A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Outer Banks is a teen drama about a local mystery and the young people trying to solve it. It's on the edgy side, with lots of strong language, underage drinking and smoking, and generally illegal behavior by minors. Everything goes as far as language is concerned: "F--k," "a--hole," "s--t, and the like are used frequently among both teens and adults. Perhaps thanks to a lack of adult supervision, teen characters also drink a lot and do drugs -- at parties, while they boat, and even first thing in the morning. Most adults' loyalties are suspect at best, which helps the teens justify their rebellious actions. Expect some physical contact between young couples, partial nudity, and the implication of teen sex. That said, for mature viewers, this intense drama is a binge-worthy watch with sharp writing and intriguing themes that touch on socioeconomic prejudice.
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What's the story?
In OUTER BANKS, it's been close to a year since John B (Chase Stokes) has seen or heard from his father, but he refuses to give up hope that he will return. When he and his friends make a discovery that draws them into a local murder mystery, clues begin to reveal what might have happened to his father and what he left for his son in the event hat he didn’t return. As John B, JJ (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), and Kiara (Madison Bailey) try to make sense of it all, they find themselves trailed by two men who will stop at nothing to find out what the teens know, monitored by local police with uncertain motives, and unsure who to trust as they’re swept up in the mystery of a local shipwreck legend.
Is it any good?
This edgy teen drama has the suck-you-in power of a top-of-the-line Dyson vacuum, and it just doesn’t let go once it has you. When first we meet John B, it’s tempting to dislike his chronic disregard for authority and his insistence on pulling his friends into the fray despite what repercussions might fall on them. As his story evolves, however, he becomes more sympathetic, helped mostly by the ginormous target affixed to his back after stumbling into a deadly mystery and refusing to give up on solving it once he discovers his dad’s involvement. Suddenly this rebellious teen and the clues he unwittingly holds becomes Outer Banks’s most wanted, and former allies turn suspect on a dime.
Outer Banks is an engrossing escape, especially for those with time to binge watch because it’s so difficult to stop at just one episode. It’s sharply written around not just intriguing characters but also relevant themes related to socioeconomic disparity and prejudice. As John B lays it out, the community has two distinct classes: the well-off Kooks and the working-class Pogues. As tensions play out between the different groups, he and his friends symbolize the greater community tensions and, in the case of Kiara especially, the challenging of those same stereotypes. Parents and older teens who watch together can discuss these issues as they relate to their own communities and experiences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Outer Banks presents its teen characters. Do you find their general experiences realistic? Are they meant to be? Does entertainment have to reflect real life to be appealing, or is the escape from reality the draw?
In what ways is John B a flawed hero? Can you look past his bad behavior to see the good in him? Does your ability to do so change as the story evolves? Are "perfect" characters more appealing as heroes? What character strengths do you see in him?
John B is skeptical of most adults and their motives. Given his experiences, is he right to feel that way? Do any adults surprise him and change his ability to trust?
Families can talk about class differences. How do they affect life in Outer Banks? Do you see any of these issues happening in your own community?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love mysteries
Themes & Topics
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