The Outlaws: Stephen Merchant’s misfit comedy series leaves viewers divided

While some viewers loved the new comedy, others were far less keen

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 26 October 2021 09:45
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The Outlaws trailer

Viewers have been left divided by Stephen Merchant’s new comedy series The Outlaws.

Premiering on BBC One on Monday (25 October), the series follows a group of misfits taking part in community service in Bristol.

It stars Eleanor Tomlinson, Darren Boyd and Christopher Walken, in his first role in a UK TV series.

Despite the stellar cast, viewers were conflicted by the series, with some calling it “excellent” while others said it was “staggeringly bad”.

One tweet read: “Could somebody explain to me WTF The Outlaws on BBC 1 is all about please? Just had the misfortune to see the last 5 mins tonight and not sure if it’s complete s***e or I’m just a wee bit slow and it’s actually brilliant!”

However, some viewers were less convinced, with one commenting: “Managed 14 minutes of #TheOutlaws on Bbc1. Staggeringly bad. Christopher Walken must have a tax bill coming up.”

One Twitter user commented: “My God, I had high hopes for this comedy, but this feels like somebody just dusted off a script from the early 2010s and said ‘That’ll do’.”

But some viewers loved the show, with many praising the show’s casting.

“I’m already loving #TheOutlaws. I forget how great a comedic actress Eleanor Tomlinson is, and kudos goes to writing a female lead character with an Asian mother and Polish father. Mixed heritage characters are so few on TV and I love this,” one viewer said.

“Well that was bloody brilliant wasn’t it?” another fan commented.

“I didn’t know what to expect from #TheOutlaws tonight, but was excellent. Had the right balance of comedy and drama, with an excellent soundtrack to boot,” one tweet read.

In his three-star review of The Outlaws, The Independent’s Ed Cummings wrote: “There are one or two laughs, mostly from Merchant, but the overall effect is very BBC comedy, and not entirely in a good way. This schtick can work, but it needs a lot of charm to compensate for the complete absence of glamour. From this first hour, it’s not clear whether The Outlaws has it.”

The Outlaws continues Monday 1 November at 9pm on BBC One.

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