Netflix gives the ‘Outer Banks’ a try  

By on April 28, 2020

Outer Banks follows a group of “OBX” teenagers who find more than they bargained for in a sunken sport-fishing boat. (

Entertainment Review by Peter Hummers

For a remote group of barrier islands, the Outer Banks are not as obscure as we might sometimes like.

In the 1983 movie Brainstorm, Christopher Walken’s character is on the run and makes a phone call from the Wright Brothers monument in Kill Devil Hills. In an episode of Wiseguy (1987), an offscreen character is said to be “on vacation in Nags Head.” Outer Banks local Andy Griffith shot a double 1989 episode of Matlock in Dare County. The Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode “Scared Crazy” (2005) featured an antagonist with a background in a secret military group “on the Outer Banks” (Hatteras Island).

In John Grisham’s novel “The Pelican Brief” an assassin comes ashore to find a truck with North Carolina plates and drives inland towards D.C., going “across the bridge to Manteo.” The comedy (to OBX locals) Nights in Rodanthe (2008) is set here. In the Breaking Bad episode “Four Days Out” we see an Outer Banks travel poster in Albuquerque. And of course, there is the 2019 film, Peanut Butter Falcon, written and directed by OBX native Tyler Nilson, that is a big screen homage to the area.

Now, Netflix has released the new teen-drama series Outer Banks, which I admit to approaching with some skepticism.

Not a few Bankers felt burned by the strange geography and weird characters in Nights in Rodanthe, but were soothed somewhat by the resulting publicity — and those of our number who became extras in the film. The good news is that I needn’t have worried.

Outer Banks is a suspenseful, complicated yarn that hits the right marks. A group of local teenagers finds a sunken Grady-White boat in the marsh, and after a quick dive, bring a motel-room key out of it.

The motel is in repair following a hurricane, so two of the kids enter the room surreptitiously and find a big ol’ bag of money and a SIG Sauer pistol. They pocket a few packs of cash and the handgun, when they’re interrupted and almost caught by a pair of deputies who come in to search the room.

Meanwhile a local dock rat washes up dead, someone who, the kids know, couldn’t afford even a surfboard, and the police tie him to the missing boat. Sinister outsiders are also looking for the boat, and only the kids know where it actually is.

The general look of the setting is about right, and the writers have done their homework: There’s a hurricane, tourist mega houses, sunken treasure, smuggling and piracy. The county is called Kildare County. One of the kids, feeling pressured by the situation, says, “I’m livin’ the nightmare!” But there’s also an invented caste system for the kids that serves the plot: working-class locals, “tourons” and a largely fictional community of rich teenagers in their families’ second homes.

For us Bankers, it’s good to remember that in addition to being our home, the Outer Banks is also an idea, one that is gaining purchase across the country. Outer Banks is set there. (It was shot in Charleston, SC.) The lighthouses are wrong, the deputies’ badges read “Kildare County,” and there are palm trees.

But when we moved past the distractions of location errors in Nights in Rodanthe (which only we noticed), it became a tolerable Hollywood movie. Outer Banks is better than that. Here’s the trailer.

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  • Picky Nicky

    Don’t forget “Message in a Bottle,” a Kevin Costner film from 1999 was also supposed to be on the Outer Banks, with a strangely rocky Ocracoke Island…

    And, FWIW, “Ender’s Game” has a rocket launch facility in Stumpy Point.

    Monday, Apr 20 @ 10:48 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Great trivia, Nicky.

    Monday, Apr 20 @ 10:52 am
  • WP

    I watched the whole season and it is an amalgam of Carolina coasts. A few more episodes in, brings in a Gullah/Geechee reference. Remember that Dawson’s Creek was supposed to be set in New England!
    The first episode was a slower start; the action picks up and is engaging if you can get past the creative license. This show reminds me of the film The Outsiders, that had the social class angle and launched some major careers (Cruise, Swayze, Macchio, Lane, Lowe). A guilty pleasure worth watching for sure!

    Monday, Apr 20 @ 12:35 pm
  • Hatteras Realty

    Also “Castaway,” with a pic of Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt in front of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, on the fireplace mantel during the romantic Christmas Eve scene approx. 20 minutes in.

    Monday, Apr 20 @ 12:37 pm
  • Wahoo

    This Outer Banks fictional teen series seems decent, especially the grady white. But…

    I can’t help comparing this series to Magnum P.I. Magnum’s team has 3 mustaches out of 4. Rick is the only one without facial hair, but he has a desirable 1980s hairpile. Higgins, TC and Magnum have mustaches. I think Magnum’s ‘stache should count as three.

    Monday, Apr 20 @ 7:14 pm
  • Ashlyn Sundquist

    It is worth noting the the show’s creator has publicly stated the Charleston SC was chosen as the location to shoot over Wilmington specifically in response to the North Carolina bathroom bill.

    Monday, Apr 20 @ 7:59 pm
  • Pete Hummers

    Thanks, Nicky–I’ll add them to my collection. Message in a Bottle was also originally a book by Nicholas Sparks, who wrote Nights in Rodanthe

    Tuesday, Apr 21 @ 6:05 am
  • Steve

    Call it what everyone else calls this place, OBnoXious.

    Tuesday, Apr 21 @ 6:18 am
  • Jim

    Interesting show only watchable because most of the scenes are Shem creek in Mt Pleasant, SC where I live and Chaple Hill was the Galliard in downtown Charleston, other seems in the old village and also Kiawa ISLE golf course club house.

    Tuesday, Apr 21 @ 10:09 pm
  • Nativeland

    It’s not a documentary. Just fun… they borrowed our cool namesake

    Thursday, Apr 23 @ 11:54 am