Outlander is a bit Outlandish

Outlander is a bit Outlandish

A couple years ago, a friend of mine who knows my affinity for British TV shows set in the past, suggested I might enjoy the show Outlander, the historical drama based on a series of novels by American author Diana Gabaldon.

When my friend suggested it, I did a quick look-see at IMDb.com to see what Outlander was about.

From the plot summary, user reviews, and the photos posted on IMDb, Outlander sounded a bit like ChickTV.

For those of you not familiar with the term (since I made it up), ChickTV is the television version of the Chick Flick.

Besides, some of the promotional pictures included at IMDb.com made Outlander look like the TV version of a Harlequin Romance. And let’s just say that Dianny is definitely not the target audience for either ChickTV or Harlequin Romances. So I decided to give Outlander a pass.

But over the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of time to play couch potato. Between my Lupus acting unruly and the side effects from this new injection medication, I haven’t had a lot of get-up-and-go. And when get-up-and-go gets up and leaves, one is often left with only lie-down-and-watch-TV.

So I decided to take my friend’s advice and watch Outlander.

I confess that the plot summary on IMDb did intrigue me.

The story begins in the 1940s. Claire, our heroine, is a former World War 2 combat nurse with the British Army. After the war, she and her husband travel to Inverness, Scotland on a vacation. While there, Claire touches the center stone in this druidic circle and is instantly yanked out of the present and thrown back 200 years into the past.

Thus begins Claire’s life in 1740s Scotland, just a couple of years before the rebellion of Bonny Prince Charlie, the son of the pretender to the British crown, James Stuart.

So, yeah, as an avid reader of British history, it’s no surprise that I was a bit enticed by the plot.

But once you get through the seasons that deal with the Scottish rebellion, Outlander starts to become a bit outlandish.

And the Harlequin Romance/ChickTV element is definitely prominent.

When Jamie Fraser, Claire’s future love interest, first appears along with a group of kilt-wearing highlanders, only the stupidest person on the planet wouldn’t be able to figure out that this guy was Claire’s future love interest.

I mean, look at that picture I included at the top. The actor playing Jamie is straight out Harlequin Romance cover central casting – the square jaw, the big muscles, the flowing locks of auburn hair. I mean, come on guys, not especially subtle.

And since it is ChickTV, you have to endure a lot of sex scenes. I mean a lot – a LOT, a lot.

Thankfully, an AppleTV remote makes fast-forwarding over the sex scenes easy as pie.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude. But I’m also not interested in watching endless sex scenes on TV. I’m not a 14-year-old boy, for crying out loud.

The sex scenes were a bit much. But it was the endless rape scenes that really pushed me into the red zone.

Outlander is a rape-happy series. It’s like Rape-a-palooza. Everybody gets raped. Claire gets raped. Other women get raped. The square-jawed, muscle-bound Jamie gets raped. Hell, even a little French boy gets raped by the same villain who earlier raped Jamie.

Rape, rape, rape. I have never seen so many rapes in a single series. It got to the point where I deployed the fast-forward whenever I even suspected that a rape was about to happen.


Let’s put it this way, Outlander is an uneven series.

At some points, I was very engaged in what was going on, but eventually, the writers and directors would manage to ruin it for me by making the story completely outlandish and unbelievable.

Every imaginable crisis befalls our heroine, from getting abducted by the British to being put on trial as a witch. And these crises follow her around like a bad stink. They go to France and Claire is attacked in the street while another girl is raped. She miscarries her baby when she has to rush off to stop Jamie from killing her present-day husband’s ancestor before he can sire the baby who will ensure her husband’s existence. Then Claire has to have sex with the King of France to free her beloved Jamie from the Bastille for trying to duel with Claire’s husband’s ancestor (who, by the way, is the same guy who raped Jamie in the previous season).

Confused yet.

There’s more!

They decide to go to the Caribbean to rescue Jamie’s nephew from pirates and their ship is wrecked. Then when they leave the Caribbean, they get caught in a hurricane and end up on the coast of Georgia. Then when they decide to travel to see Jamie’s aunt who lives in North Carolina, they get robbed by the same captain who made their lives hell when they traveled from Scotland to the Caribbean in the first place.

I mean, good gracious, can nothing go right for these guys? By the fourth season, I was convinced that Claire is the female Job, forever being tested by God with one torment after the other.

If Outlander is true to the novels, I think it’s safe to say that I’m never reading them.

But the series isn’t entirely garbage.

Season One alone is worth watching. It is engaging and interesting, and I loved the Scottish Highlands.

I also enjoyed the plot that follows once Jamie sends a pregnant Claire back through the stone to save her from the final battle of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion. I liked the scenes where she returns to her old life as well as the circumstances that led to Claire deciding in 1968 to go back to the 18th century to find Jamie, whom she initially believed was killed during the final battle of the failed rebellion.

But even that portion of the story got ruined when Claire’s now-grown daughter Brianna decides to go through the stone to look for her mother to warn her about something she read in an old newspaper. Then her daughter’s boyfriend, dismayed that Brianna went through the stone, decides to go through the stone to look for her.

All that stone-traveling kind of sapped the druidic circle of its mystical qualities. I mean, if just anybody can transport themselves back to the 18th century like they’re running to the store for a gallon of milk, it stops being particularly interesting.

I don’t know. As mindless entertainment goes, Outlander is okay-ish.

If you’re a big fan of ChickTV, you’ll probably enjoy it, except for maybe the endless rape scenes. Those are hard to endure let alone enjoy.

But if you watch historical dramas for both the history and adventure, you’ll probably be a bit disappointed.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Outlander a 6. If the first season hadn’t been as good as it is, my rating would be a 4.

I doubt I’ll bother watching the next season when it comes out. Then again, if Lupus happens to be sapping me of my get-up-and-go when Season 7 is released, I might change my mind.

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7 thoughts on “Outlander is a bit Outlandish

  • December 16, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Methinks Couch potato is not as easy as it used to be,
    if I was ever stuck in that predicament I would prefer to watch reruns of almost anything up to and including Dr.Who.
    The last series I was watched was White Queen mainly because Warwick was a slime bag I could learn a few things from

  • December 16, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    Not “entirely garbage” and “okay-ish” don’t come across as a glowing review. It seems that the majority of series revolve around two themes, murder and sex. When these are used sparingly, they can provide a good basis to attach plots and sub-plots. When served in never ending, in-your-face amounts (and particularly if the sex is rape) they become tiresome and drag down what otherwise might be a good show. Got started on The Terminal List and The Peripheral (on Prime) and they are both very engaging, well done, and keep the watcher engaged and guessing, due to plots within plots and plenty of intrigue. Hope the new medication side effects wane with time and the new med helps to ameliorate what is a seriously crappy disease.

    • December 16, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      I just watched “The Missing” on Starz. Two seasons. First season was good. Second was outstanding.

      And thanks. The side effects from last week’s injection abated just in time for tonight’s injection. They’re supposed to ease once my body adjusts to the medication. I eagerly look forward to when that day comes.

  • December 16, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Have not seen it. But read the first 3 books about 30 years ago. Like first very mush. Lost interest by #3.

    last time I was called a “Chick” some one went on a liquid diet for a few weeks! I liked the books. I like girls; do not like boys!

    having said that. Most book reviews said they were written for women. Reviewers said they were “Romance Novels”. I would have said, “Alternative History”. I frequently am in the minority; s is the case here. Again, I do not sit to piss!

  • December 16, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Have you tried THE QUEENS GAMBIT? It’s on Netflix – highly recommended. It’s not long – only 8 episodes but highly entertaining.

  • December 17, 2022 at 8:11 am

    I have the Starz family of channels almost exclusively for the western channel. I haven’t watched much network TV in almost 25 years. And the programming gets worse every year. The last series I really enjoyed was The Sopranos on HBO. I guess I’m just one of those who is not thrilled with what this country has become. Hollywood is intellectually bankrupt and keeps rehashing old shows to fit todays woke agenda.

  • December 18, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    I’m a big fan of historical romance/fiction. I read the books before the series began, and now have watched most of the series and read all the current books to date. When I read the first book years ago, I was so shocked and horrified at the rape scene with Jamie, that I refused to read further. Then the series began and I tentatively watched. The first season was so well done and knowing what was to come with that scene, I was able to watch it and see why it was so critical to the whole development of his character and Claire’s. We don’t like to consider the realities of that time, but sadly rape of male prisoners and women was very common. The rapist turns out to be the ancestor of Claire’s first husband, Frank, from the 1940’s. When she must return to her time, she can no longer feel the same about her husband, who she had loved deeply, because he looks and sounds exactly like his cruel and evil ancestor. She never tells Frank about his ancestor and he can’t understand why she remains somewhat aloof towards him. The books are much more detailed and more fully develop the characters. Much more is clear about the time travel parts and why the rape scenes were integral to the storyline. I have come to also appreciate and enjoy the tv series as well. The beautiful settings, the costuming, wonderful acting and historical places are stunning. I believe the France scenes were actually filmed at Versailles and then historical parts of Hungary. You really feel as if you have been transported to to Paris, the highlands, the Caribbean, and the early American colonies. The sex scenes are tastefully done. They allow you to see the tenderness and joy of Jaime and Claire’s wedding night and their growing love for one another. But if you don’t like historical fiction or romance, you should take a definite pass and instead watch the BBC history documentaries that detachedly discuss their history. I would recommend the TV series Bosch if you like edgy crime drama. It’s very well done with lots of plot twists, believable, and not the least bit predictable. The books are also very well written. I hope you feel better soon and can get back to doing what you love!

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