Hey TV.Com, Should I Watch Starz's Time-Traveling Romance Drama Outlander?

Can you hear those bagpipes? Starz's long-anticipated Outlander has finally arrived, promising to sweep viewers off their feet with romance, kilts, time-travel, the 18th century, and sexy Scottish accents. But will the series make your heart go pitter-pat, or will it sit in your stomach like a too-ambitious serving of fatty genre stew? Lads and lasses, I've seen the first episode, and I'm here to help you answer that question and more!


Wait—Scotland, time-travel, and a love story... so Outlander is a period piece? Or a sci-fi epic? Or a romance? Or... what?

In a word, yes. Outlander is based on a series of science-fiction/historical romance fantasy novels that's been known to suck people in much like the show's protagonist is sucked through time and space. By not really conforming to any one genre out of the many it samples from, Outlander tells the story of Claire Randall, a married English army nurse who's mysteriously transported from the 1940s back to 18th century Scotland, where she is forced to marry the Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser. When Claire falls in love with Jamie—and trust me, once you see/meet him you will understand—she's torn between two men, two centuries, and two lives.



Who's bringing Outlander to my TV screen? And who's doing the time-traveling and the romancing?

Ronald D. Moore, showrunner of the very beloved Battlestar Galactica, basically cherry-picked Outlander as his next thematic muse. In addition to being a bonafide genius at making science-fiction compelling on storytelling levels that transcend genre, Moore’s wife Terry Dresbach (who’s one of the show's costume designers) is apparently a rabid fan of the books, so that gives him a compelling reason not to piss off the fans. 

Meanwhile, the two leads are incredibly cast: Caitriona Balfe channels Cate Blanchett's coolness while remaining accessible as Claire, and Sam Heughan somehow portrays Jamie—who is easily the heart of the book’s appeal—as even more of Your Ideal Future Husband. 

Tobias Menzies plays Claire's 20th century husband Frank Randall, as well as the sadist 18th century English army captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, who's stationed in Scotland and has an unhealthy obsession with Jamie. Why the "one actor two characters" approach? Because Frank Randall is Black Jack's great-great-great-great grand nephew (there might be more greats involved) and they look eerily similar, which is a huge mindf#ck for main character Claire. 

Graham McTavish, Gary Lewis, and Lotte Verbeek round out the cast.


When does the saga begin?

Outlander officially debuts this Saturday, August 9 at 9pm on Starz (although you can watch the first episode right now if you want!).



Who will be wooed by Outlander?

Are you interested in...

... science-fiction premises expanded in a realistic yet gorgeously cinematic way that touches on larger universal human truths?

... the perfect love of a tall and handsome Scottish Highlander?

... a rugged, unblinking look at the day-to-day life of 1700s Scotland?

... gorgeous landscapes?

If any of those things sound appealing, give the show a whirl, because it has them all. 


What's swoon-worthy about Outlander?

Not only does the series look great, but it feels surprisingly real and gritty, like the very best speculative fiction. It’s surprising that film adaptions haven’t been attempted before now, but luckily Starz has decided to go in for a high-budget full series, giving the beloved saga the in-depth exploration it deserves... and opening up millions of more hearts and minds for young Jamie Fraser to enthrall.



What’s not to like about Outlander?

Even in the premiere there’s an attempted sexual assault, and throughout the source material, sexual violence—as well as its power dynamic, its drives, and its ripple effect—is deeply enmeshed with the primary storyline. Consider this a trigger warning right up front.


I'll make up my own damn mind—show me the trailer!

By all means, let the small fortune poured into making this promo do the talking:


Outlander premieres Saturday, August 9 at 9pm on Starz. 


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Aug 18, 2014
I wouldn't. Moore is a truly excellent story teller but every one of his shows so far has turned out to be a subversive religious mind-bleep, and in the case of BSG he even went so far as to advocate religious genocide.

