French: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the release. Everything sounds great on this show. The dialogue is crystal clear, all the suspense is elevated, & the music has a killer boost to it. It also has English SDH, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, & Swedish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Warner Bros! They are spread across all the discs from the set. “Inside Episodes 1-10” are all around 3 to 7 minutes (a little more or less sometimes) per episode. It has interviews with author Stephen King, show creator Richard Price, actors Jason Bateman, Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, & various members of the production. They break down the episodes, characters, & stories going on during it. It’s a nice inside look into the world of Stephen King. Theyy go through all their troubles & changes throughout the series. It covers everything in a short amount of time & it’s very detailed. “Invitation to the Set” is a little over a minute & it’s basically a “Trailer” for the series. Plus it has behind the scenes footage & quick comments from the some people that were involved with the show. “Jason Bateman on The Outsider” is a little over a minute. Jason Bateman chats about the mood of the show. He talks about being excited about directing it & working on Stephen King material. “Stephen King and The Outsider” is a little over 2 minutes. It has interviews with the horror author plus cast & crew from the production. They show their appreciation for the master of horror. They chat about the source material & what his work has meant to them over the years. “Adapting The Outsider” is almost 3 minutes. It has interviews with Stephen King plus various members of the cast & crew from The Outsider. They chat turning King’s work into a television show. King says he is just a fan when someone else adapts his books. They bring up some characters & changes made here. “El Cuco, Baba Yaga, The Outsider” is a little over 13 minutes. It has interviews with Stephen King plus various members of the cast & crew from the miniseries. They chat about myths & folktales of this legendary monster. King talks about why he decided to nuse this folktale for The Outsider. They go over what El Cuco does during the show & the changes El Cuco creates during it. They bring up the characters & their interactions with it. This is an interesting watch & it adds more depth into everything. “Analyzing Holly Gibney” is almost 3 minutes. It has interviews with author Stephen King, actress Cynthia Erivo, & various members of the production. They chat about her already being in the Stephen King universe & that this was the perfect setting for her. They talk about her investigating & gathering information about these strange events. They go over the actress who played her, the changes made from the original source material, & her interactions with others. It also has a slipbox & a digital code. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!