An Outlander Community
Saturday 9:00 PM on Starz
The pilot surfaced on the web last week and I finally decided to watch it.

I'm not going to post any spoilers, just give my impressions.

Before I give my 2 cents, I should point out that I haven't read the books, I was interested in this series for 2 reasons.

Firstly Ronald D. Moore is involved, the guy behind the phenomenal BattleStar Galactica reboot, (however he is also responsible for the bloated mess that was Caprica).

Secondly, its on Starz.
Now Starz is best known for a more adult approach to programming, - with shows like Spartacus, Black Sails and Magic City - and Outlander would be their first foray into original sci-fi (to the best of my knowledge).

Onto the show.

Whats it about?:

Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened.



What its actually like?:

Outlander could best be described as a historical, fantasy-romance hybrid.



Whats good?:

Outlander is a very pretty show. The director uses the scenery and settings to good effect and they add to the feel of the show.

The leads are both solid and have some chemistry. Caitriona Balfe manages to be convincing in the lead, as a strong, intelligent female character - which was refreshing, and pleasantly surprising.
Characters in fantasy shows can sometimes verge on silly/dumb, but Claire Randall's character is very calm and strong, considering her predicament.

The pacing picks up when Claire travels back in time.



Whats not so good?:

The voice over. They really over used it. They really, really need to cut it down.

The music. A pet peeve of mine is the over use of what I call 'diddly diddly' music in shows relating to Celtic regions.

There is a lot of exposition before the time jump actually happens - probably too much.

There is possibly too much time spent in 1945 and too much time giving the historical background to the area.


Overall:

Outlander has a lot of promise, but the subject matter will not be for everyone, and this is not your typical Starz fare.
Its well shot, with interesting characters and handles the fantasy elements in a more grounded fashion than I was expecting.

7/10
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Grumpy - I have to disagree about this being sci-fi. Science is no where in this. It is mystical/occult more than anything sci-fi. Nothing about this show is part of that category.
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My opinion was -

"What its actually like?:

Outlander could best be described as a historical, fantasy-romance hybrid
."


News about the show kept mentioning sci-fi or science fiction, with stuff like -

Super 8's Caitriona Balfe dons period clothing to film new sci-fi fantasy series Outlander in Scotland

or

US sci-fi series Outlander to be filmed in Scotland

Or news sites giving out tid bits like:

"Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s steamy sci-fi romance ‘Outlander‘ have been eagerly anticipating the Starz adaptation due to premiere on August 9, but now the Ronald Moore drama will come a bit earlier than expected."

(via Screen Crush )

Or

"One of the stealth hits at this past weekend's New York Comic-Con was the panel for the forthcoming Starz epicOutlander — a historical fiction, romance, and sci-fi genre-bender"

( via Vulture )

Or

"Foxtel will premiere the epic romantic sci-fi drama series Outlander on the SoHo channel this year."

(via Outlander TV News )

Or

‘I Seem To Have Fallen Through Time!!’ The First Trailer For Starz’ Sci-Fi Drama OUTLANDER, From BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Mastermind Ron Moore!!

(via Aint It Cool )


But I stick with my opinion of "Outlander could best be described as a historical, fantasy-romance hybrid."



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Hey I didn't say you were alone. Yours was more of a throw away line - those sites can't see this as sci-fi after seeing that 1st ep, can they?

Historical/fantasy/romance - that is about perfect. Maybe even supernatural if you want to include time travel by means of pagan ritual
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"Justified"?

Fine, I'll go with that.

I'm justified.

Thank you so much.
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LOL. Aren't I gracious?

I didn't mean it like that, Grumpy. Appropriate would have been a better word. I just mean - it makes sense you used the phrase.
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Most reviewers seem to be branding it as sci-fi and I'm guessing they're doing it to broaden the appeal.
The term fantasy gives a more cartoonish impression to most people.
Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with labeling something as part of the fantasy genre - the quality of a show or film should be the thing its judged on.

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I was just referring to your line:

"Outlander would be their first foray into original sci-fi (to the best of my knowledge)."