It may be good to watch now but given what he's done in the past I'd hate to see where he might take it.
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Aug 10, 2014
I'm an avid book reader and I really wasn't a fan of the series. Not because I didn't like the concept, story or characters but it was all just soooooooooooooo slow. I think I read the first 3 books then lost interest.
However, because I found the actual premise quite fascinating I was really looking forward to seeing it as a tv series. And after seeing this first episode, I have to say that I loved it. I'm now really excited about seeing the rest of it.
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Aug 10, 2014
On a related rant, Time Warner Cable has been showing a commercial for over a week where a viewer wedged on horseback between Claire and Jamie, watching on a tablet. TWC says that whatever you're passionate about, they invent ways for us to love it even more. Since the pilot only aired today, I wonder how many people were passionate about Outlander last week?
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Aug 10, 2014
Watched the pilot online and I'm so excited for the next episode.
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Aug 10, 2014
Now I know why Starz is having a free preview weekend.
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Aug 09, 2014
OK.
I'll check it out.
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Aug 09, 2014
First Black Sails now this... Starz has decided to splash the cash.
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Aug 09, 2014
I saw the first episode also..and even though it was beautiful to look at it just didn't keep my interest good enough. I don't think I will be turning in to this one..
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Aug 09, 2014
I saw the episode, and it was ok but just didnt grab me, doubt if I will spend the time getting involved, seem to drag unmercifully for a premier episode!
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Aug 09, 2014
If that was your only complaint (and it's a reasonable one), you still might want to give it one or two more episodes. Every review I've read from critics who received advance copies of the first six episodes say the first is the slowest, though many admit the leisurely pace is eventually part of the show's style.
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Aug 09, 2014
The first episode was decent, but I'll admit the main reason I'm going to continue watching is because the Scottish hunk looks a little like Sam Winchester. Is it just me or does anyone else see the resemblance?
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Aug 08, 2014
Keep that guy above shirtless and i'll keep watching.
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Aug 09, 2014
But doesnt she get shirtless too?
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Aug 08, 2014
Druids in Scotland... yes.
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Aug 08, 2014
Druids, in Scotland ? Not really, but nice to see Doune Castle given another run out...
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Aug 10, 2014
yep druids as the 'educated' segment of Celtic society were as much part of Celtic life in Scotland as they were in Ireland, England or France.
this link connects to a Celedonian Mercury article about known Druidic sites in Scotland.

You'll see that some druids even claimed to have had JC visit them in Scotland to learn their philosophy. Natch there is no evidence since if the bloke actually existed Palestine is alleged to have been his only stomping ground. All very Da Vinci code lol.

Nevertheless druids were an important element of Celtic culture throughout Celt territory.
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Aug 10, 2014
Not amongst Picts as far as I know but I bow to your superior knowledge...
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Aug 08, 2014
I've already seen the pilot and it's interesting, it took alot longer than I expected for her to actually go back in time but I guess they wanted to establish her connection with her husband. I kind of wish they went back farther though, I know it's based on books so their hands were tied with things like that but if you're going back in time I'd rather you go back farther before there were firearms. I just like blade violence more, guns are boring, but with muskets they're still plenty of swords and bayonets going around so it's okay.
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Aug 08, 2014
If nothing else, Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes proved you don't really need to go back far to make things interesting.
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Aug 09, 2014
Ooooh, Life on Mars. It's been a while since I've thought about that show. Very fine, at least the UK version. Good lord, the US remake was a disaster.
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Aug 09, 2014
I've still never actually watched the US version, not even Harvey Keitel and Lisa Bonet made it look appealing. Then again, I've never watched 2/3 of Ashes to Ashes either, so who am I to say?
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Aug 08, 2014
I did find this a bit slow but I'm hoping that now they've got all the exposition out of the way they can pick up the pace otherwise they are never going to fit everything that happens in the first book in just 16 episodes!
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Aug 08, 2014
already watched it. Looks good and it has a lot of potential. Shout to the main actress Caitriona Balfe & verrry nice
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Aug 08, 2014
Watched the first episode and it was fine. If only for those landscapes! This would look good in big screen. It has a slow rythm.
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Aug 08, 2014
Will it involve a lot of shirtless scenes from the lead actor?
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Aug 08, 2014
You can count on it :)
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Aug 10, 2014
how about a lot of gratuitous sex scenes from the lead actor?
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Aug 10, 2014
Claire and Jamie awesome sex scenes are one of the biggest part of the books.
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Aug 08, 2014
I already watched the early preview of the first episode and it was great.
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Aug 08, 2014
Hrm. Romance novels and the love triangles therein aren't my thing. Unless I start hearing "THIS IS THE GREATEST SHOW OF OUR AGE" from every angle, I'll pass.
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Aug 08, 2014
Watch the pilot (about an hour). If you don't like it after that, you never will.
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Aug 11, 2014
Thanks. I'll pass then.
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Aug 08, 2014
If the show stays true to the novel, it's worth watching just as a period piece, romance part aside.
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Aug 08, 2014
I'm going to give it a shot but I'm getting really picky with my genre shows lately. I just gave up on a handful of sci-fi/fantasy shows cos they became chore tv.
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Staff
Aug 08, 2014
Let me tell you, this is a genre-bender. If you're going to give something the benefit of the doubt, this is a good pic.
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Aug 09, 2014
Here is an interesting review from Wired Magazine: The Troubling, Subversive Promise of the New Show Outlander.

