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The Outpost gives The CW a summertime facsimile of Wonder Woman


Talon (Jessica Green) gets her glare on in The Outpost. CW photo

Premiering: Tuesday, July 10th at 8 p.m. (central) on The CW
Starring: Jessica Green, Jake Stormoen, Imogen Waterhouse, Anand Desai-Barochia, Philip Brodie, Andrew Howard
Produced by: Dean Devlin, Jason Faller, Rachel Olschan-Wilson, Jonathan Glassner, Kynan Griffin, Marc Roskin

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The CW goes into Wonder Woman mode with The Outpost, a summer season medieval frolic in which the majority of men are dastardly.

Jessica Green stars as Talon, who as a little girl watched her mother and the entire village they lived in destroyed at the order of a maniacal SOB known as Dred (Philip Brodie). Thirteen years later, she’s the lone surviving “Blackblood.” And although her supernatural powers are yet to be harnessed or fully revealed in the first episode, she does quite all right with her fists and a sword.

Originally commissioned by Syfy for its international networks, The Outpost arrives in the U.S. for an initial 10-episode run. Only the first hour has been made available for review. Subtitled “One is the Loneliest Number,” it moves fast with both its plentiful action scenes and paint-by-the-numbers storyline.

Talon is first seen in a bar, where a coarse-looking tattoo artist bellows “Where’s my drink?” She duly serves it up while also prying him for intel on the bearers of a cross-shaped mark he’s designed. The bloke calls her a “tart” and wants sexual favors in return. Luckily, a group of armored soldiers then barges in and begins slaying patrons for gambling illegally. Talon saves the slug’s life by killing off a batch of the intruders. He then coughs up some names before taking a lethal arrow in the chest.

Another action scene -- and another death -- kick in before the opening title card, theme music and credits. A flashback to 13 years ago then finds Talon as a little girl who’s already able to beat up a young male goon who slays an innocent woodland creature. Then come Dred’s marauders, with Talon getting a good look at the blackguard who kills her mother. But not before mom’s last valiant act enables her daughter to both escape and be bestowed with some otherworldly abilities she’ll have to figure out later.

Back in the present, Talon’s perils resume. This time, however, she’s saved from death at the hands of virus-spreading “plaguelings” (think zombies) by a cocksure young captain named Garret (Jake Stormoen). Talon doesn’t like being saved by anyone -- let alone a man. But after a bit of snippiness, they’re off together to a fortress that safeguards humans from big batches of plaguelings. in other words, The Outpost.

Garret’s stern father, Marshal Withers (Andrew Howard), is the resident law of this land. Stretching beyond the medieval vernacular, he says, “It is what it is” before placing Talon in the custody of his son.

Other supporting characters include a local bar mixologist named Janzo (Anand Desai-Barochia) and an entitled princess of some sort (Imogen Waterhouse as Gwynn).

Another life-and-death battle ends ensues before the hour ends with a nifty little postscript scrawled in blood. There’s a companion mystery in play as well.

The Outpost flexes female empowerment throughout in times when, well, what new series doesn’t? But some viewers, depending on their tolerance for such things, might still be offended by Talon requiring a man’s assistance in her ultimate moment of peril. Sigh, same old, same old. Am I reading too much into this? Probably not.

Things aren’t breezy enough here to be a jaunty sword-and-dagger fest. Talon is too serious-minded for that with her understandable determination to kill her mother’s killers in addition to avenging the attempted wiping out of an entire race. The first episode never dawdles in this respect. Future hours may calm down considerably on the action front. But even at a slower pace, The Outpost seems to promise enough mayhem, intrigue and burgeoning feminism to make for a satisfying enough summer run.


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