Monday, September 29, 2014

OUTLANDER: My Take So Far on the TV Series by @KarynGerrard #Highlanders #review

First off, I haven't read the books, (no spoilers, please!) though I have second hand copies of the first four somewhere in a box.

What? Why haven't I read them? They are in first person, not my fav by any stretch of the imagination. Also, they look...daunting. It will need a huge chunk of my time and concentration, probably the reason I haven't tackled Game of Thrones yet, either.

Also, both series are on TV. I decided I will watch the shows until completion before tackling the books as I want to be surprised about certain plot points.

So. Outlander.

I watched the first episode in August with my mother and sister. My sister squirmed through the whole thing. She looked at me accusingly. "I thought you said this wasn't a romance?"
Whoops. Needless to say, sis will not be continuing. My mom? Though she liked the look of Sam Heughan ('reminds me of Tom Brady!',she said) She's not interested in continuing either. "Maybe I'll check it out on Netflix sometime."

*Note: I think she's on to something, Sam above, Tom Brady (quarterback for the New England Patriots) to the right. Uncanny.

So, how did Outlander lose two thirds of the viewers at my showing? The series first two episodes were slow. I was told the books start the same way, so I decided to stick it out. Glad I did. Once we got home from vacation, I was curled up in my room watching ep 2 and the hubs strolled in. "What are you watching?"
I gave him a very brief synopsis. "I'd like to check it out." he said.
So I watched the first two episodes again with the hubs. I admit, it played better the second time around. Also it helps to watch it with someone who isn't squirming uncomfortably. Verdict? The hubs liked it!

I will admit, the character of Claire grates a bit on me. I don't hate her, far from it. Just now and then I roll my eyes. Not sure if it is the narration, which I don't like in TV shows, (again the whole 1st person thing which makes me twitch) or her character on the whole. I get she's plucky, thanks to her background and her time as a WWII nurse,  but I find it hard to believe these 18th century Highlanders would be taking her verbal abuse as stoically as they are. I am glad she is not a 'too-stupid-to-live' heroine, though, Regardless, I think the actress, Caitriona Balfe, is doing a great job showing the conflicting emotions of being pulled between two men in two different eras. Hubs input: He finds Caitriona attractive, but too skinny for his tastes, lol~

Speaking of the Highlanders, to me, they are the star of the show. I adore them all, whether for comic relief, or the whole 'Band of Brothers' feel these guys have. Regardless of their occasional ribald comments, these guys are loyal to the core and have big hearts. And fierce warriors. How sexy is that? Hubs input: The Highlanders rock.

Sam Heughan (pronounced HEW-an) is a gorgeous man, all 6'3 of him with his dyed ginger curly locks and tight abs and killer, melting smile. And he can act! He certainly brings the 'romantic highlander warrior hero' to life in spades. But its Graham McTavish that's caught my attention. How refreshing to find he's only six months older than me.
Here's Graham without his Dougal MacKenzie beard. Oh yeah.
Had no idea he played one of the dwarves in the latest Lord of the Rings trilogy!
Anyway, I find his Dougal to be complex, ruthless, sexy, and brooding. So, my inner cougar is all-in on Sam, but my 50-ish self is firmly with Dougal.  Hubs input: No comment

But I think the real standout so far is British actor, Tobias Menzies, playing the dual role of Frank and Black Jack Randall. I have loved this actor since I saw him in HBO's Rome playing Brutus a few years back.

This 40 year old actor may not be as perfectly gorgeous as Sam, but has a classic attractiveness of his own. This guy smolders. And he can act! He really shone in Ep 8. You honestly believe it is two actors playing the parts. Like most Brits, he did his time on stage, (so did Sam) which is why I believe so many Brit actors are ruling the TV/movie waves at the moment. They have the acting chops and mix that with their good looks, they run rings around their North American counterparts. Hubs input: He agrees with me. Thanks, babe!

As for Outlander itself, it took a while to grow on me, but looking back at the first few slow episodes, they were needed to set up the world and the characters that inhabit it. I find time travel fascinating, even wrote a couple myself.

The show/story is not perfect, (but close) it does manage to blend all manner of genres together, injecting humor now and then to alleviate the seriousness of everything. Regardless of what the author wants us to believe, (Diane Gabaldon balked at having Outlander initially marketed as a romance, asking that it be classified as fiction after the first run) this is a romance. At least, so far. As I said, I haven't read the books.

Kudos to 'The Wedding" episode. I have never seen such sensual sexuality displayed on the small screen before. It was hot, but not soft-core porn like a few are saying. It was emotional, real, and passionate. The tension was delicious, very much like a historical romance novel. How refreshing!  Hubs input: Hot, but tastefully done.

And Jamie? Virgin hero melt! Makes me want to run right out and find one *just kidding*

It seems the romance between Jamie and Claire may be the backbone of this saga, Fantastic, I am all for romance being given the spotlight. And with Frank tossed in the mix? Bonus. With fantasy, history and action/adventure thrown in, what could be better? With a spellbinding story and perfectly cast actors, Great job by everyone connected with the show. Also, the Scotland locations are beautiful, and the music a perfect accompaniment. I look forward to the next eight episodes next April.(Let's face it, that's a long bluidy wait).

So, am I hooked on Outlander? Hell yeah!

"Jamie, you have some very fine pecs..."  

"Aye, I admit, I'm put together verra well..."


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  2. I am hooked too and so is my husband, he is a highlander and reminds me of Jamie when my husband was younger, LOL. Some of the behaviours and body language is so typical to Scots that it's funny. sometimes my husband says something and I laughed because it sounded just like Jamie, I read the books, and let me tell you ( no spoilers) it is a fantastic series , you will love it. Have fun and keep watching ��


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