'Outsiders' Fans Will Love These Shows

by Kayla Hawkins

It's always disappointing when a beloved series gets cancelled before its time. For example, WGN America drama Outsiders won't return for any additional episodes after its April 25 Season 2 finale. Variety reported that Outsiders was cancelled in April 2017, just a few days before what will now be its last episode will air.

The Variety piece goes on to say that this decision was a part of WGN America and Tribune Media's overall strategy going forward; acting Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern said, "We will be reallocating our resources to a more diverse programming strategy and to new structures, enabling us to expand both the quantity and breadth of content aired by WGN America. To free up the resources to reach this goal, we will unfortunately not be renewing Outsiders."

That's tough news for fans of the show, which was unique among cable dramas for the way it depicts the subculture of a rural, tight-knit community living in rural Kentucky — not the typical setting for a prestigious drama.

Even more disappointing, it seems that Outsiders won't wrap up all of its season-long questions in the Season 2 finale, because it's a victim of that restructuring from Tribune Media. According to Deadline, the Outsiders Season 2 ratings hovered around one million viewers per episode, which isn't bad for the network. But this series was one of the many created under the tenure of former Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori, who stepped down in January 2017, according to Variety.

Though it's a shame that the series won't be back, you can find other shows on TV that are comparable to the dark Appalachian family drama of Outsiders.


This series is on the same network as Outsiders, and is having a phenomenal second season right now. A standout of the historical slavery drama has been an amazing episode all about Harriet Tubman's life.


The third and final season of Bloodline is coming to Netflix to wrap up the saga of the Rayburn family. See what can be accomplished with a limited number of episodes when the show's creators actually get a chance to craft a satisfying ending.

Queen Sugar

A very different type of show about the South than Outsiders, this series contends with the inheritance of family's large sugar farm, both as it affects the power struggles between siblings and their struggles with broader social issues.


This series has been off the air for a few years now, but it's probably TV's best and most devoted depiction of Kentucky (specifically, Lexington). These characters aren't living in the woods. But as the show is about a sheriff and the criminals he encounters as he does his job and does it well, Justified builds relationships between its characters as intimate as the ones between the Outsiders.

Appalachian Outlaws

This one-season History docuseries can feel like a bit of a sideshow, but it is a series about the lives of the people in the rural Appalachian region and the traditions they've inherited from their settler ancestors.


Revived by Netflix (a possible longterm hope for Outsiders?), this series is on the other side of the outlaw/lawman divide. Even though it's about a sheriff, there are similar themes to Outsiders permeating this Wyoming-set series, including the isolation of living in a far-flung area.

These dramas might not take the place of Outsiders completely, but they sure will help to ease the disappointment of its untimely cancellation.