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Created By:
Richard Price
Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp
Writing Credits:
Richard Price

Investigators are confounded over an unspeakable crime that's been committed.

Rated TV-MA

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 551 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 7/28/2020

• “Invitation to the Set” Featurette
• “Jason Bateman on The Outsider” Featurette
• “Inside Episodes” Featurettes
• “Stephen King and The Outsider” Featurette
• “Adapting The Outsider” Featurette
• “El Cuco. The Baba Yaga. The Outsider” Featurette
• “Analyzing Holly Gibney” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Outsider [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 19, 2020)

Based on Stephen King’s 2018 novel, 2020’s The Outsider brings us an HBO “limited series”. This three-disc package includes all 10 shows, and the episode synopses come straight from the set’s insert.

Fish in a Barrel: “Georgia detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) sets out to investigate the gruesome murder of 11-year-old Frankie Peterson (Duncan E. Clark) but is mystified by suspect Terry Maitland’s (Jason Bateman) ironclad alibi.”

Of course, we mainly associate King with supernatural horrror, whereas Outsider brings terror of a more believable kind – on the surface, that is. While “Fish” follows a largely reality-based tale, it hints at something more fantastic to come.

Whatever follows, “Fish” offers a pretty strong opening salvo. It draws us into the murder mystery elements in a compelling manner to make it a fine launch to the series.

Roanoke: “Detective Jack Hoskins (Marc Menchaca) returns to work after an unexpected tragedy throws Ralph’s investigation into a tailspin.”

“Roanoke” opens with a bang – literally, as a major character dies in a hail of gunfire. After that, events fall more into the “plot development” category, as we follow intriguing developments in the murder investigation. While not as strong a show as “Fish”, “Roanoke” still moves along matters well.

Dark Uncle: “Confounded by the conflicting evidence, Ralph contacts unorthodox PI Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), who promises to bring a fresh perspective to the case.”

Holly offers a major new character, and one who might wear thin before long. A person with distinctive talents, Erivo plays her in a quirky manner that may get old quickly. Still, she offers an interesting twist and helps move the series ahead in a positive manner.

Que Viene El Cuco: “While retracing the Maitlands’ recent family vacation, Holly pursues an eerily similar case in Dayton, Ohio.”

On the positive side, “Cuco” softens Holly and ensures that she won’t become as annoying as I feared after her debut. Much of the episode feels a little stagnant, but it comes with some revelations by its end.

Tear-Drinker: “After returning from an eye-opening trip to New York, Holly searches for clues connected to the Dayton case. Jeannie (Mare Winningham) gives Ralph an ominous warning.”

After the big reveal at the conclusion of “Cuco”, this episode feels a little more like a placeholder. While we find some decent plot movement, it seems a little heavy on shoe leather without any especially dynamic.

The One About the Yiddish Vampire: “Holly presents her unusual theory about the connection between two other mysterious child murders and the Frankie Peterson case.”

That synopsis offers the biggest aspect of “Vampire”, as Holly’s reveal of her ideas to the others becomes a major plot moment. The rest feels a bit stuck in place, though by the end, we push ahead in a decent way.

In the Pines, In the Pines: “Holly makes a calculated attempt to help a volatile but conflicted Jack while their whereabouts are tracked by Ralph and Alec (Jeremy Bobb).”

While we get some actual action from “Pines”, it doesn’t feel like we encounter a whole lot of narrative development. Maybe Outsider stretches its subject matter too far for a mini-series, as this middle series stretch remains somewhat stagnant. Hopefully the story will progress more meaningfully during the final 30 percent of the series.

Foxhead: “Holly, Ralph, Yunis (Yul Vazquez) and Andy (Derek Cecil) follow Claude (Paddy Considine) to Tennessee in an attempt to isolate the evil force and prevent its next kill.”

To some degree, “Foxhead” feels like an excuse to allow the characters to get to know each other – and thus for the audience to learn more about them. Some terror escalates as well, but I have to say Outsider isn’t accelerating quite as much as I might hope this late in the series.

Tigers and Bears: “While obscuring their true purpose in town from local police, Ralph and Yunis interview witnesses from the cave festival.”

