Review: The Outlaws, British dramedy

Rhianne Barreto, Darren Boyd, Gamba Cole, Clare Perkins, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Walken in The Outlaws

The Outlaws, season 1, is about a group of vividly drawn characters who end up doing community service together for 100 hours instead of going to jail. I don’t know whether to call it high stakes drama or comedy, hence the dramedy label. Season 2 has already been approved.

The Outlaws has a fabulous ensemble cast. The series was created by Stephen Merchant and Elgin James. Stephen Merchant also plays the incompetent lawyer, Greg, and directs some of the episodes.

The Outlaws poster

I’ll use the poster to describe each of the characters briefly, starting with Christopher Walken at the top left. Walken plays Frank, a lifelong grifter, absent dad, liar, cheat, and charming small time crook.

Next is Stephen Merchant as Greg. He’s a lawyer who forges his clients signatures and fails to win any cases. He’s the butt of jokes at his law office and is the source of endless puns.

Rani (Rhianne Barreto) is the good Asian girl. She smart, admitted to Oxford, and a shoplifter.

Across the bottom of the poster we first see Myrna (Clare Perkins). She’s a lifelong activist and crusader against racism. She’s militant about fighting racism and clashes with everyone who doesn’t hold the struggle in their hearts as mightily as she does.

John (Darren Boyd) owns a business and it’s going under. He can’t admit it to his father, who grew the business. He’s a racist, and a pompous ass. He has daddy issues.

Christian (Gamba Cole) is next. He’s the one truly in danger in the story. He’s not in a gang, but his younger sister Esme (Aiyana Goodfellow) is flirting with getting into that life. To protect Esme, Christian does some things that get local gang members and big time drug lords after him.

Finally there’s Lady Gabriella (Eleanor Tomlinson), whose daddy is a Lord who gives her everything but love and time. She has over a million followers on Instagram. She also has drug and alcohol issues. And daddy issues. Most importantly, she has rage issues that keep getting her arrested for stunts like keying her ex-girlfriend’s car.

Jessica Gunning in The Outlaws

Diane (Jessica Gunning) is in charge of this group and takes them to a building to clean it up and make it into a community center. She dreams of being a police officer. She’s the funniest and most ridiculous person in the cast.

Gamba Cole and Rhianne Barreto in The Outlaws

As the days go by, the characters in this community work squad begin to bond. Especially Christian and Rani. She likes him. She helps his sister study for an exam. She rats on him when the police come around asking questions. She also goes out of her way to protect him. She’s very conflicted.

We see into the individual lives of the main characters. We learn their problems and issues. As we get to know them, they get to know each other and to work together to help each other. These are people who make a lot of bad decisions and do a lot of stupid things. Even though the big dangerous issue looming over them in season 1 is mostly resolved by the end of the season, I’m sure they’ll find ways to get themselves in trouble in season 2.

You can see The Outlaws on Prime Video.

Gosh, was that a real Banksy Christopher Walken painted over?

9 thoughts on “Review: The Outlaws, British dramedy”

  1. This is a shameless copy of an older British Series which was on Netflix a couple of years ago. The plot is nearly identical and the characters aren’t that far off either. One of the stars of the British series is now one of the stars in the Umbrella Academy and another one is/was on the Good Doctor for a while. I doubt whether it can be as good as the original but if you haven’t seen the original, this will probably be a good time waster.

      1. cutscloth-andhisownhair

        Hello Virginia, I think I do.
        John is seeing similarities with ‘Misfits’ – started 2009 and had 5 seasons.
        Just checked the cast of ‘Umbrella’ and Robert Sheenan is in both. Also Lauren Socha is on misfits, she is als a main on ‘The Other One’, the hilarious series about (half-)sisters I first commented on on your site!
        However, although the set-up is very similar -it’s also about a mixed group of characters on comunity service- that’s where the comparison ends. After an event (a meteor-impact iirc) these guys and gals develop super powers!

        But most definitely worth looking up, remember loving the ‘Misfits’!

        And if you loved Jessica Gunning: have you seen ‘Pride’ – movie from 2014 ??

  2. christopher a swaby

    i really enjoyed this series. i was expecting a straight up comedy, seeing Christopher Walken, Stephen Merchant and Darren Boyd, but it was definitely a dramedy instead. the characters are nicely fleshed out as the series goes on. yes, they make some stupid decisions but they are human decisions. the bonding btwn them occurs in a way that is believable. i’m looking forward to a second season.

  3. Pingback: The Outlaws, season 2, it keeps getting better - Old Ain't Dead

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