'Outlander' is bringing out all my romantic feels
In the last few months, a television show has taken over my life and I’m pretty certain that I’m not the only one who feels that way. You’d be hard-pressed to find another show that’s risen to such success as quickly as Starz’s Outlander, which recently returned Saturday nights for the 2nd half of it’s freshman season. Outlander makes appointment viewing, a term which is near dead in television, somehow, relevant again. If watercooler chats were still a thing, this would be the show that everyone was talking about.
It’s not that surprising that I’ve become such a fan of the show. It has basically everything I could want in a TV show: a time travel hook, a great love story, and a strong female character at its center. It doesn’t matter that the bulk of the plot takes place in 1740’s Scotland. For some reason, you just buy it….and a lot of that is due to the wonderful author of the book series on which the show is based, Diana Gabaldon.
Over the course of its freshman season, Outlander has developed a somewhat Harlequin novel-like reputation, but it’s so much more than that. Whenever I tell someone how much I love the show, people tend to respond with, “Wow. I didn’t know you were into that kind of….stuff.” I always defend the show, ranting that the heart of the show is not smut, but instead, chivalry. Graham McTavish who is perfect as Dougal, the 1740’s Scottish War Chief, seems to agree, telling the New York Times, “It’s unashamedly romantic, and that’s very rare nowadays on TV. A lot of shows are cynical, lacking in hope and nihilistic, and we go against that trend.”
That’s in part due to the amazing Ronald D. Moore helming the ship as its showrunner. Not only is he a veteran of shows like Battlestar Galactica, Helix and Roswell, he’s also quite the romantic. Working with his wife, Terry Dresbach, Outlander‘s costume designer, Moore takes inspiration from his relationship with Dresbach. One of the most heartfelt scenes in the show was influenced by a moment from their real life marriage. In his Times interview, Ron said, “I told her [Terry] when she leaned forward, it was as if the sun came out, and when she leaned back, the sun went away.” Recognize the line? That’s because a version of it lies in Jamie Fraser’s reaction to seeing Claire in her wedding dress.
If you’ve been watching the show, you know that this past Saturday night may have hit a record in the romance department. As a fan of the book (I read it after I got hooked on the show), I knew generally what was going to happen. However, adaptation is a funny thing. There is a difference between reading something and seeing it in front of you. Spoiler Alert: Jamie Fraser found out that Claire was from the future and here are the kickers: he believes her (crazy!) and his first instinct is to let her go, even though it destroys him. The look on his face when Claire tells him she’s staying brought real, human tears to my eyes.
In a time riddled with dark, depressing, and edgy television (which I love too), it’s nice to be reminded that romance and idealism still brings out your inner-feels. There is no show like Outlander on the air, which is what makes it so good. If you haven’t binge-watched it yet, you need to! Be prepared though. You may come out the other side with an urge to just pick up and move to Scotland.