Fans of The Walking Dead are finally back to normal now that the second half of Season 5 is underway. And it’s even better for fans of creator Robert Kirkman, who has another one of his comic creations now heading to the small screen. Cinemax has put in a full series order for the dark exorcism horror Outcast. Somebody call a TV priest, stat.
Created by Kirkman and Chris Black (Star Trek: Enterprise), Outcast will tell its Season 1 story across ten episodes, which is fewer than Walking Dead’s AMC orders. Luckily, Outcast has a more direct central narrative that shouldn’t get bungled by the slow character development that the AMC hit sometimes gets chided for.
In Outcast, Patrick Fugit stars as Kyle Barnes, a man whose entire life has been the center of demonic possession, which has obviously ruined relationships with friends and family, whom he must often cast aside in an effort to keep them safe. Kyle connects with the somewhat equally damaged Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), a boozer and gambler who helps Kyle in his quest to figure out why he is targeted by evil, and in doing so unleashes a secret that may change the world as we know it.
Additionally, Stalker’s Gabriel Bateman stars as Joshua Austin, a young boy who lives across the city from Kyle, but is still closer to him than almost anyone else, due to his own demonic possession. But this one isn’t your “average” case, and it’s discovered that Kyle is tied into it all in a huge way.
Speaking to the horror of the series, the Outcast pilot was directed by Adam Wingard, best known for the smart slasher You’re Next and last year’s genius thriller The Guest. It’ll be interesting to see if Kirkman brings in more horror directors to handle the rest of the episodes, or if the usual gang of TV directors will be used. (Not that I’m complaining about TV directors.) Maybe Kirkman can call up Frank Darabont for this, since the latter’s time with The Walking Dead ended in such a debacle.
The Skybound/Image series was first published in June 2014, and is currently six issues strong. (The seventh issue will be out on March 18.) It was in development for a couple of years previous, and Kirkman actually started working with Cinemax on a series adaptation before publication began. That’s a lesson to always plan ahead, I guess.
Cinemax’s recent original programming is aiming for both action fans – with Banshee and Strike Back – and those who like cinematic drama, with The Knick serving as one of the more astonishing series on the air in the past decade. I can’t wait to see how devilishly well Outcast fits into the premium network’s lineup.