I will for sure watch the series, I am not that much into fantasy or romance, but I like interesting premises. Plus I want to see if Mr. Moore is back to BSG quality (No more Helix Please!)
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Aug 09, 2014
I haven't been too thrilled w/Helix either, but then again, he's not the show-runner there. Given that his wife (Terry Dresbach, the costume designer) and his partner in Tall Ship Productions (Maril Davis) are both BIG Outlander fans, he has a LOT of incentive to produce a quality product. Sony Pictures Television is providing funding 5x that which he had for Battlestar Galactica, so the set design, costuming & etc. are top flight.

My only complaint is I wish all of these reviews would stop falsely labelling this show a "fantasy romance"! It's NOT - I would NEVER watch a "bodice-ripping romance"! It is a Historical/Action/Drama w/a REALISTIC amount of romance (between married couples), and only enough Sci-Fi/Fantasy to allow ONE time-travel event (which was VERY subtly depicted).

From the extremely high quality I have seen so far, I expect it to sweep the Emmys next year. Costuming, Music, Editing, Cinematography, Casting & etc.? No other show is remotely as well done!
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Aug 10, 2014
Well, historical drama does sound better!
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Aug 08, 2014
The pilot suffered from pilotitis and from a long, slow beginning trying to include everything from the book. They're going to need to pick it up--and ditch the heavy-handed Claire narration. That said, the scenery and costumes are fantastic and it's really fun to hear how things are supposed to be pronounced and see what the landscape looks like. There's war and intrigue to come, but they need to get there faster for TV than Gabaldon had to in the books.
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Aug 09, 2014
Yeah the voiceover does get a bit much at times other than that it was ok
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Aug 08, 2014
Yeah, I'm really hoping they cut back on the voice-over. Early on it seemed like a necessary annoyance during an information dump, but by halfway through it really seemed superfluous, especially since Caitriona Balfe was already communicating nearly all of it just through her physical acting.
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Aug 08, 2014
huge pass
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Aug 08, 2014
Unless there's people cutting off heads and shouting "In the end there can be only one!" I think I'll pass.
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Aug 08, 2014
"Even in the premiere there’s an attempted sexual assault, and throughout the source material, sexual violence—as well as its power dynamic, its drives, and its ripple effect—is deeply enmeshed with the primary storyline. Consider this a trigger warning right up front."


Outlander is VERY DARK saga. Violence (in all its forms) was part of life in XVIII century - and is part of the books. Knowing what's going to happen I can say this show is for adults only.
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Aug 08, 2014
Based on the sexual violence, I'm going to have to pass. Been there in real life, I don't need more nightmares but I am glad to have been warned. Same reason I don't watch Game of Thrones.
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Aug 08, 2014
Yeah it's hard not to go into spoilers but if you're in a place where rape or discussion of graphic rape is something you're avoiding, this is not the time of your life to watch this series.
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Aug 07, 2014
After watching the first episode I'll lay it out straight.

Has great production, good acting, realistic environment that I wouldn't exactly call "gritty" like others put it, but the wounds and blood looked real. Story is like a sappy romance novel, and in the first thirty minutes there are three sex scenes alone, all of them incredibly boring and without chemistry(I mean for Christ sake we just met these people, we get it they like to fuck). Some of the writing seems almost over-polished and simplistic, like you know whats going to be said before people say it. I don't like where the plot is going and it took too long to get started.

I'm afraid this isn't for me, but I'll give it a couple more episodes to start going somewhere.
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Aug 08, 2014
I'm currently reading the book, and if it follows the same trajectory at all, it will get much, much grittier. Gabaldon is an historian by training, and she's hugely interested in the Jacobite rebellions, and they were NOT PRETTY. Brutal is more accurate. I think the show, like the book, will work its way into that as the characters become increasingly entangled in the violence.

