After torturing us for many months, Netflix renewed the soapy teen drama Outer Banks for Season 2. The show, which pits the haves against the have-nots on the picturesque coast of North Carolina, was a sweet relief when it came out in April as a virtual vacation amid the coronavirus pandemic, so we’re glad it’s coming back!
The summer-set series follows John B (Chase Stokes) and his friends as they search for lost treasure, and although the storyline was one of the most ridiculous things we’ve seen in a while, we couldn’t help but fall in love with the show and its coastal waters and constant sunshine. If you are looking for another show that will allow you to escape from the monotony of your own life while waiting for Outer Banks Season 2, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated the perfect post-Outer Banks viewing list featuring shows that are set in picturesque locales and are filled with more soap than a case of Irish Spring. So check out the list below and get to binge-watching your next great find.
Watch it on: Amazon Prime
Erana James, The Wilds
Darker waters fill this Amazon Prime original, as The Wilds ditches the sun-soaked beaches of Outer Banks for an inhospitable deserted island in the middle of whoknowswhere. The group of teens at the center of this show is a diverse set of teenage girls on their way to a spiritual retreat that will supposedly put them back on the right track, except things go awry when their plane crashes near an island. Like Outer Banks, mystery and adventure await, as it’s fairly obvious to say that there’s more going on in The Wilds than just young women sorting out their stuff on an island. Flashbacks and flash-forwards give the characters depth and allow for the storytelling to tease revelations at every turn. It’s Lost for the YA crowd, and that’s a compliment.
Watch it on: Hulu
Netflix advertised Outer Banks as Dawson’s Creek meets The Goonies, which if you’re trying to appeal to today’s youth, might not have been the best idea; have today’s teens seen either of these pop culture touchstones? If not, Dawson’s Creek should be the first stop after watching Outer Banks. Set in the small town of Capeside, Massachusetts (but filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina), the coming-of-age drama follows Dawson (James Van Der Beek), an aspiring filmmaker; Joey (Katie Holmes), his best friend and love interest; Pacey (Joshua Jackson), his other best friend and Joey’s other love interest; and Jen (Michelle Williams), the New York transplant who lives next door, who is also Dawson’s love interest, as they experience the triumphs and challenges of growing apart, growing together, and growing up. There are a lot of hormones in one place, but the WB classic took a view of teens that shows rarely did at the time, which is that their problems were just as important and just as serious as those adults were facing. This often translated to Dawson and his circle of friends speaking like adults — sometimes pretentiously so. And while there is no search for lost gold, just a great show about the trials of young adulthood, there will likely never be another show like it.
Watch it on: Netflix
Kaya Scodelario, Spinning Out
You can think of Spinning Out as the winter version of Outer Banks, in that there is a lot of ice and snow involved and there is also so much melodrama you’ll be smashing the play button for the next episode even before the credits roll. Much like John B, Kaya Scodelario‘s Kat Baker is on a mission, only instead of seeking out buried treasure and a missing father, she’s looking to find a way back to an elite figure skating career after a dangerous fall during competition forced her to make a detour. The series, which follows Kat as she attempts to revitalize her career by becoming a pairs skater with Evan Roderick’s rich and naturally talented Justin, is the perfect amount of extra for those who miss Outer Banks‘ sheer ridiculousness, and it even features a romance between the central duo. Beneath the sparkles and illusion netting, though, is a deeper story about a fractured family and the toll mental illness can take. Spinning Out lasted just one season, which makes it low commitment (though I firmly believe it would have been renewed if Netflix had not buried it on New Year’s Day), and for real world figure skating fans, you can’t beat Johnny Weir playing one half of a catty rival pairs team.
Watch it on: Netflix
The best thing about Outer Banks was easily its setting, which made everyone who watched it immediately want to escape to the Carolinas (although the show was set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it was filmed outside of Charleston, South Carolina). The Italian drama Summertime — yes, sorry, you’ll have to read subtitles for this one — is equally picturesque, possibly even more so, and also features an all-consuming love story. Inspired by Federico Moccia’s books and set on the Adriatic coast, the show follows Summer (Coco Rebecca Edogamhe), who longs to escape her hometown but worries about the strain it would put on her family, and Ale (Ludovico Tersigni), a former motorcycle racer who decides to explore what else life has to offer after a bad fall, as they embark on a soapy summer romance in a small beach town. While Outer Banks appeared to exist only at magic hour, Summertime sizzles in the sun, with bold, bright colors that make the seaside town’s clear water even more inviting. You’ll want to escape into its romantic world immediately.
Watch it on: Netflix
David Stakston and Jonas Strand Gravli, Ragnarok
If the working class teens fighting against the one percent was your favorite part of Outer Banks, you might enjoy the dramatics the teens get up to in Ragnarok, a Norwegian Netflix series with an environmentalist message buried inside a story that pulls from Norse mythology. The show follows Magne (David Stakston), who is the second coming of Thor, as he fights against the Jutul Corporation, which is run by other figures from Norse mythology who look like posh and impossibly beautiful humans. They are the embodiment of corporate malfeasance and, as Norway’s fifth-wealthiest family, representative of the one percent. But their factories are also polluting the beautiful and picturesque town of Edda, Norway, and Thor just ain’t about that. Ragnarok might not be the greatest show ever made (honestly, if you love Outer Banks, that likely isn’t a problem for you), but it’s only six episodes and a breeze to watch.
Outer Banks wasn’t the first teen soap to feature a pretty rich girl falling for a hunky guy from the wrong side of the tracks, nor was it the first to do it on a sandy beach with a rich ex-boyfriend screaming and punching people. No, that honor goes to Fox’s The O.C. (honestly, it probably wasn’t the first either, but go with it). Set in the wealthy town of Newport Beach, California, The O.C. follows Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), a teen from a broken home who is adopted by his public defender (Peter Gallagher) and his wife (Kelly Rowan), gaining a quick-witted but socially awkward brother (Adam Brody) and privileged girlfriend (Mischa Barton) along the way. While no one will ever be able to explain how Brody’s Seth was ever seen as a dork, the show was the perfect blend of humor, melodrama, and heart. Never better than it was in that brilliant first season, which moved at the speed of light and was backed by an excellent soundtrack, the fourth and final season was a triumphant return to form. I’m not saying it’s because the show finally cut the dead weight, but I’m not not saying that either.
Watch it on: Amazon Prime
Sofia Pernas and Matt Barr, Blood & Treasure
A search for buried treasure drives much of the story of Outer Banks, and if the thrill of action and adventure is what you’re looking for, CBS’s Blood & Treasure should be the next show on your list. The series follows an art enthusiast (Matt Barr) who teams up with a fugitive (Sofia Pernas) to catch a terrorist who funds his endeavors through stolen treasure. That sounds like a TV exec threw a lot of keywords into a bowl and pulled them out to build the premise, and it’s entirely possible that’s what happened. But with a nice dose of mythology, a global scale, some fun performances, and the obvious influence of Indiana Jones, the series is the perfect low-key binge for summer. While it might be predictable, that is also part of its charm; it doesn’t require a whole lot of brainpower, and it’s easy to sit back and allow yourself to fall into the show.