|image source: here. edited by me.|
Hello! This is the first post of a new feature that I will start on this blog, which is a TV series adaptation review. And to start off this new feature, I'm reviewing a TV series that I didn't plan on watching in the first place: Outlander. I watched it because my Mom loves historical dramas which sets in places like England/Scotland and such. Even though this genre of TV series is not a genre I prefer, I'm still very much intrigued because it received so much love and quite a lot of hype. There are 8 episodes in the first part of season 1, and I will be talking about the overall plot in general as well as my personal opinion about it. Sadly I won't be able to compare it with the original novels because I haven't (and won't) read them. And I will try my best not to spoil too much for those of you who're interested in watching the TV series :)
The story starts in 1945, when Claire Beauchamp Randall serves as a nurse for World War II. After the war is over, she's finally reunited with her husband, Frank Randall. After being separated for five years, the two decided to visit Scotland together while Frank went on researching his ancestor, Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall. However, the day after they witnessed a Druid ritual, Claire returned to the standing stones at Craigh na Dun to observe a plant. But when she touched the stone, she traveled back in time and is now in the middle of a fight between the Redcoats (British Army) and Highlander rebels in 1743.
"The circle at Craigh na Dun marks a place on the Earth where the powers of nature come together - for certain people on certain days, it allows them to pierce the veil of time."
Claire was attacked by her husband's ancestor, "Black Jack" Randall, but she's rescued by a Scotsman. A highlander named Jamie Fraser dislocated his arms, and Claire was able to fix it with her nursing skills—which gained her a little bit of respect from the group. But the Highlanders suspect that she's a spy for the British Army (because she's British). So Claire had to find a way to survive in the land of Scotland, and figure out a way to return to the stones at Craigh na Dun.
"The Scots just want the same freedoms we enjoy, freedoms we take for granted. They are not the aggressors, Captain, we are. It is their land and we are occupying it."The earlier episodes in the series gave a foundation for the whole story; it tells about Claire's happy marriage with Frank, how she got teleported back in time, and what she had to face in the world of 1743. The overall conflict is basically just Claire trying to survive in the dangerous situation and had to find a way to get back to the year 1945. And of course, romance is thrown into this conflict—it's probably obvious that she will be involved with Jamie Fraser from the poster, so I hope I'm not spoiling anything. With that, Claire feels bad for falling in love with someone else when she already have Frank as her husband. Even worse, she doesn't know if she'll be able to return to the future.
"Even amongst the vast and beautiful landscape I felt trapped as if I were back in the stone walls of Castle Leoch. Would I have to reconcile myself to live the rest of my life amongst strangers two hundred years in the past?"Most of the time, Claire's medical skill is what saves her. And with that, there's a lot of bloody and gory scenes in this TV series (even some intestines, which is really gross to watch). So for those of you who can't stand these kinds of images, please be aware. Not to mention, since this is a historical romance story, there are also some explicit sexual scenes that involves nudity. If you're not at the appropriate age, I suggest not to watch this series. I watched Outlander with my Mom, so it was pretty awkward watching those scenes......
As someone who doesn't read a lot of historical romance, I wasn't really interested in the story, to be completely honest. In my opinion, the story just keeps going round and round in the same place—mostly focusing on the political tension between the British army and the Scots. And sometimes I feel like there's not much development in the story. There are some parts of the show where the characters uses native Scottish language—and the subtitle I have (Indonesian, because my Mom can't read English subtitles) doesn't translate it for us. At times, there will be characters who help translate the situation for Claire, but I still think I didn't understand things to the fullest. The Scottish accent also made it quite difficult for me to comprehend what they're saying.
"I was back to the place where'd it all begun. So much had happened, so much had changed. Last I was here I was Claire Randall, then Claire Beauchamp and Claire Fraser. The question was, who did I want to be?"
Even though I don't really care much about the plot, I do really like the characterization of Claire and Jamie. Claire is an extremely brave woman who's not afraid to stood up for what she b telieves. And so is Jamie, who's a also good man and quite funny too. Unfortunately, although I'm aware of the fact that Jamie has a lot of fangirls, he didn't really seem attractive to me in any way. But again, I have to remind you that I'm not a historical romance fan. So if you're used to reading historical romance, you might find this TV series to your liking (because my Mom seems to really enjoyed it).
Overall, if I watched this alone, I probably wouldn't continue watching this series to the next season. It's pretty decent, but it's just not my favorite kind of story I guess. I already looked through all the wikipedia pages to find out about some things I'm curious about and spoiled myself until the eighth book (published so far)—and things will get a lot more complicated.... Anyways, I hope I won't be getting a lot of hate for not liking Outlander that much. But when the new season is out, perhaps I'll continue watching it to accompany my Mom. Hopefully things will get a lot more exciting in the upcoming season—which is coming soon in April 2015 :))
"I had no idea where this journey would lead me, what opportunity might present itself. I could only hope it would bring me closer to the standing stones of Craigh na Dun. If so, I was determined to reach them, knowing this time I must not fail."