While I didn't find the sex all that titillating, I think it did a very adept and necessary job of characterizing Claire's sexual relationship with her husband. It's not only that they have sex, but they both enjoy it, they're both generous lovers, and most importantly it never poses a physical threat to her. Two minutes in 1743 and she's being assaulted by a man who looks just like her husband, and the juxtaposition is jolting, for us as for her, only because we've already seen them together. When rape is threatened again by another band of men and she is kidnapped away, the sexual world she left behind is just gone. I think it's important that the show establish that sexual ethos before shattering it.
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Aug 09, 2014
No, she is NOT a historian by training - Dr. G has 3 hard-science degrees: Zoology, Marine Biology, and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology. Before becoming a novelist, she wrote many scientific articles and textbooks, worked as an editor on MacMillan's Encyclopaedia of Computers, and founded the scientific-computation journal Science Software Quarterly (that's where I first ran across her - in Compuserve, OH so many years ago!).
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Aug 09, 2014
Whoa, yeah. Thanks for the correction. Somehow I got it into my head that she was one of a growing crop of historians-turned-novelists from the last two decades.
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Aug 08, 2014
The attempted rape was entirely illogical, and didn't make much sense to me. You meet a strange woman in the woods do you:

A) Ask her how close this 'Jack' fellow is she thought you were.
B)Ask her how she got out there and who else might be out there.
C)Disregard A and B entirely and rape her despite the immediate danger that would put you in.

I was just like; wtf?
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Aug 09, 2014
You evidently are unfamiliar w/English tactics and behaviour during that time period. Occupying forces routinely raped and robbed their way across the countryside, and running across a nearly-naked woman in a secluded location? He wouldn't have hesitated the MOMENT he decided she wasn't an English Noblewoman (whose husband could pose a threat).
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Aug 10, 2014
He was in middle of a battle of some sort, how is that secluded? Context is everything here, he was apparently in ear-shots of Scotsmen who saved her, isn't he? Not to mention she JUST mentioned thinking he was someone else. Shouldn't he be worried about who Jack is and how close he could be? Rape happened routinely but that doesn't excuse the fact that this scene was incredibly forced and illogical.
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Aug 07, 2014
@Grumpyclown already told us to, so...

I was already planning on giving it the 4 Episode Test to be fair.
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Aug 07, 2014
First episode was excellent, and it went with the source material seamlessly. Some will find the first half slow and boring, but then again people are idiots and do not like Rectify either.
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Aug 08, 2014
RECTIFY!
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Aug 07, 2014
This one just didn't appeal to me because of the time period used. They should have made the time frame much more modern or futuristic. I mean she's sent back from dun dun dun the 1940s... That's like sending a caveman back to uhh more cavemen. That just doesn't work for me at all. Other than that though the show did sound good but that's the main premises and as I said It doesn't work for myself.
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Aug 08, 2014
Well, the Jacobite uprising really did only occur at a specific time. And the themes of that along with those of a woman in a man's world paralleling the pendulum-like reversal of the return of women to traditional gender roles following WWII again have a specific time. Maybe if you look at the themes the time frames will work better for you (that's assuming they put them in the show).
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Aug 08, 2014
Are you not interested in the 1940s in general, or was it the contrast between the two time periods that had you disinterested? If it's the contrast, I would say you should still give the show a chance. The 1940s seems like forever ago to us, but to people living in the 1700s this woman might as well be a space person. The main character's advanced medical knowledge as a nurse and her concept of women's rights/class structure are huge to the plot, and the comparison between living through WWII and through the Scottish revolt against England makes for some really interesting stuff (and what should be some pretty epic battle scenes!).
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Aug 08, 2014
I suppose I just can't see the " advanced medical knowledge " coming from 1940. It's still caveman to caveman for me. Granted if you go back more than 20 years in any time frame everything is advanced. So I am sure it works just doesn't have that back to the future feel for me.
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Aug 09, 2014
When I said "advanced," I was referring to the watershed moment of the discovery of bacteria/viruses being the cause of disease, the discovery of antibiotics, the importance of sterilization and vaccines and so on. In the time she's going back to, people thought disease could be caused by demons/God's wrath, etc. And half the time people with knowledge about medicine/healing were considered evil witches, especially women. All of which was thoroughly explored in the books, so I expect to see it in the show too.
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Aug 07, 2014
I'm definitely going to check this out.
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Aug 07, 2014
I wish Moore would get back to making more conventional science fiction (y'know looking at the future instead of the past), it's still such a neglected genre.