I guess by the examples of the other reviews you are justified to call it that. But I can't.
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No I don't either. GoT is doing OK and that is most definitely fantasy. But yeah, I see why they are doing it. I just don't see how they can say that and be honest. Time Travel doesn't belong to Sci-Fi...though most times there is a science-y explanation. In this case - it is done via the mystical. There is no science in this fiction.
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Galactica seems like a good blue print for Outlander because, at the core of it, they were all characters already trapped in a time loop.

If it weren't because the end of Kobol, the characters would've never gone back to the beginnings of the earth. And if they wouldn't have done that, the end of earth would've never caused the beginning of Kobol.

Characters that had to go through what they have to go through, that somehow don't see it as pointless and keep on going: that's what cylons-humans have in common with these war nurses-scottish men.
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Some VERY strong reviews from critics who have seen six episodes, many of which identify the premiere episode as the weakest and slowest:

A.V. Club: "Outlander is letter-perfect historical fantasy" by Sonia Saraiya
EW: "A sexy, smart, stirring romance" by Jeff Jensen
Time: "Outlander is many kinds of show, all in one kilt" by James Poniewozik
IGN (only Episode 1): "Bring in the Kilts" by Amy Ratcliffe
Wall Street Journal: "The Mother of all Highland Flings" by Nancy Dewolf Smith

Competing critical responses from Variety: "A Bonny Bore or Scotch Delight?" by Brian Lowry and Laura Prudom

Honestly, after seeing the first episode, I'm a little surprised at how overwhelmingly positive most of the critical reviews are. Early pacing seems to be the primary (sometimes only) gripe. For a show I had very little intention of watching just a week go, this one has really caught my attention.
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Here is another interesting review by Wired magazine: The Troubling, Subversive Promise of the New Show Outlander.
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Hopefully @Llostris gets some response to her reviews
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Err... nope.
Gorgeous cinematography and nice landscapes is not enough for me to re-evaluate my initial decision to pass on this. Fantasy romance? WTF? Well, to each their own.
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Yeah, I don't think it will be for everyone.
I'll stick around for couple of episodes, but if it gets too sappy I'll probably quit
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Admittedly, a lot of shows are somewhat romances, and I still watch them, some of them I even like. Banshee is basically a romance, Fringe was one in it's core and Turn is to large parts a romance also... maybe I'll give it a try, lol, in the end I'm a sucker for historical pieces anyhow.
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Yes but Banshee's romance is a bit more visceral. Plus it doesn't hurt that you have the lead character beating the crap out of someone nearly every episode. And the female characters are all yummy.
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@Cuttlefish

It is a show that has been created with a female audience in mind, this is a fact, the rights and wrongs of which you which you can debate yourself, but it is a fact. It isn't a criticism, I have commented several times on these pages about the poor depiction of women in TV shows, especially US shows, and it is a refreshing change to see a strong willed and more complex female lead.

My original comment was in response to a comparison to Banshee a more male-orientated show where the female characters are brought on mainly to be lust objects for the central character and in turn, the viewers who are predominently (but not exclusively) male. In Outlander the central character, the one whose eyes the viewer is following the story, is Claire and the "sex object" is Jamie. You only have to look the comments on this thread from male contributers to see this does not quite appeal to their tastes. The viewers, the real fans of this show will be predominently (but not exclusively) female. Again, not a criticism, not a rebuke or a sexist tirade, just a fact.

Enjoy your day
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@BobTFish
Are you saying that fleshing out a female character and making her compelling and complex limits her appeal to only female viewers? That a TV show is going to necessarily lose male viewers if it doesn't stoop to the same old pandering shallow depiction of women as male lust objects? Wow, lucky you prefaced that with "without getting sexist". Wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about what you REALLY meant.
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For what it is, it looks very good, but at the end of the day, without getting sexist, this is one for the ladies. the males characters are the less developed and archetypal eye-candy, while the central female character is given more complexity and, while atrractive is a more interesting character.

I though the scene in the ruin where the husband "attended to" his wife was very telling and quite bold
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Ok, was able to erm... catch the surfacing package (wink wink)

Am writing as I watch or watching as I write... wha'evah!

Ok so it's written, developed and "executive produced" by Moore so I guess I would say... total involvement LOL.

No spoilers:

+ I can say that the photography is beautiful and there are a couple of scenes with an amazing lighting.
+ I liked the acting. Loved the accents.
+ It definitely felt more fantasy / historical novel than sci-fi!
+ I did not find the voice over that annoying myself... I've heard worse LOL.

