Series 2 of the BBC One comedy crime thriller begins next month. Although the corporation has yet to formally commission further episodes of the show - about seven strangers doing community service in Bristol - Merchant has confirmed that he's working on further storylines.
"Someone had told me early on in my writing career that with a comedy or with a drama, you take your characters and you chase them up a tree and then you throw rocks at them" he told National Public Radio in the US - where the first series, in which he also stars alongside Hollywood legend Christopher Walken, Eleanor Tomlinson, Darren Boyd, Rhianne Barreto and Gamba Cole - is currently airing.
"And so Series 1 was chasing them up the tree, Series 2 is really throwing the rocks at them" he continued. "Turning up the heat under them and it's been very enjoyable because you've established a world, you can have a lot of fun with the characters and see the consequences of their actions and I'm very pleased with it.
"And we've already started talking about a third series as well. So I feel like there's quite a lot of mileage in these characters."
The Guardian called it "warm, witty and surprisingly gritty", praising its preference for the "wry and silly", saying it has "a knowing fondness for a dad-joke style gag, and it throws its characters into wild waters that are in stark contrast to their mostly humdrum daily lives".
The Metro hailed the "compelling" show's "glorious" casting, adding that "the sharp script and the A-list performances" established it as "one of the strongest new comedies of 2021".
In this sharp new comedy drama, an unlikely group of lawbreakers are forced to work together in a community payback project. These seven strangers have nothing in common but as new friendships emerge, dark secrets are revealed. When the group are unwittingly drawn into a dangerous criminal conspiracy, they must break down the barriers between them before they can fight for what's right.
Combining crime thriller and character study with humour and heart, The Outlaws is a story about finding common ground during divided times.
First released: Monday 6th December 2021
Not in the UK?
If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.
If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.
If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).