I must admit I was a little surprised that Lily wrote this article, seeing that most of the shows she covers are kind of nuts, while this show should have a more grounded, realistic approach.

Still from everything I hear this should be a high quality show, for some reason I just can't bring myself to watch it at the moment. I'm sure I'll get back to it eventually.
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Aug 08, 2014
The whole premise - post-WWII nurse time travels to historical Scotland (not to mention running into and almost getting raped by her husband's ancestor at one point) is nuts enough for our Lily, imho.
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Staff
Aug 08, 2014
I am still point man for nuts.
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Aug 08, 2014
Clearly, you review The Bachelor....
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Aug 07, 2014
I do not want to sound picky but why isnt Clair wearing her well described 40th outfit but a penitential robe instead? it looks kind of ridiculous.
Read the books a long time ago and besides some minor changes the fist episode is close to the book. I will give it a try.
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Aug 07, 2014
"Are you interested in...

... science-fiction premises expanded in a realistic yet gorgeously cinematic way that touches on larger universal human truths?"

Well, if you put things this way, sure who wouldn't be interested in something like that?

"... the perfect love of a tall and handsome Scottish Highlander?"

Most definitely not. I'd rather see Highlanders chopping off the heads of other immortals. There can only be one!

"... a rugged, unblinking look at the day-to-day life of 1700s Scotland?"

That's a solid maybe!

"... gorgeous landscapes?"

For the first ten minutes, sure! Then, not really. Besides, I don't have a high-def TV.

This sounds like too much romance, and something much more appealing to female audiences. I think the reviewer could have found other valid points to include in the
"What's not to like" part. I might download it and try it if there's nothing else to watch.
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Aug 08, 2014
This whole comments section is riddled with "Ew, this is for chicks?" which, by the way, if women had that attitude, basically every movie you love would not get made. Because women have the apparently remarkable ability to identify with male protagonists, the world has Star Wars and LOTR. You're welcome.
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Aug 10, 2014
Seriously, are you really implying that guys have a problem identifying with female protagonists?
Funny, I havent heard this argument since Buffy the Vampire Slayer became a hit almost two decades ago...^^

Maybe you should tell those concerns to male fan favorites like Vanessa (Penny Dreadful) Arya, Brienne, Daenerys (GoT), Keira (Continuum), Leela (Futurama), the Vampire Girl from the Underworld franchise, Katniss Aberdeen, etc etc while I try to get my female friends to actually watch Star Wars and LOTR instead of complaining about it. ;)

For me this show sounds too much like romance novel with as much SciFi as the Twillight movies are horror movies...^^
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Aug 08, 2014
And hey, at least I watch Once Upon A Time and read your reviews.. That should count for something, right?
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Aug 08, 2014
Many men, yours truly include, have no problem identifying with a female protagonist. It's what the protagonist does and what happens with her that can be the problem.
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Aug 08, 2014
I"m not sure that "appears to potentially appeal to women" is a valid "what's not to like" concept.
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Aug 08, 2014
It may be if you're not the target demographics. The review tries to portray the show as a "science-fiction premise expanded in a realistic yet gorgeously cinematic way that touches on larger universal human truths" which makes it seem to have a pretty much broad appeal, but learning more specific aspects of the story and characters I feel that's not entirely true.
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Aug 08, 2014
I partly agree with each of you. (1) It's absolutely true that many, if not most, shows skew one way or the other regarding gender viewership. There are entire channels devoted to targeting gender demographics, though to be fair they're usually insulting to everyone.

(2) It is also true that shows with male protagonists tend to be perceived as more "universal" than shows with female protagonists, which almost inevitably get labeled "female-centric" or "aimed at women" in a way that is almost never applied in reverse. To provide an example: I adored True Detective, which centers almost exclusively on its two male protagonists. It received some flak for not having any strong, independent female perspectives, a criticism writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto answered very well. Because of the way the show is structured, no one, male or female, outside the two leads could be said to have a full "character". Nevertheless, if Hart and Cohle had been two women, it would have been very difficult to imagine the same kind of reception or that it would have avoided accusations of being "aimed at women".