Would be interested in reading the books too...
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My problem was the over use of the voice over - I laughed when it happened during a sex scene
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I see your point... I personally feel that the voice over in Blade Runner was too much...
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I've read the novels and I wouldn't classify it as a Sci Fi series or even fantasy. It's more an historical story.
Claire is a indepentent person because of her time working as a war nurse, this makes it easier for us to relate to her in the books.
If you absolutly don't like historical love stories this is not the show for you.
But if you do like historical drama and want to have a feeling how living was like in that periode keep on watching.
I myself am very exciting about this show and hope they can catch the atmosphere of the books.
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As having been watching Starz since its first foray into Dramatic programs the wildly uneven 'Crash' and have to say this one looks pretty damn impressive. Every shot they've released looks fantastic. Ron Moore seems to be doing OK post 'Battlestar' he was just an EP on 'Helix' but that show was as successful as a show is going to get on SyFy, it got Season 2. (I'm just glad he didn't get pulled into the show his 'Battlestar' co-producer got sucked into - that flaming pile of doo 'Falling Skies'.) Call me intrigued. (It has to at least be better than 'Power' which ended up almost a Hollywoodized version of 'The Wire' where everybody is exceptionally good looking around the drug business.)
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Power spiraled into a soapy mess
Outlander seems a bit more open with the direction its going toward - a historical fantasy romance
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One thing I wonder: why 1945. I understand a nurse from today's time traveling in time. But a 1945 nurse has the World War II as a reference and has no knowledge of the social transformations occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, besides not knowing anything about 21st century technology. But of course I'm betting they'll write her as independent and liberated as most women in 2014 are, because audiences, especially female ones, must identify with her and wouldn't identify with someone who has the values of their grandmothers.
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Why not 1945? I don't understand why you're referring to social transformations and technology like it has any bearing on the story. She goes back in time to the 1700's where zippers would have been considered witchcraft. Does it matter if she knows what a smart phone is or has a deep understanding of 3rd wave feminist theory? Plus your contention that modern day women will not be able to empathise with a woman who, if alive today, would be same age as many of our grandmothers says a lot more about your own emotional limitations than those of the viewing audience.
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Wow, so I have such glaring emotional limitations, don't I? Why I'm limited to understand is why an innocent comment on a phantasy story can generate so much poison from people who don't agree with you and even resort to peronal pseudo-analysis and offenses. And that has to say about whom exactly?

Did I say anything smartphones? What would be obvious with someone with at least half a brain is that I was talking about technological improvements that would have improved her skills as a nurse and professional of the medical arts in general. Or are you under the illusion the training to be a nurse hasn't changed one bit in 70 years?

70 years is also a long time of deep social changes. It's a life time. If you relize that, get informed first. As for audience identification, the usual trope is to have someone from the present visit the past to work as an audience surrogate, which may not be as easy if the main character has the values and world view of your grandparents when they were young. This simply another world today.

I'd gladly discuss this with you further. I'll just have to ask you to be to refraining from being so judgmental.
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Yes, because if I remember correctly, the first time a woman had an opinion of her own was around 1983
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No, of course not, because the opinions a woman had in 1945 are exactly the same as the ones they have today.
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The character isn't presented as someone from 2014, she is someone who was been a nurse on the frontline of a horrific war for several years, separated from her husband and having to hold her in a male-dominated enviroment. this is entirely realistic and happened to thousands of women during the war, this is well documented, and many thrived and were able to express their naturally more outspoken and independant nature. Even earlier than this, this if you read up on British Sufferagette movement, for example, these aren't women quietly handing out pamphlets at tea dances, they are feisty, millitant woman of strong will and action.

Long story short, your inferred idea of '40's women as mousy, obediant housewives is one gathered from media portrayals based on male ideals rather than reality. Similar to media portrayals of the men serving as all well-spoken, public school boy types in films such as Dambusters, when most were working class and from various parts of the country.
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No, I didn't imply that women at that time were mousy, obedient, blah, blah, Dambusters (you lost me ther, haven't got the vaguest idea of what that is), public school... Wow, you really tripped there, pal. ALL OF THIS is in your imagination as a result of what you THINK I inferred.

