Outlander began season 1 in 2014. Season 6 will release in 2022, and a 7th season is in the works. I’d never seen it because it was on a channel I didn’t get. But seasons 1-4 are now available on Netflix, where I can watch it!
The Outlander series is based on a series of Diana Gabaldon’s books [affiliate link]. I read the first one and couldn’t wait for additional books. These books are long and involved. Very long. Very involved. And absolutely compelling storytelling.
The series looks as long and convoluted as the books. I’ll give you the basics of the story as it happens in season 1, but it wanders all over time and the world before the end.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) are in Inverness, Scotland. It’s 1945. They both served in the English army during the war. Claire was a combat nurse. They are getting reacquainted now the war is over. They secretly watch a ceremony among some standing stones atop a hill with women dancing and chanting in the moonlight.
Later Claire goes back to the stones alone. She touches one of the stones and wakes up in 1743. She’s almost captured by some English redcoats and has her first encounter with her husband’s ancestor Captain Jack Randall (also Tobias Menzies). She’s rescued from that by an band of filthy Scots.
They take her to a cabin when she sets the shoulder of a strapping young redheaded Highland Scot named Jamie (Sam Heughan). The Scots take her home with them. She is welcomed, but not trusted. The Scots hate the English.
There you have the main cast of characters for season 1, all neatly introduced in the first episode. There are 18 episodes in season 1.
Claire slowly figures out where she is, what time period it is, and how her situation works. She’s desperate to get back to the standing stones and return to her own time. She doesn’t make the trip in season 1, but I know from the books there’s plenty of time hopping in the future involving her and her entire family.
Claire and Jamie get married. They say it’s a political act to keep them safe, but they fall in love and hard. There’s no scrimping on the sex scenes between them.
The series has two qualities. It’s very sexy and it’s very brutal. Eighteenth Century Scotland was a brutal place.
Most brutal and sadistic of all was their mortal enemy, Black Jack Randall. The scenes of brutality from him are as involved and detailed as the sex scenes I mentioned before. Diana Gabaldon is a writer with a lot to say and it’s minutely detailed.
One thing the series does not have that a lot of people loved about the books was recipes. There were blogs and books devoted to trying out the many recipes mentioned in the book.
In season 1 alone, Claire and Jamie survive a number of horrible events, have some respite in his home castle, and end the season on their way to what they hope will be safety in France.
Here’s a trailer and some background for season 1.
If you’re a fan of this series, I’d love to hear from you. What keeps you interested? Have any favorite characters or characters you love to hate? Most importantly, do you think Netflix will carry seasons beyond the 4th soon?