Netflix’s new show Outer Banks has already become a fan-favorite, despite being released a mere month and a half ago.
The show debuted on April 15 and features a group of four teens searching for gold from a shipwrecked boat called the Royal Merchant, following the disappearance of the father of John B., one of the protagonists. The show takes place on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a perfect summer setting for an adventure. On the island exists a hierarchy of the working-class poor and the extremely rich, dubbed “Pogues” and “Kooks” respectively. The teenaged Pogues and Kooks engage in a perpetual rivalry, similar to that of The Outsiders, where the wealthy taunt their poorer counterparts.
Outer Banks is a Netflix Original take on teenage adventure, featuring action-packed scenes, intense rivalries, and romance. The summery feel about the show is nostalgic and keeps people watching. There is also very limited technology and social media use within the show, which is something that has resonated with many viewers. Where many of today’s on-screen releases set in present day feature lots of social media usage, in line with how frequently it is utilized by teens in real life, Outer Banks is a breath of fresh air.
“A reason I really like the show is because it shows how people do not need technology to have fun and to connect with people,” Dakota Zampa (’20) said.
John B. and his friends JJ, Kiara, and Pope are a close-knit group that would do anything for one another. They seek adventure and plan to split the spoils of the gold that they are to find. The show’s climaxes are not friendship drama or toxic relations, rather, they are shots of island life, realistic family relations, socioeconomic conflicts, and planned heists.
While there are relationship problems featured within the show, they are among many varying plot points; though, at one point, relationships are seen to form un-organically and quickly, as if plucked from thin air. Fortunately, no friendships are permanently dismantled as a result, although tensions do arise due to these conflicts.
There is also very little parental influence within the show. The parents of the protagonists rarely ever interfere with anything they do.
Every character is likeable, and there are no “Mary-Sues” or flat characters within the show. Each character is essential to the plot and has their own set of issues and complexes. There do exist stereotypes, but they are not stale and overused tropes typical of media targeted to a teenage audience. While his father initiated the hunt for the $400 million worth of gold, John B. would not have gotten anywhere without his group of friends. He is not the chosen one nor is the plot entirely based upon his pursuits, although he does appear to be the primary protagonist.
The show is set in North Carolina, although it was filmed in Charleston, South Carolina. The show’s producers had originally intended for it to be filmed on the actual Outer Banks, but they ended up deciding against it due to the “Bathroom Bill” in place in North Carolina at the time of filming that required people to use the bathroom that matched the gender that was on their birth certificate. As a stance against this bill, which has since been amended according to newspaper The Virginian-Pilot, the official set of Outer Banks became Charleston.
The majority of Outer Banks takes place outside on the particularly tropical islands. It is always sunny and the atmosphere of the town is a pleasant and beachy one. The audience, a group of teens at home during quarantine, most likely revels in such content. Outer Banks proves to be a much-needed escape from the suffocating confinement of home, parental restrictions, and overbearing presence and toxicity of social media.