One of the hottest television dramas to distract us from the dumpster fire that was 2020 is Netflix’s Outer Banks. When the new program premiered in April 2020, it instantly drew attention from not only the teens it was clearly created for but also their parents. It was a surprisingly good show and was quickly recognized as such by viewers around the world.
Shortly after the original 10-episode Season 1 was in play, Netflix greenlighted a second season. Now that the mid-2021 Season 2 premiere is drawing near, it’s time to look at some fun facts about the popular show and what makes it such a binge-worthy modern-day soap opera.
[WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead!]
Viewers join a drama already in progress. We meet the protagonist John B. months after his dad has disappeared without a trace. John B. is determined to find out what happened to his father, and his band of loyal buddies is eager to help him along the way. Without giving too much away, they figure out the dad’s disappearance is somehow linked to a $400 million treasure that went down with a ship called The Royal Merchant.
Too many teen-based dramas seem to focus exclusively on the physical appearances of the actors, rather than scouting talent who can actually act. Outer Banks avoids that trap, delivering dramatic performances that are believable and nuanced from all the cast members. Okay, and they’re pretty easy on the eyes too.
The cast includes Chase Stokes as John B., Madelyn Cline as Sarah Cameron, Madison Bailey as Kiara, Jonathon Daviss as Pope, and the scene-stealing Rudy Pankow as JJ. Along with a colorful and crusty array of other cast members, these actors bring their coastal characters to life in a way that many dramas often have difficulty achieving.
Interestingly enough, this tight-knit cast doesn’t just play the roles of close-knit kids who grew up living a seaside life.
Many of them have real ties to the water. Pankow is a certified kayak guide, Bailey is from North Carolina, and Stokes, who grew up in south Florida, knows how to surf and pilot boats. Cline is actually from Charleston, South Carolina, where Outer Banks is filmed.
Although the series is set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the show contains many slice-of-life elements that anyone who lives in a coastal paradise will understand and appreciate.
Like the classic novel, The Outsiders, Outer Banks showcases the lifestyle differences between the haves, referred to as the Kooks, and the have-nots, otherwise known as the Pogues. The differences in the characters’ socioeconomic status becomes a huge plot element throughout the series and serves as a big reason the program seems to grow on fans who can relate to similar labels in their own lives.
The main character of Outer Banks, John B., best summed up the difference in lifestyles in the opening episode: “The Outer Banks, paradise on Earth. It’s the sort of place where you either have two jobs or two houses. Two tribes, one island.”
Anyone who’s ever lived in a beach town will instantly relate to such rigid dichotomy. It’s a very real element, and goes a long way in making the show seem that much more believable.
In a development that was sure to make teen hearts flutter a little faster, Outer Banks stars Madelyn Cline and Chase Stokes confirmed that the on-camera romance between their characters had officially made the leap into real life. The two announced they were dating back in June 2020, and as of this writing, the duo’s still steaming ahead. The rest of the cast formed tight bonds by living in the same complex, with Pankow and Stokes even sharing an apartment. Some of the stars — Pankow, Stokes, Cline, and castmate Drew Starkey — spent several weeks quarantining together as well.
There’s a reason movies like The Goonies and “reality” shows like The Curse of Oak Island are such big hits: People are obsessed with treasure. Who hasn’t daydreamed about being the lucky castaway who finds a long-lost treasure that human hands haven’t held in centuries?
But before you suit up in your scuba gear and take a stab at finding The Royal Merchant in the waters off the Outer Banks, let’s set the record straight. While there was a ship called Merchant Royal, it didn’t go down along the Outer Banks in the 1800s, as the plot of the show goes. Instead, the real ship sank in 1641 near England, while carrying gold, silver and coins that would be worth approximately $2 billion today. In 2019, an anchor believed to belong to that ship was found by a fishing boat, making the real treasure a hot topic of well-funded hunters once again.
Ultimately, Outer Banks proves that a fictional treasure hunt can be almost as fun and rewarding as the real thing. If you love treasure hunts, mystery, intrigue, or just a little harmless 20-something drama, you still have time to watch Season 1 before Season 2 sets sail this August on Netflix.