Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp
Release Date: July 28, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8/10
Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, The Outsider is a new drama series that follows a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a local boy. When 11-year-old Frankie Peterson’s body is found mutilated in the Georgia woods, police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) sets out to investigate – with eyewitnesses and physical evidence pointing to Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a popular high school teacher, Little League coach, doting husband and father. While the case appears ironclad, Ralph is baffled by the emergence of contradictory evidence that places his suspect in a neighboring city at the time of the murder. The mysterious set of circumstances surrounding this horrifying crime leads Ralph, a seasoned cop still grieving the recent death of his own son, to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Based upon the Stephen King novel of the same name, the HBO Original Series ‘The Outsider’ follows the perplexing murder investigation of a young local child handled by veteran detective Ralph Anderson (Mendelsohn). What initially appears to be a surprisingly cut and dry case against local little league coach and family man Terry Maitland (Bateman) soon evolves into anything but when the overwhelming amount of DNA evidence, eyewitnesses and fingerprints are contradicted by equal amounts of clear evidence sixty miles away, almost implying that Terry was in two places simultaneously. After things only begin to get stranger and more complex, they call in the assistance of talented investigator Holly Gibney (Erivo) to backtrack previous events. But when her investigation starts to return even more peculiar results this group of people looking for answers find themselves involved in something truly strange and unlike anything they’ve ever dealt with before.
HBO’s TV adaptation of ‘The Outsider’ is an eerie, perplexing and engulfing journey into darkness that stays remarkably faithful to Stephen King’s novel of the same name, occasionally intertwining some new characters and elements but never veering from its focus or doing so without care; something fellow fans of King’s work and this novel in particular will surely appreciate. It plays off of our fears while keeping its feet planted in (or just above) reality, then sets the mood perfectly with consistently eerie and dimly lit environments in order to fully drag you into this uncertain investigation and feel the pain and suffering of these folks when the danger builds and loved ones are threatened or lost.
Richard Price (The Color of Money, TV’s The Night Of) adapts King’s novel for television (and also penned the teleplay for all but three of the ten episodes) and his faithful adaptation of the material combined with a noteworthy cast of talented individuals at the forefront including Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp, Paddy Considine, Julianne Nicholson, Yul Vázquez, Jeremy Bobb, Marc Menchaca and Jason Bateman (who additionally serves as executive producer as well as directing the first two episodes) help the series to become something quite special. ‘The Outsider’ may have its occasional hiccup or somewhat slow moments, but as a whole it’s definitely up there with the better of screen adaptions from King’s work and any fan of the material, author or the show’s cast will want to give this one a shot if they haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so.
To provide some clarification for anyone that might be confused by the ‘Season One’ marketing as this release is dubbed as ‘The Outsider: The Complete First Season’ (although the artwork wisely omits it for good measure), it hints at the likelihood of HBO attempting to bring another season to life at some point, although no official confirmation has yet to be revealed and fans can rest assured that King’s novel ‘The Outsider’ which serves as the show’s basis is adapted within this contained ten-episode season. Therefore any future seasons will be based upon other material and not a continuation or conclusion of this specific story.
Overall, ‘The Outsider’ is a dark, tense and quite faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s novel that stays true to the tone, characters and overall tale King crafted and seals the deal with a well selected cast of talented individuals and a fittingly moody atmosphere for it all to play out in. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s 3-disc Blu-ray release of ‘The Outsider: The Complete First Season’ arrives home featuring rather impressive high definition video and audio presentations on each episode, along with some decent bonus content which should altogether make this Blu-ray release well worth picking up a copy if you were already considering doing so. Fans of grimy detective tales mixed with the unique and eerie storytelling talents of Stephen King’s work who haven’t had the pleasure of this one yet will also probably want to try and find the time to do so.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Outsider: The Complete First Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the show’s original 2.00:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the episodes. The video presentations look fantastic overall and provide clean, sharp and nicely detailed presentations on every episode with no notable faults or issues to be uncovered throughout. They hold up admirably even during the various darkly lit scenes which are quite prominent in the series, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. All while doing a great job of capturing the bleak, gloomy atmosphere and mood in the dull colors and environments. Overall, these are great high definition video presentations that should easily satisfy fans of the series already considering a purchase.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 10 episodes. These multichannel soundtracks sound wonderful and offer crisp, smooth and frequently aggressive audio presentations for each episode. They regularly take advantage of all five available channels in order to let crowd chatter (and chanting) along with the booming music in clubs, eerie effects and more seep throughout the various speakers whenever fitting and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously to suffer or become distorted as a result. Overall, these are solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks that hold up nicely every step of the way and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Outsider: The Complete First Season’ includes some enjoyable bonus content spread between all three discs. Included on the release are ‘Inside The Outsider’ Featurettes broken down into four parts which explore bringing the series to life and feature interviews/comments with the cast and crew (running approximately 27 minutes in length altogether), along with a collection of other Featurettes and videos including an ‘Invitation to the Set’ (running approximately 1 minute), ‘Jason Bateman on The Outsider’ (approximately 1 minute), ‘Stephen King and The Outsider’ (2 minutes), ‘Adapting The Outsider’ (3 minutes), ‘El Cuco, The Baba Yaga. The Outsider’ (13 minutes) and ‘Analyzing Holly Gibney’ (3 minutes).