Starz’s hit series Outlander returns for Season 2 this Saturday and the ultra-sexy time-traveling historical drama moves from Scotland to France. The fandom started prior to the show’s premiere with a strong based of readers who love Diana Gabaldon’s epic book series (currently on book 8). During Season 1, it grew even bigger around the sweeping romantic drama set in pre-Jacobite Rebellion Scotland. Need to get caught up before Season 2 starts, or need to some reasons to get started on the series? Here are five reasons you should get on the Fraser train.
Time Travel Done Right
Claire Randall goes away with her husband Frank to Scotland in 1945, after the couple ended their respective stints with the British military during World War II. While on this romantic getaway, Claire stumbles on a circle of mystical stones (a la Stonehenge style) which magically transport her back in time to 1743, where she’s a modern woman trapped in an olden time. Now I love a time machine as much as the next sci-fi nerd, but who really wants to think about the physics of the fabric of space-time? Give me some old-fashioned mystical dimensional transport any day. To be honest, I thought I’d find the time travel aspect of this story to be pretty silly, but it’s unexplainable magic and Claire’s convincing integration into this historical setting makes it actually fascinating and even fun.
I mean, just look at that scenery! And that screenshot is just a little smidge of what’s in store. This show makes Scotland look idyllic and heavenly in nearly every scene. From sweeping green landscapes to gleaming lochs to lush forests, director Ronald D. Moore (of Battlestar Galactica fame) cuts no corners in selling the beauty of the Scottish countryside as well as its castles. And the incredible art direction continues indoors with the fashions and the interiors. The historic attention to detail is impeccable. It’s hard to believe that the person who brought this meticulous costume drama to screen is also the same guy who filmed Cylons and starships so well. This new season will be set in Paris as the action moves to the continent, but I’m sure the show will do as much with the French city and its interiors as it did with Scotland.
A Kickass Heroine
Part of why the time-travel thing works so well is that Caitriona Balfe plays Claire as an incredibly sharp-witted, fiery, strong-willed woman who has to walk a very tough line as a modern woman stuck in a past time where women were preferably seen and not heard. Prior to her trip through time, Claire was a hard-nosed and capable wartime nurse who endured the horrors of a battlefield hospital. She brings that edge back in time with her. When she isn’t able to finesse her way around or out of sticky or awful situations, she’s not afraid to use a little brute force to fight her way out. She’s a full-force survivor, who won’t just take something as horrible as, say, a forced arranged marriage quietly. But thankfully, she ended up betrothed to…
Alright, now we’re getting to the REAL reason many fans watch this show: Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser. As written and portrayed in the show, Jamie’s a total Highland dreamboat: ruggedly handsome, a trained warrior, generous and caring, chivalrous yet irreverent, a fast friend to everyone he meets, a family man, slightly naive, and absolutely loyal. He’s basically the total package in a kilt, and the lovely Heughan has amassed quite the fangirl following as a result. I mean, this is what I’m talking about.
Which leads us to another reason folks really can’t get enough of Outlander. Jamie and Claire together are pure fireworks! Their initial meeting in which he rescues her from the show’s villainous Captain Jack Randall (who coincidentally is the ancestor of her beloved modern-day husband) is full of feisty sparring and a few sparks. But as they’re forced together in a scheme to (a) provide him with a wife and (b) protect her from Randall by putting her under Fraser/MacKenzie protection, they soon find they rather like each other very much. Balfe and Heughan really pull off this romance so perfectly, and much of it is in their intense chemistry. If you’re not so into steamy NSFW love scenes, turn back now; this show has more of them than tartans. But let’s say you do enjoy a bit of bodice-ripping goodness; well, do enjoy.
Not convinced you need to catch up on Outlander? I’ll leave you with this one last shot of Jamie: