'Outer Range' Opens Up a Wyoming Wormhole of Western Weirdness

Created by Brian Watkins

Starring Josh Brolin, Imogen Poots, Noah Reid, Will Patton, Lili Taylor, Tamara Podemski, Tom Pelphrey, Lewis Pullman

BY Alex HudsonPublished Apr 25, 2022

The Power of the Dog got robbed at the Oscars, but the Western renaissance continues with Outer Range — a series that embraces the tropes of the genre while also breaking outside of the box.

Josh Brolin stars as Royal Abbott, a rancher operating a large sprawling property in Wyoming. The family is coming to grips with the disappearance of daughter-in-law Rebecca, who went missing nine months ago, and a series of events throws them into further disarray: the neighbouring Tillerson family makes a legal claim over the Abbotts' west pasture, the mysterious hippie Autumn (Imogen Poots) begins camping on their land and, strangest of all, a portal-like hole opens up in the ground.

The show's rugged Western tropes mingle with elements of mystery, thriller and crime drama, as local sheriff Joy (Tamara Podemski) looks into the disappearance of one of the Tillerson boys. The classic Western tone is further undercut by the slapstick singing of the frosty-haired Billy Tillerson (Schitt's Creek's Noah Reid) and a very of-the-moment joke about Kanye West buying a Wyoming ranch

Most of all, it's the sci-fi elements that really stand out: the portal-like hole in the ground has an unnatural appearance that's very clearly CGI, which is miles removed from the ruggedness of the Wyoming ranch. It's a fantastical aesthetic that doesn't make any attempt to look realistic, situating the show more in the realm of fantasy than realism. Other surreal shit keeps happening, like a disappearing mountain and time travel elements, at times recalling the weirdness of the 2013 Stephen King adaption Under the Dome (the early seasons when it was still pretty good — not the later ones when it went totally off the deep end).

Outer Range occasionally flirts with being a little too weird for its own good — especially the Clamato-chugging rival Wayne Tillerson (Will Patton), who is more silly than villainous when yelling at the taxidermy animal heads mounted on the walls of his gaudy home.

But it's the show's surreal elements that ultimately keep it suspenseful. Outer Range is the kind of show that would be easy to crush in a marathon viewing, if only it weren't rolling out weekly. Much like Lost and its hatch, I really want to find out what's going on in that hole.
(Prime Video)

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage