Just look at that headline, would you? It’s all I could do to not just make it a bulleted list of attributes that make a good television show. It’s science fiction on the BBC, which has a higher delivery rate than a rabbit maternity ward. It’s a space western, which is in my entirely unhumble opinion has been the framework for most of the best science fiction television of the last fifty years. And it’s got Jamie Bamber.
“Outcasts” is getting an 8 episode series/season that will air starting in December on BBC America. It is about a small group of explorers who get stranded on an undeveloped planet and have to carve out survival with what little technology they have. The producers have taken a decidedly low tech approach to the show, emphasizing the character conflicts rather than the particular sci-fi elements.
Creator Ben Richards had this to say about the show’s place in the genre:
“I hesitate to say it’s not sci-fi, because I think that’s quite condescending as well. I love sci-fi, and I think sometimes when people are trying to be clever about sci-fi, they go, ‘Oh, it’s not sci-fi. It’s all about the human spirit.’ Well, every drama is about the human spirit. I don’t think you have to reject sci-fi as a genre. I certainly don’t. I think the best sci-fi always has that element of the western in it.”
It’s already getting comparisons to “Star Trek” and “Battlestar Galactica,” but that seems to be largely because “Star Trek” was also pitched as a space western and “Battlestar Galactica” also starred Bamber. It seems to have a lot more in common with “Firefly,” at least in the level of technology and general notion that just because people have high technology doesn’t mean that it is feasible to use ray guns and antimatter reactors on the back water developing planets with populations that would fit in high school stadiums.
A few production stills have been released, which betray very little other than a kid, a guy with a rifle, very pretty scenery of the planet, and of course, scruffy Bamber. There are a few more pictures over on Blastr if you’d like.