27 July 2011

Sci-Fi Review: Outcasts

While we have been watching through sci-fi of old, most notably Star Trek The Original Series and I have been watching through episodes of Space: Above and Beyond, a recent new sci-fi show caught my attention...


Something about its promotion on local station ABC drew me to at least give it a look. Outcasts aired on 28 May 2011 in Australia. Little did I know that it had already been cancelled in the UK by this time! Nevermind though, that meant an 8 part series I could watch and knew there would be some sort of ending, maybe...

It's a series based on another planet named Carpathia in the year 2060. It was colonised 10 years prior to the series start by evacuees from Earth fleeing a nuclear holocaust. The main city is named Forthaven where most of the inhabitants live.

The main character focus revolves around Richard Tate who is the President, Stella Isen who is the head of Protection and Security (PAS) and PAS Officers Cass and Fleur. Others become more central as the story progresses.

In the first episode a transporter from Earth arrives and attempts the difficult landing at Carpathia. She breaks up but there are some survivors who are inducted into the Forthaven community. Among them, Julius Berger who immediately puts his own plans into action.

As the story develops we learn more of the XP's (expeditionary's) and the AC's (advanced cultivars). The XP's go in search of resources and bring them back for study or use at Forthaven while the AC's were designed and created to exist in harsh conditions for long periods of time. We soon learn that the AC's were blamed for a virus outbreak that claimed the lives of many children in the early years of establishing Forthaven and Tate was involved in having them removed and ultimately banished.

Meanwhile, Stella's daughter attempts to reconnect with her mother after arriving aboard the transporter from Earth and Julius wants to regain the power he had back home by working his way into the political world of Forthaven, taking aim for Tate, Cass and Fleur throughout different episodes.

Amongst all this we learn of another alien presence on the planet and that there were others on the planet at one point when remains and fossils begin to show up.

The show takes time to build with hour long, uninterrupted episodes but a lot of the story gets covered. It seems unfortunate that the reception wasn't so welcoming for Outcasts as many reviews claimed it was boring and drawn out.

By the end of the series we discover another transporter has made it to Carpathia with people sympathetic to Berger aboard. We don't know what happens when it arrives at Forthaven as that is where the show ultimately ends while we find out some interesting information about one of the main characters and a shake-up occurs when Tate stands down as President.

Like a lot of sci-fi shows before it, Outcasts never reached its potential but it was interesting and well put together with some decent quality in its production. It was simple, not over-the-top and remained about the characters while bringing out issues of morality, equality and religion into this new world that is trying not to repeat the mistakes of Earth. It is now limited to an eight episode run and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray, so if anyone's interested, give it a look. At least you know it's a short series.

More information from Outcasts' Wikipedia entry and the BBC's Official Outcasts page.

With Outcasts finished I'm back to watching the second half of the series Space: Above and Beyond and still hoping to get the series Dark Skies up and running too...

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