Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Did you hear the one about the rapper and the spy on the new planet?

I have recently become slightly enamoured with new BBC (attempt at) sci-fi, Outcasts. Basic premise is that Earth has gone kaboom!, and the most vital of people have been sent in transporters to a new habitable planet. The series then looks at how this new community survives.

There are plot holes and acting discrepancies throughout. That's annoying. They ramp up a mystery in one episode only to take up an entirely new thread in the next. There are presumably thousands of people in the settlement, yet we only ever consistently meet 6 of them. The writers are clearly hopeful that anyone watching won't mind, and will just be dragged along by the (usually) brilliant musical score and dramatic action. Which, I must admit, I have been sucked into.

But I bring it up not because I particularly think you should watch it - although you should - but because of some of the ideas it explores.

Settling on a new planet is presumably a stressful experience. I wouldn't know, myself, but I'm guessing. However, we are given hints at the characters past lives and mistakes they made on Earth, and how life on Carpathia (the planet is named after the ship that picked up survivors from the Titanic) is a second chance for them. As with every society, they attempt to set up a utopia - and, as with every society, they fail. But what is so key is that the leader of this fledgling society begins to understand that despite the new opportunity, humans are fundamentally selfish people, and there is no getting away from that, however many light years away you are.

I doubt the BBC will continue with Outcasts - apparently they shifted from Monday night to Sunday night because the ratings dropped below 3 million - but I would genuinely appreciate a second series. One where the writers learn not to treat the viewers as idiots, some of the detail of the settlement is revealed, and we have less 'grit', and more humour.

Oh, and while you're at it, bring back Firefly?


dave gallop said...

sounds like a lost-last train-2and a half men rehash... Glad to be in the Vaterland.

David said...

Ha. Yeah, there are moments of Lost in there - 'are we alone?' type questions.

However, 2 and a half men?! How?!