I merely stated that the values of 1945 are quite different from those of 2014 and how could they be the same after almost 70 years? And I also said that the show's protagonist lives at the time of our grandmothers, which is also true. The rest is all you.
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I think an army nurse of WW2 was an independent person. Women during WW2 had to be. In the 50-60s this was turned back, which was corrected in the social transformations in the 60s and 70s.
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She's from 1945 because that's how the character was written in the book over 20 years ago.
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Oh, that figures.
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I don't entirely disagree with you, but I also think much of what happened in the '60s and '70s was course-correcting what happened in the late-'40s and '50s. Certainly, there are substantial cultural differences in the attitudes toward gender between 1945 and 2014, but I also think that part of what the era between WWI and WWII did was give women a real sense of independence, one that their experience corroborated. I think, as Claire clearly expresses in the first episode, she wants those values that her era imposed on her: a family, a successful husband, hobbies instead of a career, etc. But only 6 months after VE-Day, the oppressive restrictions on women that the post-war era imposed after the men returned hadn't yet kicked in. Women were not yet house-bound.

We'll see how it goes, and it's inevitable (as it is in any, any historical fiction) that some modern attitudes and perspectives will leak in, but I'm not quite ready to write Claire off as not belonging to 1945. After all, my grandmother (about Claire's age, mid-20s after the war) was an independent firecracker, way less conservative and probably more capable than women 10-15 years younger than she was.
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"they'll write her as independent and liberated as most women in 2014 are," - its a good description.

Setting it in 1945 is probably less important than the 1743 setting
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I thought it was a medival romance story masquerading as Sci-fi so I was not really excited about it. I had been liking Starz series recently so I might give it a try to see if it is good.
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It takes a grounded approach to fantasy - but I have a feeling it will turn into a historical romance.

The pilot is worth a look
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I was pleasantly surprised. I also haven't read Outlander, though I have read considerably about it, but my first impression is that the adaptation—including the extended time spent cavorting around Inverness in 1945—remains remarkably faithful to the pacing and tone of the book as I understand it. (There might be a few *minor spoilers* below, so if you don't want anything revealed to you, don't read.)

1. You're bang on about the voice-over. I understand the premise requires a pretty heavy information dump to avoid following our heroine Claire and her husband Frank Randall as WWII battle nurse and MI6 operative respectively. I hope that as the show settles into a rhythm, the voice-over will become less necessary. If not, it may prove a genuine distraction.

2. It's truly refreshing to have such a fiery, strong, and credible female protagonist in a TV show. It's way too uncommon. You're also dead right about Caitriona Balfe, who makes Claire both the supremely capable and sometimes vulnerable firecracker that she show needs her to be. She's not only the protagonist, she steals nearly every scene.

3. Despite Starz' reputation for fun but gratuitous sex in its original programming, Outlander's premiere episode makes interesting and meaningful thematic use of sex. In particular, it navigates a territory between virgin and whore (though they're categories that most of the men in the show still almost reflexively, and villainously, evoke) that a sexually desirous Claire can claim for herself. It's not afraid of female pleasure, and it doesn't have to brutalize its women (though that threat seems ever present).

4. There's a lot that's absurdly convenient. Claire's a battle nurse with a passion for herbal remedies and a husband obsessively interested in local Scottish history and culture in the 18th century. After time-traveling back, she lands in the company of a remarkably gentlemanly band of Scottish rebels and on the horse of the hunkiest and cleanest of them all. There's a ring of serendipity to it all, and if that's the way the show (and perhaps the book) plan on developing it, I might be more willing to accept it all, but at the moment it rings a little too piercingly of plot convenience.

5. It strangely chastises its audience for doing exactly what it's doing. So in the first half of the episode, we're invited along with Claire and Frank to romanticize his ancestors, in particular one "Black Jack" Randall with his colorful name. He's an object of fascination not only for his direct relation to Frank but also for his rascally reputation among the redcoats. When we meet him, he's a villain and a predator, nothing of the romance the historian, his wife and his research partner, a local priest, have imagined. It's a bit of a coy slap on the wrist for those of us who bought into that kind of historical imagining. But we are then asked sincerely to do the same thing for the Scottish rebels, buying into not only their political struggles but also buying handsome Jamie as a romantic fantasy. It's a bit of having your cake and eating it too, as far as historical fiction goes. It's a little clever and a little odd, and I'm not sure yet just what to make of it.
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I brushed off the convenient leaps - I generally do with pilot episodes.

