I first heard about BBC America’s upcoming pioneer drama “Outcasts” back in May.

Immediately I was excited for it:

  • Humans are forced to leave an uninhabitable Earth after global destruction. Check
  • They found a colony of sorts on the planet Carpathia. Check
  • Eric Mabius of “Ugly Betty” plays the last human to leave Earth. Check
  • Jamie Bamber of “Battlestar Galactica” plays a tough explorer on the planet. Double check

Now BBC America has released the first images from the eight-part series, and I’m even more stoked to see it. Currently filming in South Africa, “Outcasts” debuts in December.

“Outcasts”After fleeing an unihabitable Earth, the pioneers of “Outcasts” establish the town of Forthaven on the planet Carpathia where they hope to start a new world, (BBC America photos)

Over the weekend at the annual TV Critics Association dog-and-pony event, Mabius and the show’s creator, Ben Richards (who helped create “MI-5”), said the series is much more than sci fi–not that there’s anything wrong with sci fi.

“We’re not at any point onboard transporters jumping through space,” Richards said, referencing Bamber’s former series. “We don’t have the kind of aerial battles you see in ‘Battlestar.'”

The series will explore what happens when humanity is given a second chance; will they make the same mistakes? Richards said he was inspired to write the series was inspired by “Lord of Flies” and a Steven Hawking quote: “If humanity is to survive we have to reach for the stars.”

“The idea is that there is hope for humanity and there is the potential for survival,” Richards said, according to TCA reports. “One of the books I particularly hate is ‘Lord of the Flies’ because it suggests humans are inherently evil and children are filled with original sin and I don’t believe that. I wanted to tell a story where humans are neither good nor bad, they’re just human.”

Mabius, who starred as playboy-with-a-heart Daniel Meade on ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” said he’s enjoying his new character, Julius Berger.

“It’s probably one of the most fun characters I’ve ever played because he’s not black or white,” Mabius said at the panel, according to the LA Times. “He’s sort of the hero and anti-hero in this new place.”

You can see BBC America’s descriptions of several characters in the photo gallery captions. More are below, along with the network’s official release about “Outcasts.” Also coming to BBC America is the crime drama “Luther,” starring Idris Elba.

OTHER CHARACTERS

  • Cass Cromwell (Daniel Mays) is a PAS Officer who is unpredictable and fiercely loyal to Tate. His loyalty may have led him to take actions he now regrets, and there are hints his past may be very different to his life now on Carpathia–but he is proud of his new home and keen to maintain it.
  • Rudi (Langley Kirkwood) is leader of the Advanced Cultivars, a group of genetically modified humans and one of Carpathia’s darkest secrets. Angered at the way they have been treated, Rudi is capable of exacting revenge on the people of Forthaven.
  • Tipper Malone (Michael Legge) is a cheeky rebel who speaks out against the authorities, representing the voice of the displaced youth on Carpathia. His cocksure exterior, however, hides the pain of his own story of how he came to the planet, and who he left behind.
  • Lily Isen (Jeanne Kietzmann) is Stella’s daughter, who Stella had to leave behind on Earth when she came to Carpathia. Lost and troubled, Jeanne seeks answers.

BBC AMERICA RELEASE

From the makers of award-winning and international hit series Life on Mars, MI-5, Hustle and Occupation, comes the new high concept drama Outcasts. The series takes viewers into a new world as it explores survival, sex, politics and the drive for power in a new post-Earth era. Created by Ben Richards (MI-5), the series stars Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty, The L Word), Liam Cunningham (Clash Of The Titans) and Hermione Norris (MI-5, Wire In The Blood). Currently in production in South Africa, the U.S. premiere season of Outcasts begins late 2010.

With Earth no longer habitable, a group of courageous pioneers have traveled to another planet to begin again. They’ve built the town of Forthaven on Carpathia and have the unique opportunity of creating a new and better future on another planet. Led by President Tate (Cunningham) and his core team of Stella (Norris), Cass (Daniel Mays, The Bank Job, Atonement) and Fleur (Amy Manson, Being Human), they’re determined to run the civilization in a democratic way, but some tough decisions in the past may prove divisive.

As the series begins it’s a moment of incredible anticipation. Forthaven has lost all contact with Earth but the arrival of the last known transporter, with Julius Berger (Eric Mabius) on board, signals fresh hopes and dreams. But why does President Tate seem anxious about the imminent arrival of Berger and will the transporter land safely with Stella’s husband and daughter, who she heartbreakingly left behind?

Meanwhile those appointed Expeditionaries, Mitchell (Jamie Bamber, Battlestar Galactica) and Jack (Ashley Walters, Small Island, Hustle), have a mission to explore the new planet and bring back vital information to the settlement. Will they find other life out there, or do they truly have the planet to themselves?

The settlers are a diverse group of individuals who left their old lives behind in extraordinary circumstances. They’ve been promised a second chance but are far away from home, friends, family and their pasts. Passionate about their jobs, confident of their ideals and optimistic about the future, they work hard to preserve what they’ve built on the planet they now call home.

Carpathia offers the possibility of redemption as the new inhabitants try to avoid the mistakes made on Earth. Inevitably they cannot escape the human pitfalls of love, greed, lust, loss, corruption and a longing for those they’ve left behind. As they continue to work and live together, they come to realize this is no ordinary planet. Is there a bigger purpose at work? Is the peace of Forthaven more fragile than they think?

Source: www.chicagonow.com

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