‘The Outlaws’ — ‘Throwing rocks’ at the characters in Season 2

Heat ramps up in Prime Video series' sophomore round

Stephen Merchant stars in “The Outlaws,” premiering its second season Friday on Prime Video.

More trouble lies ahead for “The Outlaws” as the Prime Video comedy thriller returns for its sophomore round.

Premiering Friday, July 29, the second season finds the ragtag group of seven lawbreakers thrown together to do community service now involved with organized crime. They still have time to serve on their sentences but that doesn’t mean their service to a kingpin known as The Dean will be done with them once they’ve finished paying their debt to society.

So Rani (Rhianne Barreto), Ben (Gamba Cole), Greg (Stephen Merchant), Frank (Christopher Walken), Gabby (Eleanor Tomlinson), John (Darren Boyd) and Myrna (Clare Perkins) will need to come together in ways they never imagined to escape their latest predicament.

“When I was starting out in TV,” explains Merchant, who created the series with Elgin James, “someone said to me early on, ‘One of the things you should do in writing TV shows is you should chase your characters up a tree and then you should throw rocks at them. And I feel like in the first season, we chased them up the tree and in the second season we’re throwing rocks at them … . And so I think in essence what I mean is we turn the heat up under the characters.”

Merchant and the producers also had to deal with some heat. A few weeks into filming Season 1, production had to be shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with that came a silver lining as it gave Merchant the opportunity to write Season 2 and tweak Season 1. So when shooting resumed last year, they were able to film both seasons back to back.

On the show’s Bristol, England, set, meanwhile, there was also a mishap that resulted in a costume truck winding up in the harbor. Luckily, no one was hurt and filming had already wrapped so its effects were minimal. But it gave a good scare to everyone involved.

“It sort of summed up the experience,” Merchant says, “that it was one more kind of accident in a sort of catalog of a troubled shoot, not because the actors were difficult or anything but more just COVID had struck and all the kind of burdens of that and losing locations.

“And somehow, the costume truck sort of submerged in the water seemed to symbolize the sort of arduousness of shooting the whole thing.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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