Outlander is a show that’s not really meant for me. Based on a series of Romance novels by author Diana Galbaldon, the Starz Network show premieres its third season this Sunday night and Hurricane Irma permitting, I’ll be sitting down to watch it along with some millions of cat ladies.
OK well I guess I’m ashamed a little. As I said, this is not a show meant for a guy; it’s based on a romance series summarized by IMDB as:
…the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world in which her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
And it does have all of the usual romantic tropes. Claire travels through time (through some ancient magical means) from a post-World War II belated honeymoon to 1743 Scotland, where she is forced into a marriage with a young good looking Scottish bandit who, wait for it, isn’t really a bandit after all, but a Scottish lord (Laird) on the run from the English. So he’s both a bad boy bandit, and somewhat rich landowner. All he’s missing is the eye patch and pirate ship. Naturally he loves her from first sight, and many other men are interested in her. What’s a girl to do with so many suitors?
So with a show that tries to cram nearly all of the romance novel tropes into one couple, why am I interested in it?
Scottish Stuff. The show really digs deep into Scottish culture and the show actually gives you a taste of the life of both the Scottish landed class and the peasantry. I found myself fascinated with the customs and culture of that time and place.
Duh, Time Travel. The show does have time travel, and I admit I’m sucker for a good time travel story, and in this case, there actually is a time travel angle beyond it being used as a device to get our heroine from 1945 to 1743. It turns out the sneering English villain of 1743 is actually the ancestor of Claire’s 1945 husband. Kill him (and this guy needs killing) and will it wipe out the existence of her future husband? And if it did, wouldn’t that solve a lot of problems since she is far more in love with her 18th Century lover than her boring 20th Century one?
A Show we can watch together. This is a show my wife and I watch together and there are not a lot of those, since she tends to think of the type of shows I watch as garbage, and I worry that the type of shows she likes (true crime shows in which a woman kills her husband or lover) as a how to guide. So the less time she spends learning how to beat CSI analysis of a crime scene and more time ogling over true love, the better.