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Recommended: Outer Range on Amazon Prime Video

TV's newest supernatural mystery series is weird, well-acted, and surprisingly funny.
  • Tom Pelphrey, Lewis Pullman, and Josh Brolin in Outer Range (Photo: Richard Foreman/Prime Video)
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    Outer Range Season 1 | Amazon Prime Video
    Hourlong Thriller (8 episodes) | TV-MA

    What's Outer Range About?

    Out in the west pasture of the Abbott family's sprawling Wyoming ranch, there's a sinkhole that appears to be a portal through time. The things thrown in — and the things crawling out — cause problems for everyone in town.

    Who's involved?

    • Josh Brolin (Milk, No Country for Old Men) stars as Royal Abbott, the family patriarch who knows a lot more about the sinkhole than he wants to admit.
    • Lili Taylor (American Crime, Six Feet Under) is Royal's wife Cecilia. Her lifelong faith in God is shaken by a series of crimes involving her family.
    • Tom Pelphrey (Ozark) and Lewis Pullman (Catch-22) are the Abbott sons, Perry and Rhett. Perry's wife disappeared a few months ago, Rhett wants to bail on the ranch after one last competitive rodeo ride, and both of them are caught in a secret that could ruin their lives.
    • Tamara Podemski (Run) is the town sheriff. She knows in her gut that the Abbott boys are up to something. 
    • Noah Reid (Schitt's Creek) is Billy Tillerson, part of the ranch family next door. He's an odd bird who constantly belts pop songs at the top of his lungs, and if the right person asks, he's willing to do terrible things.
    • Imogen Poots (The Father, I Know This Much is True) is a hippie gal who swears she just wants to camp on the Abbott ranch. But there's something off about the way she asks questions and the questions she refuses to answer herself.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Outer Range weaves an absorbing, intricate tale. The show's larger supernatural story unfolds alongside a series of compelling smaller dramas, including a murder, a romance, and a longstanding feud between the Abbotts and the Tillersons. The twisted dynamics of both families are so well drawn that everything from Sunday dinners to Sunday school meetings crackle with tension.

    There are also moments of outré comedy that suggest Pulp Fiction on the prairie. When Billy and his father have an intense conversation about the nature of vengeance, for instance, Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" is blasting on the radio. When two characters get ready to brawl in the street, we hear a riff on a classic Wild West sound cue.

    That's not to say the show is jokey. In fact, it's mostly brooding and tense, with regular fight scenes and impassioned monologues. But these wacky interludes break up the mood and give the show more texture than your typical "unexplained forces" series. That's also true of the cinematography, which uses stylized lighting and startling camera angles to remind us that this part of Wyoming is slightly outside reality.

    Brolin is an excellent anchor, moving easily between lengthy, eloquent speeches and moments of raw, wordless emotion. The other standouts are Reid, who carries many of the comedy bits, and Podemski, who communicates just how much she loves her job, even when she's in danger. She's got a wild woman's spark in her eye that matches the energy of the show.

    Pairs well with

    • Yellowstone, obviously. It may not be supernatural, but it's the wild west blockbuster of the moment, and it streams on Peacock.
    • Californication (HBO), David Duchovny's trippy series about a novelist trying to overcome writer's block without bringing down his family.
    • Castle Rock (Hulu), the supernatural series inspired by several of Stephen King's characters and settings. 

  • Outer Range (Season 1)
    The first two episodes premiere on Prime Video April 15. New episodes Fridays through May 6.
    Starring: Josh Brolin, Lili Taylor, Noah Reid, Imogen Poots, Tamara Podemski, Tom Pelphrey, and Lewis Pullman.
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    TOPICS: Outer Range, Amazon Prime Video, Imogen Poots, Josh Brolin, Lewis Pullman, Lili Taylor, Noah Reid, Tamara Podemski, Tom Pelphrey