I have to admit Outsider worked better for me before the reveal of the source of the murders. While I’m fine with the story’s supernatural elements, it seemed more compelling when it stood as a thriller/mystery.

This means that ever since the reveal of the culprit, Outsider has found itself on a slow path toward an inevitable life-or-death confrontation between our lead characters and the killer. This robs the series of some urgency and makes it a bit on the plodding side. “Bears” pushes us toward the expected finale in a competent manner but it doesn’t elevate the material.

Must/Can’t: “The group finds itself in a climactic showdown in their last-ditch effort to root out El Cuco.”

With “Must”, the series comes to an end, and a not wholly predictable one. Still, the finale doesn’t toss out enough interesting twists to make it redeem the generally mediocre nature of the series’ second half.

Not that I view Outsider as a bad show, but it simply seems less compelling as it goes. “Must” wraps up the tale in a reasonably worthwhile way, but not one that redeems the semi-monotony of the story’s second half.

Footnote: don’t bail on “Must” when the end credits start, as a teaser/tag appears before too long.

The Discs Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

The Outsider appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. Though not stellar, the image was more than satisfactory.

Sharpness was usually good, as the shows mostly appeared well-defined and concise. Some wide shots came across as a little soft, but those remained infrequent.

No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of source issues, no concerns materialized.

Like most modern thrillers, Outsider went with a stylized palette. Much of the flick stayed with a pretty desaturated set of tones that focused on a grimy teal tint. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity much of the time. This meant we got some murky interiors but nothing serious. All of this made the image a solid “B”.

I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Outsider. The soundfield mostly came to life during a few action sequences, as those provided fairly good material from the side and rear speakers.

Scenes in clubs and bars also added life. Otherwise this was a mix heavy on atmosphere. Those elements created a nice sense of place and added impact to the material.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full. Effects were accurate and dynamic.

Low-end response showed good thump and richness. Nothing here dazzled, but the audio merited a “B”.

A mix of extras appear here, and across all three discs, we find four Inside Episodes featurettes. These fill a total of 27 minutes, 16 seconds and offer notes from author Stephen King, director/executive producer Andrew Bernstein, director/actor/executive producer Jason Bateman, executive producer/writer Richard Price, writer Dennis Lehane, and actors Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo.

The “Inside” segments look at story/characters, cinematography and visual design, sets and locations, cast and performances. Some of the content leans toward basic promotion, but we get a decent array of insights.

On Disc One, Invitation to the Set goes for one minute, three seconds and involves King, Mendelsohn, Erivo and Price. “Set” offers a basic series overview and acts as nothing more than promo material.

Disc One also brings Jason Bateman on The Outsider, a one-minute, 22-second reel that gives us notes from Bateman. He tells us a little about his work, but like “Set”, this becomes another advertisement more than anything else.

Moving to Disc Two, we locate Stephen King and The Outsider, a two-minute, 29-second piece that involves King, Price, Mendelsohn, Lehane, and Erivo. The featurette brings thoughts about King and the mini-series. It’s another puff piece.

Adapting The Outsider runs two minutes, 49 seconds and features King and Price as they tell us a little about changes from the novel to the screen. We get a couple of minor insights but mostly find the usual praise and promotion.

On Disc Three, El Cuco. The Baba Yaga. The Outsider spans 13 minutes, 10 seconds and features King, Bernstein, Price, Erivo, Lehane, Bateman, and Mendelsohn.

As the title implies, “Cuco” looks at the mythical creature at the heart of the series. Some of this remains a bit superficial, but we get a decent set of insights overall.

Finally, Analyzing Holly Gibney fills two minutes, 50 seconds and involves Erivo, King, Bateman, Price, and Mendelsohn. Like one might expect, we get some notes about the Holly character in this decent but largely superficial reel.

After a strong start, The Outsider becomes less and less engaging. Though the series remains more than watchable, its story doesn’t continue to intrigue all that well as it goes, a factor that makes this an inconsistent tale. The Blu-rays come with generally positive picture and audio as well as minor bonus materials. Outsider becomes a moderately entertaining but semi-disappointing effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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