Are you dreaming of pre-social distancing days when you could go out boating on a hot summer day with your best friends? Me too. Within several days of hitting Netflix, Outer Banks became a huge hit. The series created by Josh Pate, Jonas Pate, and Shannon Burke stars Chase Stokes as John B, a 16-year-old boy whose father recently went missing after searching for a sunken ship rumoured to be harbouring gold. In order to continue the quest for gold his father started before his disappearance, John B enlists his friends to help him search for it.
The adventure takes place in North Carolina’s beautiful Outer Banks. According to the show, there are two types of people that live on the island: those on the rich side are referred to as “the kooks” and the working class are known as “the pogues.” As someone who works as a boat keeper for families of kooks, John B is considered a pogue.
Outer Banks is the result of what would happen if you added a treasure hunt to a classic teen soap opera. It is equipped with many aspects of a teen drama like a tight knit group of friends, the poor boy falling for the rich girl, implausible plot twists and unrequited love. Due to its simplistic dialogue, the plot is what drives the show and what makes it so hard to stop watching once you have started. So if you are a fan of classic teen dramas such as The O.C, One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek, Gossip Girl, or Beverly Hills 90210, you will definitely enjoy this show.
In the series, John B’s notorious clique is made up of him and his three best friends JJ (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathan Daviss) and Kiara (Madison Bailey). This group is inseparable and spends practically every day together. The unique group of pogues like to spend their time boating, crashing the kooks parties and drinking large quantities of beer. With little parental supervision, the teens often get themselves into trouble precipitated by a rival gang of kooks.
Despite John B’s pogue status, the boy falls for a kook and the daughter of the man he works for, Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline). The fact that their romance is forbidden only makes it all the more appealing. Despite the complicated circumstances, the pair seem to have a real physical and romantic connection that clearly radiates on screen. Sarah and John B’s relationship is reminiscent of several other fan favourite forbidden pairings such as Nathan and Hayley in One Tree Hill, Pacey and Dawson in Dawson’s Creek, and Betty and Jughead in Riverdale.
Also similar to these classics, there are constant dramatic plot twists that you never would have predicted. Outer Banks includes many breaches of trust and betrayal from those closest to the protagonists. And often they come from within their families as well.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a coming-of-age story without a few heartbreaks and instances of unrequited love. Although John B and Sarah seem to have mutual affection for one another, that isn’t the case for all of the characters in Outer Banks. And just like the equally angsty teenagers in these other shows, the heartbreak drives the characters to make rash and impulsive decisions such as running away or attempting murder.
While Outer Banks may not be television’s newest artistic vision, it has earned its viewership by capturing the investment of its fans and keeping them on their toes. The creators have brought a sense of nostalgia for those who long to relive their teenage years and were a fan of the classic early 2000’s soaps.
Outer Banks is available to stream on Netflix now. It has been renewed for a second season.
by Blair Krassen