HBO didn’t take long to adapt Stephen King’s 2018 hit book, “The Outsider.” Seventeen months after the hardcover hit shelves, we have a trailer for the limited series, directed by and starring Jason Bateman. Even going off the limited footage in the trailer, this looks like a loyal adaptation — great news considering the source is one of King’s best works in recent memory.
I won’t spoil the twists of “The Outsider,” but I will say it’s a bit more of a Stephen King story than this trailer lets on. This isn’t another True Detective, though it shares some of that series’ slow-burn psychological terrors. However, It’s weirder, more empathic, and unafraid to flip genres on a dime.
King has said the book isn’t specifically political; I find that hard to believe and I’m not the only one. Here’s a description from AV Club’s review: “King’s real subjects here are a world spinning out of control, the dangers of people who refuse to see the truth, and the rotting of a society in moral decay [...] twice we’re taken to locations where a ghastly event has occurred. One of them is graffitied with a swastika, the other with TRUMP MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN TRUMP.”
“The Outsider,” clearly and at great length, wonders how people can be two things at once: your friendly neighbor and a heartless monster. How much will the show leverage the book’s not-so-subtle political metaphors? We’ll find out soon. The Outsider premieres on HBO on Jan. 12.