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TV/Film

Outlander Season 1 Review

Review Outlander season 1

As the 3rd Season of Outlander is coming out 10th September 2017 I thought now would be a good time to review the 1st season as I have just finished the 1st and 2nd season in a month. Discovering your favourite book series is being turned into a tv show always comes with mixed feelings. On one hand, I adored the books by Diana Gabaldon, I am currently reading the 6th book in the series (A Breath of Snow and Ashes), the incredible high adrenaline tale of fierce highlanders whose culture was all but destroyed at Culloden Moor and the events immediately after. The books have a riveting mix of romance, war and historical accuracy producing very real characters from both time periods. However, I wasn’t sure how the intricate details and character relations would play out on screen.

I had very little to worry about, the show opens with a beautiful rendition of The Skye Boat Song accompanied by views of the highlands and the new age druids dancing around the fictional stone circle of Craigh na Dun which set the scene perfectly. The story Follows Claire Randall (Catriona Balfe) as she is having her second honeymoon with her Husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) after they have both returned from world war II, Claire an army nurse and Frank an officer. Claire is then thrown from 1946 to 1743 after walking through the standing stones at Craigh na Dun, She then narrowly escapes being attacked by Captain “Black Jack” Randall (also played by Menzies) and joins an unruly bunch of highland Jacobites who assume she is an English spy and take her to Castle Leoch where she meets the Clan MacKenzie and young rebel James Fraser (Sam Heughan). The Show is mostly faithful to the book; however, I do disagree with the portrayal of Colum MacKenzie (Gary Lewis) who is shown as a lot crueller than the books and the elongation of the rape scene was slightly unnecessary (pretty much an entire episode). Apart from this, the characters were exactly how I imagined the casting was perfect and the show even kept some of my favourite tiny funny moments from the book (Jesus H Roosevelt Christ). The female characters are all strong yet compassionate and the male characters can be weak but still manly.

Balfe is amazing as no nonsense army nurse Claire Randall and the show doesn’t forget that she has that experience of a modern war which is why she is at home with the strange group of Jacobites that she finds herself with. Sam Heughan is perfect as Jamie Fraser with a broad Scottish accent both charming and kind but definitely not someone who can be messed with. Tobias Menzies has the difficult job of playing 2 very different characters the sweet, mild-mannered Frank Randall and the cruel, sadistic “Black Jack” Randall. He portrays both characters fantastically and there is never any doubt who is on the screen. The supporting cast is also brilliant with particular comment on Laura Donnelly who plays Jamie’s tough but kind sister Jenny Murray brilliantly as she has taken charge of the estate of “Lallybroch” and Lotte Verbeek as the witch Geillis Duncan who is a strong woman who has made a life for herself as a local witch.

Overall the TV show is brilliant and I Love the casting and the fact it is so faithful to the book and the writing is fantastic even to the point where I appreciate some divergence from the book plot.

 

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