It’s been a minute since Outcast was part of Cinemax’s lineup of original programming, but after nearly two years, the supernatural series is set to return for its second (and presumably final) season. An adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic book of the same name, Outcast made a creepy splash in 2016, telling the story of Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), and the supernatural forces that effectively destroyed his life. Having returned home following accusations of violent domestic assault, Kyle gradually comes to realize there are otherworldly entities at play and he may be the key to stopping them.
Though moderately well-received, the series initially seemed like a big get for Cinemax, as it gave HBO’s sister channel the opportunity to market an original program with the tag “from the creator of The Walking Dead.” And yet, almost inexplicably, the series vanished from Cinemax’s lineup following the season 1 finale, all the way back in August of 2016. The second season already aired last year in the U.K., and now the show will (finally) go on in the U.S..
That the series has a nearly two-year gap between the first and second season raises the difficulty setting for the show’s marketing department considerably. Tasked with not only selling season 2 but also reminding viewers that Outcast is, in fact, a thing, it’s tough to tell where to draw the line in terms of pushing the narrative forward and jogging the audience’s memory. From the look of things in the new trailer, it would seem as though Cinemax has opted to stick more to the former, as the preview settles nicely back into the show's unsettling tone and dark atmosphere.
There’s shockingly little to go on in terms of story details, as the trailer spends most of its time setting up a gradually intensifying cascade of disturbing images that suggest Kyle’s story is about to go from bad to worse. The same is apparently true for the supporting cast, which includes Philip Glenister as Reverend John Anderson, Wrenn Schmidt (The Looming Tower) as Kyle’s adoptive sister Megan Holter, and the late Reg E. Cathey (Luke Cage season 2) as Chief Giles. There’s also some shots of Brent Spiner as the evil Sidney and a few glimpses of Kyle’s daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw) and his estranged (possessed) wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil).
Overall, it should be enough to get those who enjoyed Outcast season 1 back on board, but at a certain point you have to wonder how much of the show’s potential audience has already written the series off. There’s certainly room for a dark, supernatural drama on a premium channel like Cinemax, so who knows, maybe the show will find a new life in its curiously delayed second outing.
Outcast season 2 premieres Friday, July 20 on Cinemax.