(3) The context of romantic elements, in particular, also seem unfairly tied to the gender of the character from whose perspective we experience those elements. And again, female viewers seem more likely to engage with a male perspective than male viewers are a female perspective. The challenge then for Outlander is not that it includes romantic elements, but that the romance is experienced through Claire. Sci-fi shows like Lost were largely propelled by romantic as much as action plots, but still held a significant male audience. Historical dramas like The Tudors or Vikings, much the same. As long as Outlander develops the rest of its potential with its war intrigue, political upheavals and dissent, and the truly brutal (and personal, between Fraser and Randall) struggle between the Scots and English, then I'm personally a little suspicious of too much criticism about the relative prominence of the romance plot, especially since (to hear Ron Moore talk of it) it seems as much a vehicle for the rest of the show's intrigue than anything.

(4) I light of all of this, listing potential gender viewership as a "pro" or "con" is to me inherently irresponsible. Certainly individual viewers may decide whether or not something is for them whomever the target audience may be perceived to be. I have lady parts. That doesn't mean I watch Grey's Anatomy. I don't—whatever ad companies may wish—watch TV with my vagina, and for any respectable critical platform to reinforce culturally influenced gender disparities instead of giving an honest review of the show's storytelling and production would be insulting. Whether it sinks or floats, I hope Outlander gets judged on its merits.

Now I need to go watch SportsCenter.
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Aug 09, 2014
@lsbloom

Children of Men—the movie—is excellent. I've not read the book, but I've never found much interest in James's novels. (I didn't like A Handmaid's Tale either.) Cuarón's film uses the fertility crises more as a plot vehicle to explore a slow, deteriorating apocalypse in which mankind must watch itself become extinct. It's not really all that invested in the social and gender politics of fertility and reproductive rights. It contextualizes itself in literature and heroic archetypes more than sci-fi speculation.
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Aug 08, 2014
Well, the fact is that we don't really know what Outlander is going to be about without watching a few episodes, and all we have to guide ourselves is an impression about the premise and a few reviews. However with so many options on TV, sometimes all the attention we can give to a new TV show is the first impression, and the show has to pass that first criteria to get our definitive attention. I remember the time when all we had was three or four channels and we watched whatever the TV station chose to broadcast, but that reality has changed greatly.

I admire most women's ability to identify with a male point of view, and I admit the opposite isn't true as often. AS far as romance is concerned, I think a story from a woman's perspective is harder to follow because it shows the man as handsome and romantically desirable and I have little to no interest to know a character like that, so I find it hard to identify with the woman's experience.

I do enjoy time-traveling stories, but when they are from a male point of view, I find them more involving. for instance, I enjoyed Life On Mars much more than Ashes to Ashes , which I found weaker and derivative.

Even though romance is not my favorite genre in general, and I think that works better in conjunction with other important plot elements, I've enjoyed romantic time-traveling stories such as The Time Traveler's Wife, Somewhere in Time (in which Superman, I mean, Christopher Reeve falls in love with an actress from the 1920s and manages to travel back in time just to meet her), and Good Night Sweetheart, (in which an old-fashioned 21st century man finds a portal to World War II London, falls in love there and impresses his lady friend with modern the gadgets he brings with him). But in all these times, the time traveler was the guy, and the object of the protagonist's passion was a woman.

Oh, and about Scottish Highlanders, unfortunately for me, after Highlander and Braveheart, cinema has completely typecast Scottish Highlander clan members as fierce warriors above all. It's hard for me to see them as tall, rugged but gentle romantic interests.

Oh, well who knows. After all this talk, I think I'll give Outlander a try. I'm still not too hopeful, but more accepting.
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Aug 08, 2014
I doubt they will focus on the love story. There's really not much plot to it. The romance is what defines the characters, how they interact, and influences their motivation. The plot is mainly clan politics, Jacobite uprising, and a sadistic bad guy in the first couple of books (pirates and revolutions later on). There's a lot of intrigue and violence and history and some sparsely placed witchcraft. In the middle of it is a couple who find each other and get married. A nurse goes back in time is just the premise.

@Hariper I never liked Children of Men so I stayed far away from yet another weird project from a guy super interested in the implications of fertility and reproduction in women. Handmaid's Tale I can get behind, Children of Men not so much. Let me know if I was wrong.

And I didn't make it past the first episode of White Queen it made no sense. She meets a guy on the road and is immediately at war with wanting to have sex him? Did she ever start making sense? Eh, maybe it got better too.

