Yet another Stephen King adaptation is headed for TV screens—with a little help from two other acclaimed novelists.
HBO released a trailer for its upcoming 10-episode miniseries The Outsider, based on King’s novel, which was published last year. Richard Price, who’s perhaps best known for his 1992 book Clockers, will write six episodes of the series, and Dennis Lehane, of Mystic River (2001) and Gone, Baby, Gone (1998) fame, will write two. Both novelists wrote for the classic HBO series The Wire, and Lehane wrote an episode of the Audience TV show Mr. Mercedes, which is based on another of King’s books.
The new miniseries stars Captain Marvel’s Ben Mendelsohn, Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo, and Ozark’s Jason Bateman, who also directed two episodes. It will premiere on Jan. 12.
King’s novel tells the story of a small-town police detective, Ralph Anderson, who arrests a well-liked teacher and Little League coach, on the basis of DNA evidence and witnesses’ accounts, on the charge of raping and murdering an 11-year-old. The teacher says that he’s innocent, and other evidence appears to back up his story. Later, it’s revealed that the case has a terrifying supernatural element, and Anderson and private investigator Holly Gibney set out to solve the mystery. Kirkus gave the book a mixed review: “Not his best, but a spooky pleasure for King’s boundless legion of fans.”
It’s been a banner year for King adaptations, though. No less than three theatrical films came out in 2019, and Kirkus wrote in-depth Screener columns on all of them: the creepy Pet Sematary, based on a 1983 novel; It Chapter Two, which finished adapting King’s 1986 doorstopper; and Doctor Sleep, which brought the horror master’s 2013 sequel to 1977’s The Shining to the screen. There was also a Netflix movie of In the Tall Grass, based on a 2012 novella by the author and his son, Joe Hill, as well as Creepshow, a new horror-anthology TV series on Shudder—inspired by a 1982 film that King wrote, and featuring versions of his stories “Gray Matter” and “Survivor Type.”
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.