Not having seen the pilot, it’s difficult to tell if Outsiders is a supernatural horror dressed up in hillbilly gothic or if it’s something closer to Sons of Anarchy meets Winter’s Bone. Either way, it’s brutal and sexed-up and muddy and, well — at least judging from the trailer seen here, and the discussion today during the WGN America’s TCA panel — unexpectedly relevant. The show follows the Farrell clan, an isolated Appalachian community living on the mountain they’ve called home for two centuries. They’re forced into conflict with a nearby town when a coal mining company decides to set up shop on their land.
Makes sense, then, that the very first question asked during the panel — attended by showrunner and creator Peter Mattei, producers Peter Tolan and (piped in via satellite) Paul Giamatti, along with the main cast — concerned the ongoing and highly weird standoff in Oregon. Asked if he thought the rise in people having conflict with the government along the lines of the people occupying that bird sanctuary might mean higher ratings for the show, Mattei was brief. “Well probably in that cabin, yes,” he quipped.
He continued, saying, “The idea of people trying to hold on to what’s theirs … is topical all the time. Certainly what I was thinking about when I first started writing this thing. There’s obviously some very big differences between the Farrell clan and the people in Oregon — I actually don’t know anything about it — but the Farrells are holding on to land that they’ve been living on for over 200 years, so it’s basically their land, as opposed to them trying to take someone else’s land.” Burn.
“They don’t really have a huge beef with the government, they just wanna live how they live and they’re going to have to fight the power in order to do that,” he added. “You know, I hope that it does for people all over the place, whether they are fighting the power … or whether they’re going to Burning Man and trying to live free in that small way, I think that it’s going to have a lot of references.”
Outsiders premieres at 9 PM January 26 on WGN America. It stars David Morse, Joe Anderson, Thomas M. Wright, Ryan Hurst, Gillian Alexy, Kyle Gallner, Christina Jackson, Francie Swift, and Phyllis Somerville. Meanwhile, watch the first-look video above.