A rancher fighting for his land and family, who discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming’s wilderness.
Format: Two episodes out now, another two episodes each week until the finale on May 6th.
Cast: Josh Rolin, Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, Tom Pelphrey, Lewis Pullman, Tamara Podemski, Noah Reid, Shaun Sipos, Olive Abercrombie, Will Patton, Isabel Arraiza, Morningstar Angeline, Matt Lauria, Matthew Maher, Deirdre O’Connell
Directors: Alonso Ruizpalacios (episodes 1 & 2), Jennifer Getzinger (episodes 3 & 4), Amy Seimetz (episode 5 & 6), Lawrence Trilling (episode 7 & 8)
Writers: Brian Watkins (creator), Zev Borow (episode 3 & 7), Lucy Thurber (episode 4 & 6), Naledi Jackson (episode 5), Dominic Orlando (episode 5 & 6)
There are equal measures of Yellowstone, Twilight Zone and Lost in Prime Video’s new series, Outer Range. I clicked play on the first episode, having not watched a single trailer or read the synopsis. What I first took as a brooding cowboy thriller starring Josh Brolin soon took an exciting dive into the paranormal. For fans of red herrings, odd characters and cliffhangers leaving you begging for more, Outer Range is going to be one of 2022’s most loved new shows.
Brolin plays the rough rancher Royal Abbott who lives on his massive property with his wife, Cecilia (a fantastic Lili Taylor), sons Perry (Tom Pelphrey), Rhett (Lewis Pullman) and Perry’s daughter, Amy (Olive Abercrombie). While Rhett spends his free-time drinking and practising bull-riding to be a champion like his father, Perry looks after his daughter and seeks answers for his wife’s disappearance, who hasn’t been seen for nine months. The first of many mysteries to present itself in Outer Range’s premiere.
The primary mystery at the centre of the series is a massive hole that Royal discovers on his property. Covered in a mist of almost mystical properties and having no bottom as Royal drops objects into it, the perfect circular pit could have been made by man or aliens, but it shakes Royal to his core, and he chooses to keep its existence a secret from his family.
At the same time, the wealthy Tillerson family, led by Wayne (Will Patton) with his three sons, Billy (Noah Reid), Luke (Shaun Sipos) and Trevor (Matt Lauria), slap Royal with a notice they’re claiming over a mile of his West Pasture because, as they claim, it’s belonged to them all along. Of course, the West Pasture is also where the hole is located. It’s evident that Wayne, thanks to an odd performance from Patton, is seeking more than just land and knows more than he lets on about why he’s seeking claim to part of the Abbott property now.
Despite all the mystery boxes that J.J Abrams would love, the biggest one is the appearance of Autumn (Imogen Poots). This innocent-looking hippy girl shows up on the Abbott farm seeking a place to camp and with enough cash in her pocket to sway Royal, in need of paying a few bills. But you’ll be correct to think there’s more to her than meets the eye from the get-go as she shakes Royal’s hand and says, “it’s nice to meet you, finally.”
Amongst all the moving pieces, we meet Deputy Sheriff Joy, (Tamara Podemski), vying for a full-time position as Sheriff. A huge deal if she succeeds as a gay, native American woman in a primarily white cowboy ruled Wyoming. The Abbotts have a long history with Joy, as she’s been searching for Perry’s missing wife, but she soon becomes engulfed in the family in a way they don’t want as a dark secret ties the Abbotts together like never before in the final of the premiere episode.
There are eight episodes in the first season of Outer Range, which will be released two at a time. It’s paced interesting, however, with every odd-numbered episode giving you a ‘previously on,’ while the even-numbered episodes play right off the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode. Outer Range was created by Brian Watkins; the series shares directing credits across four directors who each does two episodes in a row, which will give each week’s duo-drop of episodes a movie-like feeling with a director’s cohesive vision behind each. It’s an exciting way to release the show; given the number of twists-turns, reveals, and cliffhangers, this will be one to discuss around the water cooler at work for the next month.