Neither of those had the feel of Outlander in being about a woman from a woman's point of view, which I think is what men are commenting on particularly. Maybe in the end the balance of Ron Moore and the source materials will create a ying/yang effect.

But if I were going to compare to anything I'd probably say a non-chauvinistic version of the Tudors--but that's probably the production values talking. There is a certain romance to Scotland even in Highlander or Braveheart, that does color the production which you only seem to get in fantasy and romance.
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Aug 08, 2014
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Aug 08, 2014
@mad-pac

I'll have to check out The White Queen. I've heard good things from a few people. As for The Lottery, I had high hopes, especially since I loved Children of Men so much, but despite appealing to some very interesting and relevant social/political topics, I thought the pilot was a train wreck. When reviews didn't convince me anything had changed, I quickly dropped it outright.

Also, I don't like romantic comedies either, which I think are usually deceitful and misleading and, above all, boring. If ALL Outlander turns out to be is a romance, I won't stick around, but I suspect it's going to be much more than that. Again, good or bad—and it could go either way—it aspires to a great deal more. Weirdly, it sounds a lot like The White Queen as far as its roots in English history. It might be one that's worth watching the reviews as the first half of the season progresses. If it turns out to be primarily a saga about the Jacobite rebellions, it might chime a bit closer to home.
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Aug 08, 2014
Another example: I loved The White Queen, another female-centric show. But I would hace problems sitting in front of the TV to watch a romantic comedy.
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Aug 08, 2014
Just for the record, Ive been watching another show, the Lottery, and loving it. And it's totally female-centric. It has a bold and smart female protagonist, it centers around issues such as motherhood and it's on Lifetime. But I can say that's the kind of science fiction I like, dealing with issues of fertility, freedom and extinction. But a woman from the 1940s torn between two loves in different centuries? Nah, I'll pass.
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Aug 08, 2014
I agree. If the story was told through Jamie's POV, it wouldn't be "female-centric" and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Season 1 of Vikings the was striking in the depth of character given to Ragnor because of his love of his wife and his devotion to his family. Because his ambition alone wouldn't have carried the dramatic tension necessary (hence the contrast with Rollo). If this were Jamie's story and not Claire's it wouldn't be received any differently Vikings was.

Personally, I don't care who watches but I would like people to recognize the double-standard we are adhering to when commenting, especially in regards to "love" stories vs "plot" stories and the idea that "girly" things are inherently less universal and less worthwhile than "manly" things--regardless of whether those stereotypes should even exist. Most shows rely on "love" stories to define characters, to connect characters, to build tension, to relate to our everyday lives. That isn't a male or a female thing, that's a human thing.
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Aug 08, 2014
I'm with Lily: you don't see women commenting on the vast majority of new shows, going, "ick sounds like a boy thing." It is actually kinda offensive on a gender politics level. Every show on TV pretty much has love or romance as an element of dramatic tension or just as a part of normally occurring human existence. And marking that off as a female-centric negative is both disingenuous and narrow minded.

And no one, even those who have read the books, have any idea where they are going to take these characters or what they are going to focus on: the wars, the time travel, the political machinations, or the gender politics.
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Aug 08, 2014
I didn't say anyone wasn't free to comment. I said the comment was objectionable and ill founded. "I didn't say being female-centric was a negative thing. I said...[ it's]...something not to be liked by a significant part of the audience." You are saying having a potentially female-oriented show (what even is that besides rampant stereotyping?) would be a unlikable to the majority of viewers (who I guess in this case are males?). I'm sorry to say but that's not something different from being a negative thing. That is exactly a negative thing. People not liking something is negative, yes? Like or dislike the show, I'm not sure if I like it. But coloring the show as unlikable simply because it may appear to appeal to a female demographic is what it is, and that is sexist, and kinda offensive to the millions of female TV viewers who watch all sorts of shows without jumping to conclusions based on antiquated gender roles.
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Aug 08, 2014
Women are free to comment on the vast majority of new shows and say what they think if they want. In fact I support that 100%. You are easily offended and should deal better with different points of view and read things more carefully. You're distorting my words. I didn't say being female-centric is a negative thing. I said appealing essentially to females would be something not to be liked by a significant part of the audience. Two different things.
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Aug 07, 2014
"This sounds like too much romance, and something much more appealing to female audiences."

