BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
There is a stellar series streaming on Amazon that sci-fi fans can’t afford to miss, Outer Range.
Among a crowded field of sci-fi streaming series, the time-traveling Western is head and shoulders above the competition in terms of both quality, intrigue, and depth.
With so many movies and shows depicting time travel, it won’t take long before the sci-fi trope becomes overused. In recent years, we’ve seen it used in Endgame, Tenet, and several others as well as a plot point for the upcoming The Time Traveler’s Wife and the Quantum Leap reboot. It’s been used in the CW’s The Flash, and J.J. Abram’s 2009 Star Trek remake made Spock’s time traveling a central key to the story. Suffice to say, there’s no shortage of time travel stories in mainstream science-fiction.
Outer Range differs in its depiction of time travel by pulling in religious connotations. The series begins with Josh Brolin’s gruff voiceover explaining Chronos, the Ancient Greek god of time. From there, we find a mysterious hole in his west pasture, and we don’t quite know what to make of it. The mystery builds until the reveal that the hole allows all types of matter to travel through time. The problem is that no one knows when or even where it will come out.
Time travel is only one component of this complex and engaging series. The real drama plays out among and within the two rival families, the Abbots and the Tillersons, all of whom are played by an outstanding cast. Brolin shines brightest as the series’ primary protagonist, Royal Abbott and his repressed pain and anguish, while Imogen Poots rises to the task of giving him a worthy (and slightly deranged) adversary in the mysterious Autumn Rivers. Set in modern Wyoming, the series focuses on the rodeo cowboy and rancher lifestyle, and both the setting and performances seem genuine. The only complaint is that Brolin’s accent seems more southern than western, but it’s easy to look past it in such an amazing show. Each episode ends with a powerful cliffhanger that dares you to keep watching.
If you enjoy Marvel’s numerous Easter eggs and allusions throughout its broad cinematic universe, you will love Outer Range. This is a show that utilizes foreshadowing and allusions as an artform, and it is nearly required that you watch the first season a second time. Once you know the twist ending to season one, it adds a deeper layer to the events of those eight episodes. It is a show that actually gets better the second time around because it allows you to appreciate the symbolism and allusions expertly planted along the way.
In many ways, Outer Range reminds me of the ABC drama, Lost, another show that mastered the art of foreshadowing and symbolism. Let’s just hope that Outer Range learns from Lost’s mistakes and doesn’t unravel so many threads that the eventual series’ finale can’t weave it all back together for a suitable ending.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.