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 The Outsider is a horror series based on Stephen King's 2018 bestselling novel. It features a lot of disturbing and bloody content, including that of a child’s mutilated corpse. Murder is a theme (and occasionally shown), and there are frequent violent outbursts using weapons like guns and bats. Frightening images of (presumed) supernatural entities are shown. Scenes take place in strip clubs, where full frontal nudity is visible. Strong language is frequent, including f--k, ass, and hell, and characters drink alcohol, sometimes to excess.
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What's the story?
Based on the 2018 bestselling book by Stephen King of the same title, THE OUTSIDER is a horror-themed miniseries about a murder investigation that takes on supernatural elements. Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) investigates the brutal murder of 11-year old Frank Peterson, a local Cherokee City, Georgia boy whose mangled body is found in the woods covered with saliva and bite marks. After finding strong circumstantial evidence, Anderson publicly arrests Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), the local little league coach, for murder. But with the help of his wife Glory (Julianne Nicholson) and family attorney Howie Gold (Bill Camp) it's revealed that Terry was in a different city at the time the vicious crime took place. As both sides continue to find decisive evidence in their favor, a strange, deformed figure lingers around the town, and darker forces begin to take hold. As a result, the unconventional private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) is called to help with the case.
Is it any good?
This dark series integrates a confusing sense of the impossible into the mundane activities of a police procedural while incorporating horrific elements. The dimly lit scenes and deliberately slow narrative create a strange sense of foreboding that is further perpetuated by the show’s soundtrack, which veers from Mozart to Cardi B. However, there are moments when the storytelling feels a bit too slow, making it more tedious than suspenseful. But ultimately, The Outsider offers an intriguing story with some terrific cast performances that make the whole thing come together in an entertaining and strangely addictive way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the differences between the screen adaptation of The Outsider and the book written by Stephen King. What do you think some of the challenges are of adapting a horror book to screen?
Is it possible to produce horror films and TV programs that are frightening, but not violent? Can you think of any examples? How does the supernatural element of The Outsider contribute to the scariness?
Is there a difference between a scary movie or TV show and horror films or TV show? What are some of the key elements of the horror genre? How can you decide if a scary movie or show is age-appropriate?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love horror
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.
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