Based on 60 reviews
Based on 349 reviews
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
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 who are trying to solve it. It's on the edgy side, with 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. 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 kissing between young couples (sex is implied and talked about), and teens spend much of the series in swimwear (board shorts, bikinis). The story mostly follows White men and includes a clichéd disabled villain who's rich, ruthless, and obsessed with finding a cure. But Black main and supporting characters (including biracial, Bahamian, and Gullah characters) add diversity to the series. For mature viewers, this intense drama is a binge-worthy watch with sharp writing and intriguing themes that touch on socioeconomic prejudice.
8 HOW IS THIS TV-MA
Report this review
Not really inappropriate.
Report this review
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'll return. When John B and his friends make a discovery that draws them into a local murder mystery, clues start to reveal what might have happened to his father -- and what he left for his son in the event that he didn't return. As friends John B, JJ (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), and Kiara (Madison Bailey) try to make sense of it all, they find themselves trailed by 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 in Outer Banks, 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. But as his story evolves, he becomes more sympathetic, helped mostly by the ginormous target affixed to his back after he stumbles into a deadly mystery and refuses 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' most wanted, and former allies turn suspect on a dime.
The drama and action that follow make for 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. Although the series does underplay the role of race and ethnicity in class divides, preferring to discuss prejudice in the Outer Banks as solely an issue of wealth (or lack thereof), John B and his friends symbolize greater tensions around the haves and have-nots. 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?
- Premiere date: April 15, 2020
- Cast: Chase Stokes, Madison Bailey, Jonathan Daviss, Rudy Pankow
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: March 3, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Terrifying guilty pleasure is iffy for sensitive teens.
Twisty hostage drama involves kids in danger.
Compelling crime drama centers on a tween's murder.
Dead bodies, spooky imagery in darkly comic drama.
For kids who love mysteries
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate