Romance, history and time travel, oh my! Novelist Diana Gabaldon‘s mix of these exciting elements has made her Outlander series enormously popular among readers. It’s no surprise, then, that Starz is bringing Gabaldon’s characters to life in its new Outlander television series this summer.
Whether you’ve been reading the books since the series began over 20 years ago or the television version will be your first encounter with Claire and Jamie, you may be interested in tuning into the show this summer for a good dose of romance, suspense and adventure.
Time Travel and Romance
The story begins in the 1940s, as English nurse Claire Randall and her husband Frank are on a trip together. Much to her confusion, Claire is suddenly swept back in time to the Scotland of 200 years earlier. In the 1700s, Claire not only faces serious threats to her life, but is also forced to marry a dashing young warrior named Jamie. Although getting married was not her choice, Claire soon falls passionately in love with her new husband and finds herself torn between love and life in two very different worlds.
The moral dilemma of two husbands in two time periods isn’t Claire’s only trouble. Life in 18th century Scotland brings her a whole host of problems. For starters, she is faced with the struggle of adapting to the cultural norms of her new home. More than that, however, there are enemies whose actions present both Jamie and Claire with serious threats to their freedom and safety.
This is a storyline that encompasses a wide variety of genres. It’s certainly a romance, but it’s also a historical drama that’s generally pretty accurate. Beyond that, the time travel elements add a bit of sci-fi to the tale. This mix of genres has endeared the series to a tremendous fan base, making it a fairly safe bet that Starz’s new show will have a built-in following right from the start.
The Outlander books contain plenty of adult themes, such as intense violence and explicit sexual scenes. Since the television adaptation is airing on a premium cable network, don’t expect the adult nature of the show to be toned down much. In fact, it might seem even more graphic than in the books, since you’ll actually be seeing it portrayed, not just reading about it. This will be a show for mature audiences, and probably won’t be suitable for children. In fact, some adult viewers may find that, although the storyline is compelling, the graphic content is too prolific for their tastes.
Additionally, Claire’s simultaneous marriages to two men are a major part of the plot. In the books, Claire is absolved by a priest from guilt over this dual marriage, on the grounds that they take place in two different time periods. However, if the thought of this somewhat bigamous relationship leaves you uncomfortable, this might not be the show for you.
Gabaldon’s Outlander series is an extensive collection of books that includes eight major novels and a number of smaller works. Season One of Starz’s upcoming program will cover the content in Outlander, the first novel in the series. Producers are generally planning to continue the one-book-per-season format as the series progresses.
The show stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser. Tobias Menzies plays Claire’s other husband, Frank Randall, plus Frank’s ancestor, antagonist Jonathan Randall. Ronald Moore is the executive producer responsible for bringing the books to life.
Season One is scheduled to consist of 16 episodes. It will debut on Starz in the summer of 2014, but the specific premiere date has not yet been announced.
Are you a fan of Gabaldon’s books? Do you plan to tune into Outlander on Starz this summer? If so, share below which part of the novel you’re most anticipating seeing in its screen adaptation.