So after giving the first episode a go, I decided to test out the Outlander panel at SDCC (here). Like everything else at Comic-Con, it begins as a lot of fan service, but one of the first questions asked from the conference goers was about the possible gender disparity and the potential difficulty of getting men to try it out. Showrunner Ron Moore actually gives a really fine response, comparing it to the difficulty in getting women to watch his former hit project Battlestar Galactica.

I'm not anywhere near ready to commit to this show. I thought the premiere had really compelling parts but was somewhat erratic overall, better than many but not stellar. However, I really hope that a female protagonist doesn't dissuade male viewers from giving it a go, three or four episodes. After all, as far as time-traveling romances go, I'm not sure they get any more iconic than Terminator. If a romance can structure that plot and still be dude-friendly, I hope Outlander at least gets the same opportunity as, say, Vikings to win over historical adventure/action fans. Then we'll see whether it deserves to keep them or not.
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Aug 07, 2014
the first half was kind of boring, I dozed off a few times because they're basically roaming around Scotland but once she goes back in time it got interesting.
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Aug 07, 2014
It's like Lost in Austen without all the charm.
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Aug 07, 2014
You know I loved the first episode and as a fantasy lover I was kind of reluctant to read the books back when I first did. The whole idea made me want to just leave the book on the shelf.

Then I started it. Yes, it is a romance but it isn't a bodice ripper or regency romance. It doesn't fit with them. No book I've ever read fits with Outlander.

The basic premise is that a woman accidentally time travels back 200 years (from 1945 to 1743, so 202 years) and has to cope with the challenges this presents in a time of great conflict between the Scots and the English.

Yes, she falls in love at some point but that is just one bump in her journey and in falling in love she just continues her journey with him. But everything that happens from then on is still a result and often times because she is a time traveler.

People seem to think it is a romance because their is a love story in there but the series is more about a couple who do love each other enduring war, strife, adventure, horrible acts of violence, sometimes death, and time itself.
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Aug 07, 2014
This was surprisingly good.
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Aug 07, 2014
The fact that the writer is heavily involved with this production and everything I've seen makes this world look awesome will definitely have me checking in. It has to be better than the show that ended last weekend, 'Power'. Ron Moore met his wife when they worked together on 'Star Trek: Next Generation', excellent (by Hollywood standards) they're still together and found a project like this to collaborate on again. I love how in interviews promoting this series, Diana Gabaldon keeps talking about how her female characters aren't 'idiots' like the majority of female characters on television. (Its very very slowly starting to get better Ms. Gabaldon.) She's awesome (doing a stellar job promoting) and it appears that Starz may have FINALLY found a worthy successor to 'Spartacus'. This is the most press any show Starz has rolled out has gotten prior to airing so hopefully it'll bring eyes to it cause it looks fantastic.
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Aug 07, 2014
As a male I feel like this show is not aimed at me, but I have to say the directing and camera work is amazing, better than many movies, simply beautiful

So I'm gonna keep watching, hopefully the story will hook me.
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Aug 07, 2014
Men tend to end up enjoying the story for a their own reasons. I have to admit though that I can see the first season being less appealing to men than the rest of the series (book wise).
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Aug 09, 2014
I rather like the books because besides being VERY accurate historical fiction, the women portrayed in them are not complete idiots! I PREFER shows w/strong female characters (ST:Voyager, Sarah Conner Chronicles, La Femme Nikita, & etc) because that's the world in which I was raised.

For CENTURIES, the men in my family have gone off to war, leaving the women behind to watch over our farms and raise the children. I'm used to being around smart, strong women, and watching stupid, weak women on television doesn't entertain me at all.
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Aug 07, 2014
I was going to say "This show is pretty female centric and i'll probably don't watch it" then i saw your comment and i agree everything you said.
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Aug 07, 2014
I LOVED the pilot! Count me in!!!
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Aug 07, 2014
I was going to try it but then I read the book and changed my mind. I have read many time-travel and historical romances and it is the worst of them all.
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Aug 07, 2014
I enjoyed a Korean time travel romance TV show called "Nine times time travel"

I recommend this show because it has an unique time travel story that simply works well, and the story was great.

If you wanna check it out, use Google there's quite a few sites that have it streaming, like Dramafever.com
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Aug 07, 2014
I'm reading the book before watching the show. Or at least, I'm trying to. I'm not very far in so I'm not optimistic that I'll finish before the show starts.
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Get past page 49.
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Aug 07, 2014
Showcase is airing Outlander in Canada starting Sunday, August 24.
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