Will you tune in for another episode?
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Well, I don't currently have Starz, and I doubt I'll specifically subscribe just for Outlander, but I was intrigued enough by the first episode that I might try setting up viewing dates with friends. Even if not, if wider response continues to be as favorable as initial reviews, I might just give it a go on blu-ray when that's released. Not, I'm sure, what Starz would hope for, but damn if television can't get expensive.
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"*twiddles thumbs and whistles* Yes, please." - I'll send you the links when they come out.

I sent you a PM with a couple of things to occupy your time
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Ah Harpier. It is the age of the internet, you don't need the subscription. I don't have them, I am not even in the U and I watch Penny Dreadful, Master of Sex, True Blood, GoT etc. Let us know if you want links to sites that help people out with this problem.
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As you may see below, I sometimes give in, but I usually try to get my hands on things by paying for them. I had ZERO qualms when I was abroad, in the same way I have no qualms about watching international programming online that I don't otherwise have access to in the US. But, yeah, I'll give the internet a few more shots at Outlander. We'll see how the front 8 go this fall.
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I'll watch a few episodes more online when they're available - just let me know if you want links
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*twiddles thumbs and whistles* Yes, please.
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Ok, you convinced me to watch at least the pilot.
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Are you going to watch online or on TV?
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If ever one of the broadcasters I get on my cable will air it in the next ten years......

I might use my tv screen as a monitor but the reality is I always will have to watch it online. I cancelled my tv guide yesterday as I never watch tv any more. The guy at the help desk was a bit devastated as I had been a subscriber almost since they started in the eighties.
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You shouldn't have mentioned cancelling your TV Guide subscription....they may be listening.

If you download stuff, you may want to invest in a raspberry pi
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Here in the UK the Government have said that they will send up to 4 warning emails to persistent offenders (I might just slightly qualify), after which they will do... absolutely nothing! I'm quaking in my boots!
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I have a NAS, two media tanks (one in the living room and one in the bedroom) so that should cover it.

In the Netherlands downloading was legal until a few months ago (because of some stupid ruling by the EU we did not ask for). It's not legal any more but the minister said they will not prosecute individual downloaders. So I'm still save.
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I watched it. I am not sure about it. To those familiar with the books could you expand on the scifi aspects of it, is it merely an initial premise that she falls through time or is there more throughout the series that lends to more traditional scifi aspects of the show. If there is then good, it there isn't then I doubt it is my thing.

GC is correct and the scenery is gorgeous visually it is a stunning show and is well shot and on a personal note it is filmed in some of my favorite places to run and hike in the highlands on the weekends. On a more personal note I hope the show fails because I don't want to have to dodge tourists on my runs.

I agree about the exposition before the time jump and though I am not opposed gratuitous sex, but it felt a little tacked on. I agree about the historical background only because I have been through it before. To those that haven't I can understand the appeal and it was a bit required to introduce the other character that one of the actor plays. In that regard it was necessary.

I would give it about a 7 as well. I am not sure where they are going to go with all of this nor am I certain that the story will be able to separate itself from other time falling movies and the tropes that we have seen before, though, even saying that, I am willing to give it a shot. If only to plan new runs or hikes.
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I wouldn't even categorize it as "sci-fi". It's far more fantasy than that, one that pulls more on the tone of celtic fairy stories than anything remotely like science fiction. The idea of a character being yanked into another world—here, another time—is more a matter of folklore than Quantum Leap. And generally, it provides little more than the necessary (but generally well done) mechanism to sustain the premise.

As for the romance-y bits, the books (and it appears the show is headed in this direction as well) are absolutely historically embedded romance, since the plot structure pivots around a time-disrupting love triangle. BUT...it's also a ripping historical adventure story. If you actively dislike the romantic fantasy, it might not pan out for you, but as someone whose most "romantic" DVD on my shelf is probably Innocent Blood, the Landis vampire horror-comedy, if you're fine with a well constructed romance in your adventure stories, you might give Outlander a few more episodes.

