The outer banks sit off the east coast of North Carolina - barrier islands full of beaches, state parks and diving sites. The area is a favorite destination for out-of-state tourists and locals, alike, and are frequented by free-living surf bums and both the old, and new, money crowds. Despite the locale's sun-drenched beaches and easygoing pace, there have been no major film/TV projects set there since 1999's Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn's Message in a Bottle. Remember? Nah.
Sure to make this east coast hot spot a common topic, Netflix's bombshell first-season series, Outer Banks, is a 10-episode binge-fest that will engross almost everyone in the home-sheltering crowd, right up until the season-ending cliffhanger that clearly screams for a follow-up. Since the entire season dropped on the SVOD service, the title has steadfastly held a position in the 'Top 10', usually circulating somewhere around the top 3. Fans of the series are definitely clamoring for a Season 2, but Netflix has yet remained silent on whether the show will return.
Officially a young adult (YA) or teen drama series, everyone from kids to grandparents will revel in the antics and perils of the show's teen crew. From the opening scene, the free-spirited Pogues (the name given to the mostly penniless 'natives' of the outer banks) drift through life amongst the waves, beers and sunny days of the OBX (the moniker lovingly afforded the outer banks by locals). Contrasting the lifestyle of the Pogues, are the Kooks, the moneyed crowd with second (and third, or even fourth) homes, yachts and plenty of time for leisure and galas. The primary Pogue quartet, headlined by John B (Chase Stokes), also includes JJ (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathan Daviss) and Kiara (Madison Bailey), who also just happens to be a newly minted Kook. Both the Pogues and Kooks settle comfortably into their class stereotypes while they navigate the standard ebbs and flows of teen life - young love, leisure and endless antics.
Across its entire 10-part run, the show twists through sun-drenched outings and adventures, mostly involving a high-stakes treasure hunt ($400 million in lost gold from a storied shipwreck). The requisite young love and love triangle storylines connect the action at a relatively dizzying pace, given the fact that everything takes place across a relatively short total episode count.
The treasure hunt was passed down to young John B by his father, now mysteriously missing for 9 months when we join the action. His absent guardians create uncertainty for John B, as the authorities threaten his total freedom and unsupervised treasure hunting. JJ, John B's friend, sidekick and 'partner in chaos', similarly lacks solid parenting and the two drift and glide, nearly always skating just on either side of the law. Both Pope and Kiara (usually going by Kie) are quite different, seemingly more grounded by their families and charting course toward more 'traditional' adulting.
As our Pogue protagonists work through new clues each episode in an attempt to find the treasure, the body count piles up around them and their 'strained' relationship with the Kooks takes numerous twists and turns. They're beaten, shot at, chased by cops, attacked (by both friends and foes) and, in a scene strangely reminiscent of both The Visit and Don't Breathe, nearly bested by an octogenarian gone mad. With the treasure hunt mystery its main thread, young love, both between the friends and between the classes, makes the teen drama a bit of a cliché' in the wrong-side-of-the-tracks sense. Sarah, the daughter of John B's boss and girlfriend of a Kook pillar, ends up being the big surprise (not really) in the romance department.
As the story arc hurtles into the final episodes, the almost tragic bad luck of the Pogues threatens not only their success, but their very survival. John B and JJ, of course, skitter dangerously close to complete destruction as decisions, some seemingly benign and others absolutely insane, cloud their futures, with even Pope catapulting into extremely questionable territory in the final act as Kie tries desperately to help them all navigate the fallout.
Will they find the gold? Which young love will survive? Who will end up on the wrong side of the law for good? There's only one way to find out. Outer Banks currently sits at #3 on the Netflix Top 10 in the U.S. today.