I recently went on a cottage trip with a best friend of mine and while we were away she got me hooked on a wonderful new show that I feel you all should be watching! Within a day and a half I finished all the aired episodes, so I guess saying I like the show would be a bit of an understatement. I knew within 20 minutes of the Pilot episode that I would love the premise and characters of the show, which is why I instantly decided that the next Series Spotlight had to be about this gem of a series.
Outlander is a British-American drama television series created by Ronald D. Moore based on the book series with the same name by Diana Gabaldon. The Outlander book series has eight novels, so there is plenty of material to work from for the show which is similar to that of the material for the Game of Thrones series. Outlander premiered August 9th, 2014, airing eight episodes before the winter break and has recently returned on April 4th, 2015 to finish airing the final eight episodes of the first season.
The Outlander Pilot episode begins in 1945 where we first meet British war nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall, played by the stunning model turned actress Caitriona Balfe, just as World War II is ending. After being separated for five years during the war, Claire and her husband Frank Randall, played by Game of Thrones star Tobias Menzies, decide to visit Inverness, Scotland for their second honeymoon in order to reconnect. Frank is fascinated with history and decides to teach Claire the stories of the land, while he also attempts to trace his family line back to his ancestor Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall.
In order to learn more about Scottish culture, one evening Claire and Frank sneak out to see a modern Druid ritual located among a set of standing stones on the historic hill of Craigh na Dun. The next day Claire wishes her husband farewell and then decides to go back to the hill. Upon arrival Claire hears an odd noise coming from one of the stones and decides to place her hands on it … moments later she wakes up lying on the ground. Feeling strange about the occurrence, Claire heads back to her car in order to drive back to town. However, her car has disappeared and she soon becomes caught in the middle of a battle between Redcoats and rebel Highlanders!
Claire is running through the woods trying to rationalize why a historical re-enactment would be using live ammunition when she runs into a man that looks exactly like her husband Frank. She quickly realizes that this man is not Frank and he is extremely dangerous when a Scotsman sweeps in to rescue her. He brings her back to his friends and Claire then meets a dashing Highland warrior named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) who has a dislocated shoulder. Although she does not know these strange men, Claire’s nurse training and stubbornness take over and she helps them set Jamie’s shoulder back into place.
Even though Claire has a British accent the men agree that she doesn’t seem to be an immediate threat, so they resolve to take her back to their home of Castle Leoch. During the journey to Castle Leoch Claire notices that the town no longer exists to the same capacity that she had seen it yesterday. With the knowledge Claire has gained from her husband and the events that have occurred she can only come to one conclusion … she somehow has time travelled back to 18th century Scotland and she has no idea how to get home.
Due to Claire’s British accent, she is soon under suspicion of being a spy for the English. Therefore, Claire knowing she is in danger decides to plan an escape to the standing stones of Inverness in order to attempt to make her wake back to her time. However, her plans are quickly destroyed when laird of the castle Colum MacKenzie decides to keep her against her will as the castle’s healer.
I don’t want to say too much more as I feel Outlander is an excellent series and I wouldn’t want to spoil any major plot lines for those who haven’t started it yet! I will however give a fair warning that the show mirrors the nudity of Game of Thrones and contains a few scenes of very graphic violence. That being said I am extremely excited to see how the rest of the first season will unravel and where Claire’s heart will lead her! Lastly, Outlander has been renewed for a second season of at least 13 episodes, which will be based on the second book in Gabaldon’s series Dragonfly in Amber.
Bonus: I always like to feature something extra and today’s post is no different as I just have spotlight the show’s glorious costume designer Terry Dresbach! Not only does Claire’s gown below have breathtaking detailing, but the day-to-day outfits Terry creates are perfect for helping the viewers visualize the style of 18th century Scotland. Check out the link below for Terry’s personal blog of Outlander costume design, as well as photos of a few of my favourite pieces that have been featured on the show thus far!