The Stephen King Show That Outshined the Book & Even Beat True Detective

The Stephen King Show That Outshined the Book & Even Beat True Detective
Image credit: Legion-Media, HBO

This brilliant show could usher in a new era for Stephen King.

After the adaptation of Stephen King 's detective story Mr. Mercedes, which was praised by both fans and critics, another adaptation of the book from the Bill Hodges series has been released. The fact that television producers have begun to turn to the author's rather unusual works is a trend to be excited about. Both Mr. Mercedes and the 2020 series The Outsider are primarily detective stories, not horror.

King's works in this genre haven't yet become overgrown with self-repeats – that's why watching these adaptations is much more fascinating than seeing how poor people get lost in the tall grass or pets rising from the dead.

What is The Outsider About?

According to the plot of The Outsider, the body of a brutally murdered schoolboy is found in a small town. All evidence points to coach Terry Maitland, a seemingly respectable man who bears little resemblance to a brutal killer.

The already intricate case is complicated by new, strange details: according to surveillance camera footage, the suspect was 70 miles from the crime scene at the time of the murder.

The Outsider Broke HBO Viewership Records

The Stephen King Show That Outshined the Book & Even Beat True Detective - image 1

The Outsider, which premiered in 2020, was an unexpected hit with HBO users. The premiere attracted 1.2 million viewers, and the final episode was watched by 2.2 million viewers, an 83% increase over the first episode – the largest jump in viewership of any HBO project at the time.

The nine episodes of the series were watched by nearly 9 million viewers, and it was the best performance for an HBO show since the first season of Westworld premiered in 2016. At the same time, such HBO hits as Watchmen and the third season of True Detective averaged 7 and 8 million of viewers respectively.

At the time of its release, The Outsider received little buzz on social networks and in the press, especially compared to other HBO projects, but was able to attract viewers thanks to rave reviews from those who did watch the show. And the adaptation turned out to be even more gripping and simply better than the original book, according to many viewers and critics.

With that kind of success, maybe King should leave the horror genre and focus on crime fiction?

The Outsider Might Be One of the First Signs of the New King Era

The Stephen King Show That Outshined the Book & Even Beat True Detective - image 2

Recent projects based on the works of Stephen King have ruthlessly exploited the classic horror film model. Believing that audiences love to laugh and be scared more than anything else in the world, producers have released horror films one after the other, both in theaters and on TV.

But everything is changing: first there was the aforementioned Mr. Mercedes, then HBO bet on The Outsider and was right. Stephen King has a lot of clever crime novels, and even if there is a mystical touch to them, they are detective stories first and foremost. King skillfully transforms such stories into suspenseful psychological thrillers, while continuing to twist the already complex plot.

The Outsider impresses first of all with its non-linear narrative, powerful plot, and its characters, who are developed down to the smallest detail. And as we all know, the devil is in the details.

As a result, The Outsider is without a doubt one of King's TV adaptations that will make you fall in love with his work, if you haven't already.

Where to Stream The Outsider?

The first season of The Outsider is available to watch on Apple TV, Prime Video and Max.