by Christopher Rosa, Glamour
This is going to be your new favorite show.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I’d be hooked on Netflix’s new series Outer Banks, now available for streaming. The soapy teen drama is the perfect mix of all the shows that define my taste: Gossip Girl, The O.C, Riverdale, and the like. And by that I mean Outer Banks centers on a group of inexplicably beautiful teens who make irrevocably bad decisions.
But the stakes are way higher here than they’ve ever been on those shows. This time around there’s class warfare, drug addiction, grisly violence, and a $400 million treasure buried…somewhere in the town (which, you guessed it, is on the Outer Banks of North Carolina).
Let me back up a second and introduce you to the key players. There’s John B. Rutledge (Chase Stokes), the sun-kissed leader of a group of not-so-popular, not-so-wealthy kids in the Outer Banks called the Pogues. That group consists of JJ (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), and Kiara (Madison Bailey), whose family does have money, but she prefers the company of the Pogues over the pretentious Outer Banks elite, aka the Kooks. The crux of Outer Banks hinges on the disappearances of John B.’s father, who was obsessed with finding that aforementioned treasure. When John B. discovers clues his dad left behind, he and the Pogues begin a full-on hunt.
Rudy Pankow as JJ, Madison Bailey as Kiara, Chase Stokes as John B., and Jonathan Daviss as Pope
As you can imagine, these kids aren’t the only ones looking for the treasure. People on both the Kook and Pogue sides are hungry for it, which leads to all those dramatic elements I listed earlier. In the first episode alone, there’s a physical fight so intense I had to watch it with one eye closed. But who will come out on top with the (literal) gold? You’ll just have to watch and see.
That’s all I’ll reveal about the show’s main conflict, but if you’re anything like me, that’s not exactly enough to get you watching. What makes Gossip Girl and Riverdale dynamic has nothing to do with their plots —I think we all could’ve done without the Black Hood—but the characters. I could literally watch Cheryl Blossom stomp around all day and be satisfied. The same goes for Outer Banks. The core Pogues have enough interrelationship drama to keep the show afloat.
“The story is obviously very unique in itself, but each individual character across the board has so much to bring to the table,” Stokes says. “And I think everybody’s going to have something to fall in love with.”
Madison Bailey as Kiara
Especially because there’s so much falling in love happening on the show. It should come as no surprise that romance is a large factor on Outer Banks, and the hookup web is messy. Just in the Pogues alone there’s tension between Kiara and John, and Kiara and Pope, not to mention some fraternizing with the Kooks as well, including a juicy storyline between John and rich queen bee Sarah, played by Madelyn Cline. She and John start getting close, much to the dismay of Kiara, Sarah’s one-time best friend.
The show blends the operatic, soapy drama you’ve come to expect from teen dramas with a mystery rooted in something tangible and real. The result is a 10-episode series that keeps you completely on your toes in every sense of the word. I’m not kidding when I say I stayed up until 2 a.m. watching Outer Banks. I just couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
“I think people can just expect to have a good time,” Bailey says. “It’s a little bit of every genre. There’s mystery, comedy, drama, romance, action. Expect a good old-fashioned underdog story.”
Madison Bailey as Kiara and Rudy Pankow as JJ
An underdog story—and also just an entertaining one. In these trying, complicated times, I don’t exactly have the brain capacity for anything heavy or weighty. I've been on a steady pop culture diet of Bravo, old episodes of Sex and the City, and pop music videos. Outer Banks sits wonderfully in that company of escapist content. Watching these teens run all over the North Carolina shore hunting literal treasure and dealing with petty relationship drama truly helped me forget everything that’s going on in the world. At least for a moment. And while it’s important that we stay informed and engaged, we also need a bit of a break. This TV show did exactly that, at a time when I needed it.
“I hope it inspires people to bring a little adventure into their lives,” Bailey says. “To let loose and have fun.”
Outer Banks is now streaming on Netflix.
Co-Executive Producer: Tim Iacofano