Though Outcast is easily slotted into the horror genre, the series tries to take a character-first approach to its storytelling, according to star Patrick Fugit and executive producer Chris Black. Having been created by Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman, the series certainly doesn’t need to prove its horror bona fides, but with a premise revolving around gooey demons possessing the people of a small West Virginia town, it has certainly proven them already. And as Black and Fugit see it, horror or not, Outcast just wants to tell a character-driven story as best it can.
It’s easy to see where Black and Fugit are coming from. After the first two episodes of season 2, the series is more focused on the impact of last season’s events, and the lingering trauma of those who’ve experienced some pretty horrific things in their lifetime. That’s a big part of what the series is about, as even though it’s building up to a significant conflict between Kyle (Fugit), Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), Chief Giles (Reg E Cathey) and the evil Sidney (Brent Spiner), Outcast is seemingly more interested in plumbing the depths of its characters’ experiences and emotions.
In a recent interview with Screen Rant, both Fugit and Black discussed the show’s approach to its genre, and how it balances the expectations of being a horror series with trying to ground its supernatural premise in the complex emotions of its main characters. Fugit said:
“What I love about Outcast is that it is a character-driven story at its core, with horrific elements and atmosphere. Everybody always wanted to make the horrific elements feel grounded and horrific because you care about the characters. If that step is not taken and if there is no actual jeopardy is in the circumstances then it's a little harder to care about as an audience. That's one of the things I really appreciated when I first got the material to audition, I heard it was in the horror genre but I read it and realized just how character-driven it was.”
Black explains the series never set out with the intention of defining itself solely as a horror series; the cast, writers, and directors simply wanted to use the elements at their disposal to tell a compelling story. It just so happens this one fell into the horror genre.
“We never felt any sort of obligation to be blazing any new territory in the television landscape in terms of horror. We always just kind of looked at what needed to be done for the story we wanted to tell. If we were able to do something uniquely horrifying that sort of stood out in the TV landscape then we're thrilled, but we didn't feel any obligation that we needed to be the standard bearers for horror, it was always what we thought the story demanded. We were given, luckily enough, on the network we were on, we were given the latitude to tell the story in the way we wanted to tell it.”
Outcast season 2 continues tonight with ‘Not My Job to Judge’ @10pm on Cinemax.