Netflix's Outer Banks is the new teen drama that's pretty much a murder-filled version of Dawson's Creek.

Teenagers today are less focused on angsty love triangles and high school shenanigans and much more into social politics, theft and murder.

At least, that’s what Netflix’s latest teen drama Outer Banks would lead us all to believe.

Of course, if we’re talking candidly here for a second, Outer Banks, much like the glut of other teen shows that have been released in the last few years, is not actually aimed at a teen audience at all.

Teens, from what I hear on the streets, are much more interested in creating Tik Tok content (or whatever new platform overtakes it in the time it takes me to write this review) then watching these sorts of stories unfold on screen. In reality, the people sure to become the most immersed in Outer Banks would skew much more heavily towards the ’20s to 30s’ range.

The new Netflix drama goes heavy with its nostalgia-baiting and the finished product feels very much like the rushed-together love child of Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, Veronica Mars and The OC.

Except for this time around, there’s just enough guns, murder and mayhem to make Dawson Leery’s innocent eyes pop right out of his skull.

Watch: Take a look at the trailer for Outer Banks on Netflix. Post continues after. 

Set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, at an indistinguishable time period, the series is narrated by John B (Chase Stokes) whose father was lost at sea more than six months ago while hunting down the Royal Merchant, a ship that sunk and vanished in 1829 but was rumoured to have gone down with $400 million in British gold.

He has been left in the care of a wayward uncle, who he has not seen or heard from in weeks, and now the authorities have caught onto his wild, solo teen existence and are threatening to send him to the mainland to live in foster care.

It’s an idea that terrifies him, mostly because he’ll be separated from his gang which includes J.J. (Rudy Pankow), the hot-headed and troublemaking son of an abusive drunk, the smart and scholarly Pope (Jonathan Daviss), better known as the ‘golden boy’ of the trio and tough-talking environmentalist Kiara (Madison Bailey), who the boys of the group all seem a little in love with.


The teenagers on the outer banks are divided into two separate social cohorts, according to their parent’s wealth, in the classic battle of the teen ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ popularised by Veronica Mars and The OC (although not as cleverly executed here).

Our merry band of heroes, apart from Kiara whose parents own a restaurant, are part of the Pogues, the scrappy, blue-collar kids on the island whose parents are either unemployed or work the most menial of jobs.

On the flip side of the coin, there are the Kooks, the kids of the wealthy whose parents own sprawling homes and sleek yachts and who are easily identifiable thanks to their preppy clothing.

The action kicks off when, following a hurricane that leaves a path of destruction in its wake and the island without power, John B, Pope, J.J and Kiara discover a series of clues and a compass that leads them on a dangerous hunt for John B’s missing father (who is apparently not so dead after all) and a sunken ship of gold that could give the three boys a way out of their poverty filled life.

The mystery elements of the series work well, a decaying body floating in the waterway, a gun and wads of cash the group discover while fleeing an abandoned hotel from police and the search for the elusive main treasure all give this story a slightly darker air than traditional teen shows, without things getting quite so out of hand that you feel like you’re watching an off-brand version of Riverdale (nobody wants that).

Outer Banks, however, is not able to match Netflix’s last big, gritty teen release The Society, which expertly managed to blend existing teen drama tropes with an exploration of social issues and a toe-curling mystery that has not been matched since.

Still, if you’re looking for a new isolation binge-watch to get swept up in and you enjoy watching teenagers think they’re in complicated romantic setups, this is the new Netflix drama for you.

So, fellow elder millennials, go back and relive your TV heydays with a look at Outer Banks.

The first season of Outer Banks will be available to watch on Netflix from April 15. 

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