THE OUTPOST / REVIEWED: SEASON 2 (EPISODES 1 & 2) / WHERE TO WATCH: THE CW (US), SYFY (UK)
Season One of The Outpost was a curious beast; a high fantasy tale of prophecy, rebellion, and revenge on a network best known for its teen dramas. Aiming for Game of Thrones and falling someway short, it seemed destined to disappear after its initial ten episode run, to be spoken of (or not) in the same breaths as such small screen flops as Beastmaster, Demons, and Legend of the Seeker.
But The Outpost garnered a loyal following, enough to see it renewed for a second season, which is airing on The CW in the US, and Syfy in the UK. Those fans who stayed through the – to be polite – testing acting quality in Season One, where actors either seemed to be using the show to try out new character directions (often in the same scene) or finding that the only skills they had were sadly not broad enough even for a low-budget fantasy yarn, are rewarded by a bump in quality; there is a consistency lacking in the first season, and a comfort in the roles they are playing.
For those who missed the first season, The Outpost is the story of the last surviving Blackblood, an elf-like race who can summon demons called the Lu’quiri. Seeking revenge for the death of her kind, she winds up in Gallwood Outpost, and becomes embroiled in a plot to restore the last living royal to the throne, and overthrow the Cromwellian Prime Order. As the first season ended, Princess Rosmund declared herself Queen but could not prevent Ambassador Dred of the Prime Order escaping to spread news of her treason.
Things are quickly turned on their head in the eponymous border town, with the apparent death of a major character within minutes of the first episode, and the arrival of another Blackblood before its end. A new faction enters Gallwood, and there’s still the matter of the parasite zombie plaguelings to worry about.
Production on the series moved from Utah to Serbia, and the shift to a region that has been home to Game of Thrones, Emerald City, and Krypton in the last few years has been kind, with a wintry backdrop better suiting the story than salt flats and rock piles. The European location has also brought in new talent, with Glynis Barber, and Demons of the Punjab star Amita Suman joining the cast, alongside several Hollyoaks alumni and stars of middle European TV and cinema (all the better to sell the show to eager foreign markets).
The Outpost is what it is; it’s not for nothing that one of the top reviews on IMDB says, “when I started to watch this I was like ‘Oh no, this is terrible’ but for some reason I kept watching it.” It is cheap, trashy fun. It is sexy women and even sexier men. It is ridiculous fight choreography, a tangled mythology, that guy you thought was quite good in Dream Team twenty years ago, and it is somehow addictive, like the calypsum that Eleanor peddles from the cellar of The Nightshade Inn. It won’t win an Emmy, but it might win your heart.