Why you should be watching “Outsiders”

Just like brewing the infamous moonshine it takes the right mix of ingredients to create captivating scripted drama. When you mix armed robbery, matricide, violence, corruption, a bit of moonshine and a modern day Romeo and Juliet, you have the new WGN America’s scripted show Outsiders. The show is created by playwright Peter Mattei and the executive producers include Rescue Me’s Peter Tolan and acting powerhouse Paul Giamatti.

Outsiders centers around the Scottish-Irish Farrell clan on the Appalachian hills in rural Kentucky. The two hundred year old clan — despite their tough criminal family organization — just strives to uphold the more traditional American values and want to be left alone. Asa Farrell (Joe Anderson) returned to the clan after being in the modern world for more than 10 years and struggles with his reintegration. The corporate mining company wants the Farrells evicted from their land and it’s up to deputy sheriff Wade Houghton Jr. (Thomas M. Wright) to remove the clan. Asa will lead the Farrell’s fight to stay on their land. Outsiders is an exciting new gritty drama, only five episodes have aired, and we’re telling you why you should catch up right now.

Everyone is deeply morally complicated, but you root for them anyway

It’s fun to watch a show with morally grey characters and their thick accents. Depending on the episode your allegiance will shift and there are several multifaceted characters you can root for. From the strong matriarch of the family Lady Ray (Phyllis Somerville), to her power hungry son Big Foster (David Morse), to the cunning G’ Winfeer (Gillian Alexy) who’s playing all her cards to ensure her position in the clan and she’s entangled in a doomed love triangle with Asa and Lil Foster (Ryan Hurst), to the scared and alcoholic deputy sheriff who can barely hold his life together. So. much. drama.

Their family code of honor is pretty intense

Outsiders brings a slightly different take on the big criminal family organizations as previously seen in shows such as The Sopranos and Sons of Anarchy. From the power struggle between Big Foster and Asa, the crumbling relationships in the clan, to the romances between the third and fourth cousins. In case of dispute — or just stealing two bottles of moonshine a.k.a. Farrell Wine — fingers will be chopped off as punishment. That’s the way life goes when you’re living with the Farrells.

The dramatic tension is totally addictive

The writers took their time to establish the Farrell clan and subtly highlight the cultural differences with the townsfolk.  In certain parts there’s a glacial pace when it comes to the storylines, but it’s all necessary to build the characters and the world up. The corruption in the sheriff’s department, the loss of miner jobs, the various criminal activities, and the general hostility of the townsfolk against the Farrells and vice versa; it’s all stirred in a nice cocktail of hillbilly drama.

They have the cutest Romeo and Juliet situation

The bad guy/ good girl dichotomy combined with star crossed romance has been done to death in popular culture. Nevertheless, the electrifying chemistry between Hasil Farrell (Kyle Gallner) and his Sally-Ann (Christina Jackson) make it worthwhile. This is especially underlined when you realize that the two actors didn’t have a chemistry test before they got their part. Gallner and Jackson are able to convey an innocence and vulnerability in the budding relationship between their characters. Hasil brews moonshine and carves wooden animal figurines, thus comes across as the odd man out in the Farrell clan; Sally-Ann is a loner who works two jobs and takes care of her unemployed brother. They’re just two outsiders coming together. The sweetness of their interactions just seems like a natural progression of their bond that easily trumps the predictably of the “outsider who falls in love with the shy girl next door” trope. It’s written in the stars.