Also, I was impressed by the premiere's fine (but quiet) humor about its woman-out-of-time aspects. Clan MacKenzie might just be roaring good company. I had a few strange flashes to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
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Good to know. Thanks Harpier. I am not against fantasy romance, as long as it isn't too heavy handed and the rest of the story makes up for it. But I will give it he 4 episode test. Thanks again.
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I was thinking of throwing in a few 'Princess Bride' comparisons - Claire's character reminds me of Robin Wright Penns portrayal for some reason
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Maybe it's because there's something anachronistic about both of them. Claire is literally anachronistic, and anything Princess Bride was a delightful, quirky blend of medieval-flavored fantasy and contemporary sensibility.
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Possibly.
Or the measured way both of them seem to respond to situations
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And now you know where the English will hide ;-).

I have a feeling it may be a bit more of a pulpy romance than I would be comfortable with - which leads to me not being totally committed to sticking with it.

I'll watch a few episodes and see how I feel after it.

The 2nd sex scene reminded me of the trashy Mills & Boon books my grandmother used to like.
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Yea, I am pretty much where you are with this show. It sounds like books my mother reads. Trashy romance novels just aren't my thing. However it could surprise me if Clair's character stays stronger and she makes some type of effort to get back to her time.

I chuckled at the second sex scene. Who hasn't had sex in abandoned historical buildings.
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"I am more concerned with who goes on historical jaunts without their knickers." - THE BEST KIND OF HISTORIANS!!!!
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"Who hasn't had sex in abandoned historical buildings." - its romantic!!
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Or things that happen when you are inebriated, the girl you are dating is a bit of an exhibitionist, or she was goth and you were at the time going through a goth girl phase. There are plenty of reasons to do so.

I am more concerned with who goes on historical jaunts without their knickers. Not that I am opposed to that. But it is cold in the Highlands in late October.
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I like the term "surfaced" but sometimes it makes me think of a body that was weighed down with rocks or something and that eventually came out... for air. Is that bad? Is that revealing too much about my psyche?

I do not blame Caprica on Moore, but Helix: I certainly do!

I will try to catch the surfacing erm... package and will come back... BTW when is the actual official release?
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"I like the term "surfaced" but sometimes it makes me think of a body that was weighed down with rocks or something and that eventually came out... for air"
That sounds like what happened with the original pilot of Growing up Fisher, starring Parker Posey - it was not good!
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...and bloated :-)
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August 9th - this Saturday

A few other pilots have, ahem, surfaced as well.
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The official premiere is July 9th. For now you can see the pilot on STARZ website.

I'm planning to post my review on Sunday. However. I might do it sooner if folks start to openly discuss the pilot.
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We will comment on yours and not the site's one if they do one themselves so please, do.
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I suspect you'll get a better response on Saturday - but the site may also do their own review
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Regrettably it's only available for US citizens and my VPN workaround also doesn't work ......
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Mmm, OK I don't have cable but my nephews do, so they DVR some stuff for me (what we get through cable down here, Costa Rica, is mainly main stream, but we do get some stuff) Then a friend has a Netflix account so I watch with her some stuff (but they insist in dubbing a lot of things which is very annoying mainly because the translation seems to be done by secondary school kids... the ones in remedial classes!)

And then I am afraid I do use torrents when something I really want to watch, erm... I cannot find.

I do buy all my music and books mind, so it counter balances (or so I tell my conscience) And series & movies that I absolutely adore I buy the DVDs too...

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You have a pm ;-)
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@Trevplatt
Legends?
If TV.com doesn't do one, I will.
Right now I'm working on another post, which probably won't get promoted because of the content ;-)
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Thanks for the PM. I'll check it out, along with Outlander probably at the weekend. You reviewing the other one too?
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Mine did, what are you using?
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@Mate, thx, downloaded it and will install it and see how it works.

@mad-pac, until now I have never had any degradation in speed. This video was almost the first time it didn't work. My brother, who lives in Berlin, Germany used it to stream Youtube music all evening on a party (it is blocked over there for some license reason) and he never had any problems. But, I'll keep it in mind.
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Hola works for a limited time with full sped, then it decreases drastically, unless you buy the premium package. And it didn't work for me with Hulu. Not a definitive option.
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@Rolamb I use Tunnel bear a lot.
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I'm using Hola and Chrome. If you have another suggestion I will be happy to hear it.
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