Anarchy abounds in clan drama
Ilove the idea of the wilderness – but the reality is I like my creature comforts. Sure, nature might be beautiful, but can you really appreciate it without a proper hot shower and a flat white?
But the Farrell family in the new United States drama series Outsiders (Thursdays, 9.30pm, Box) are made of sterner stuff. They also look like showers and other personal hygiene routines aren’t a high priority for them so they get along just fine living in isolation on Kentucky’s Shay Mountain.
The Farrells have developed their own clothing style – think earth tones and dirty vests; they’ve got their own Farrell wine (moonshine); they’ve got banjo music and a cantankerous matriarch. And, judging by the amount of ink I’m assuming they have a resident tattoo artist.
But the Farrells have also developed a society of their own – they’ve got their own rituals, their own words, a hierarchy and hundreds of years of history. And their own rather harsh justice system where fingers are chopped off and Asa
Farrell (Ryan Hurst), who left the mountain for 10 years, is kept in a cage.
This idyllic way of life is threatened when a couple of smarmy corporate types want to mine for coal on the mountains. Their plan requires the Farrells be ‘‘relocated’’, despite the warnings of the beleaguered looking deputy sheriff who warns them the Farrells ‘‘they’re not like you and me’’. But the coal company suits don’t care.
The Farrells and the whole clan thing make this feel a little derivative – it reminded me of Game of Thrones with a nod to Sons of Anarchy for fighting, lawlessness and fashion inspiration. And the only character that I felt a spark of sympathy for was Deputy Sheriff Wade, the one charged with evicting them.
There are some tired stereotypes too – the rich, spoilt college kids scoring drugs in town; the coal company executives from the untrustworthy, heartless businessman mould; the predominance of banjos and moonshine.
So, what am I saying? Well, it’s not great, but it’s okay. The multiple storylines, some slow-burning intrigue and plenty of tension make something reasonably watchable. Whether that’s enough to sustain it for 13 episodes remains to be seen.
Mind you, at least fictional life in the wilderness is on the whole less predictable than the reality shown in Homestead Rescue (Wednesdays, 8.30pm, Discovery). Forget character properties, in the US, a homestead seems to be a shack in the middle of nowhere.
People buy these shacks and then discover that living miles from the supermarket blanketed in snow for several weeks a year, well, it’s not that much fun. It struck me as a really extreme form of the lifestyle block.
Anyway, in comes expert homesteader Marty Raney, along with his children Misty and Matt, to help the homesteader in trouble. Instead of painting a feature wall, he might suggest insulation. There are guns aplenty and much talk of surviving in the wild and dangerous wildlife.
But what he never asks is, ‘‘Why on earth did you move out here?’’.
Resident on Kentucky’s Shay Mountain, Outsiders’ Farrell family have developed their own clothing style and way of life.
Homestead Rescue’s Marty Raney is there to help the homesteader in trouble.