Outer Banks (TV Show), Screenwriter and Director Jonas Pate

Photo Credit Rottentomatoes.com

Bibliographic Information:

TV Series Title: Outer Banks, Episode 1 “Pilot”

Year Released: 2020

Screenwriters: Jonas Pate, Josh Pate, Shannon Burke

Director: Jonas Pate

Producer: Red Canoe Productions, Rock Fish Productions, Netflix

Network Found On: Netflix

Rating: TV-MA

Genre/Format of the Item: TV Show




2020 People’s Choice Award Winner: Best Bingeworthy Show of 2020

2021 MTV Movie and TV Award Winner: Best Kiss

2021 People’s Choice Award Winner: Favorite Drama TV Star: Chase Stokes

Reading Level/Interest Level:


(Netflix, 2020)

Plot Summary: A group of four friends live in the outer banks of North Carolina. The friends hang out mostly in the “Pogue” or poor part of town, while the “Kooks” live in the rich, tourist area. There is an underlying animosity between the two groups which is seen throughout the show. John B is the main character, a teen whose dad has been missing out at sea for the past six months. His next of kin is an uncle that lives far away. John B works and goes to school but lives alone and sometimes makes reckless choices. One day, after a hurricane, the friends find a sunken boat that belongs to a local man who drowned during the storm. The friends explore the boat and realize that it may contain many secrets, including maybe the answers to where John B’s dad is.

Photo Credit TMBD

Director/Screenwriter Background: Jonas Pate was born in North Carolina in a similar type place as the setting in Outer Banks, which gave him the idea for the show (Cash, 2022). Pate and his brother, Josh, had worked together in film prior to this show. They began by making home movies in high school and then teamed up again after college as screenwriters for the film The Grave and The Deceiver. (Cash, 2022). Jonas Pate met his wife in Los Angeles, California. While in LA, Pate directed many shows including NBC shows Deception and Prime Suspect and ABC’s Blood and Oil. Pate moved back to North Carolina with his wife when they had kids (Cash, 2022).

“When I pulled from my own life instead of the movies I’d seen, it all came together,” he says. “You get to the universal by being super specific.”–Jonas Pate

(Cash, 2022, para 12)

Critical Evaluations: The show is very popular with teens. On Common Sense Media, the show receives 4-5 stars from the teen reviewers (Common Sense Media, n.d.). The show is a mix of suspense and drama which can be very appealing to both teens and adults. The teenagers appear to drink alcohol all the time, sometimes first thing in the morning, which seems a little unnecessary, but I think that the producers were trying to convey the lack of parental limitations that these four friends felt. The teens also pretty much do whatever they want with few repercussions. I think that this freedom to do and act in any way can be very fun to watch for teenagers. The scenery is beautiful and the filming is well done and professional. The acting is believable and especially well-like among teens. On Commonsense Media, most of the “kids” reviews mention the drugs/drinking and violence, but they also state that there are positive role models and a really good plot. I think that teenagers will like this show because it is an interesting premise with an appealing cast and beautiful set!

Photo Credit Walter Magazine

Creative Use for a Library Program: This would be a good show to highlight for a mystery/suspense writing workshop. This could last for 4 weeks and include the following: meeting once a week, watching one episode each week and then breaking up into small groups or pairs to develop a mini TV series script. At the end of the four weeks, each group or pair would present an overview of their mini-series, including a rough idea of acting roles, setting, type of filming, and the screenwriting for the first scene of a pilot episode. Each session, a person from the UC Davis Department of Cinema and Digital Media would teach about some aspect of screenwriting in a short presentation.

Speedround/Book Trailer: John B hasn’t given up hope that his dad is still alive. With the support of his friends, he manages to work, go to school (sometimes) and still go about his daily life while living alone. The four friends find a sunken ship one day and John B’s life begins to take on a whole new meaning. Suspense, drama, island living, and mystery will keep you watching the Outer Banks to find out more!

(Wired, 2021)

Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: There are many things in the show Outer Banks that might result in a formal challenge in the library collection. The teenagers engage in drinking and reckless activity, such as evading the law and stealing. I would argue that the behavior is extreme and therefore not entirely believable, even for teens. The premise is exciting and engaging though, and the story does have positive aspects, such as the loyalty the friends show to each other and their neighborhood, the mention of school and pride in their friend doing well in school, and mention of preserving the environment. Teenagers will sometimes engage in drinking and reckless behavior, and the show does show consequences for this reckless behavior. Perhaps if parents watch this show with their teens, it will be a good opportunity to discuss drinking and sex and how these things affect the characters in the show.

Reason for Inclusion: I included this show because it is so popular with teenagers and it is an unusual premise for a TV show. I want this collection to contain entertainment for all teens and I thought that this show was a nice mix of suspense and teen drama. It has a diverse cast and is filmed in a very beautiful place. I think that overall teens will like this show!


Cash, W. (2022, March). One to watch: Outer Banks director Jonas Pate. Walter Magazine. https://waltermagazine.com/community/people/outer-banks-director-jonas-pate/

Common Sense Media (n.d.). Outer Banks. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/outer-banks

Netflix. (2020, March 31). Outer Banks trailer [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk_hFfUFXh4

Wired. (2021, August 13). Outer Banks cast answers webs most asked questions [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h97cjyraEk

4:09 / 15:2


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