Escape To A Coastal Paradise With Netflix’s Latest Soapy Teen Drama

Welcome to “What’s Good,” a weekly column where we break down what’s soothing, distracting, or just plain good in the streaming world.
Photo: Courtesy of Curtis Baker/Netflix.
What’s Good: Outer Banks on Netflix 
Who It’s Good For: OG fans of The O.C or Dawson’s Creek and current stans of Riverdale or Elite — basically anyone who likes watching a HOT cast (seriously stupidly hot) of “teenagers” do dumb shit, like try to solve murder mysteries, kiss your best friend, or fall for the unattainable girl, with the backdrop of equally easy-on-the-eyes scenery. 
How Good Is It? Let’s be real: Outer Banks is not going to win any awards or insert itself into the prestige TV lexicon. It’s not even going to be the next Tiger King — it’s wild in less obvious and exploitative ways — but it is going to be the latest Netflix show everyone will be talking about it. 
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Outer Banks dropped late last week, just in time for you to spend all weekend devouring the tale about teens living in North Carolina’s Outer Banks (a group of islands off the coast of NC). If you didn’t watch 10 episodes in 48 hours, here’s a primer: Four best friends from the wrong side of the tracks act as a way into the class struggle of a seaside town. As a very informative voiceover tells us in the first 15 minutes, “you either have two jobs or two houses” in the Outer Banks. Our motley crew and the other have-not teens of the town are nicknamed the “pogues,” while the rich kids are the “kooks.” These titles are very important because most of the characters’ entire identities are summed up by which group they belong to. How very The O.C. of them. 
Chase Stokes plays head “pogue” and the narrator of our story, John B (not to be confused with Jon B, the R&B singer from the ’90s who no one on this show or in its target demo will remember because his career ended before they were born, but real ones know). Stokes has K.J. Apa’s chiseled face, the 2020 version of Zac Efron’s High School Musical hair, Ryan Atwood’s brooding abs (if you think abs can’t brood, Outer Banks will prove you wrong), and the unwavering resolve of Dawson Leery, only slightly less annoying. He’s convinced his father, who has been lost at sea for months, is not dead as presumed, but alive and sending hidden messages about a long-lost $400-million fortune hidden on a boat. I think. It’s hard to focus on the murder mystery plot with all the shirtless-ness, mumbling hot people and the fact that the plot is very much secondary to the hotness and no shirts. 
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John B’s BFFs are Pope (Jonathan Davis), an adorable genius who is just trying to use his brains to get a scholarship and a ticket out of the Outer Banks, JJ (Rudy Pankow), the dumbest of the bunch and resident hothead troublemaker, and Kiara (Madison Bailey), the sole girl of the group who is not poor but seems to hinge her personality on the fact that she is definitely not like the “kooks.” Kiara and John B’s chemistry is sweet and seems to set up a classic best friend will-they-or-won’t-they teen subplot we’re all used to, but John B has his eyes set on another teen TV trope: pining after his boss’s daughter, Sarah (Madelyn Cline), the rich girl who is definitely off limits. Insert the teenage angst and sexual tension we all need right now! 
In conclusion, come for the shirtless eye-candy and stunning views and stay for the shirtless eye-candy and stunning views. 
Things that are also good:
• Netflix’s Unorthodox 
• Wearing the same sweatpants for three days straight 
• Amazon Prime’s Younger 
• Still being late for things that now take place in your own home just to keep your brand strong 
• ABC Spark’s The Bold Type 
• And, if you’re looking for another teen show involving searching for treasure, Netflix’s other gem, On My Block

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