Outlander, the much anticipated new series on the Starz network, is a breathtaking love story based on the ultra-popular book series by Diana Gabaldon. Of course romantic souls have embraced the novels, but who would have ever thought that the crazy fans who attend Comic-Con would also find it appealing. But indeed they have, as was demonstrated at a special mini-preview of Outlander for an enthusiastic audience in San Diego last week.
Maybe it’s the time-traveling fantasy part of the storytelling that is thrilling for the fan-boys and girls, or maybe they fancy being swept away to the Scottish highlands of long ago. Or it could be the gorgeous cast perfect in their roles: Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser, plus Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish and Lotte Verbeek, all who charmed the crowd at their Comic-Con panel. The series’ executive producer Ronald D. Moore and author Diana Gabaldon were also on hand.
Outlander’s official premiere on Starz is Saturday, August 9, at 9 pm, but we don’t have to wait until then to decree that it is sensational. At the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Starz gave the TV journalists screeners of the first episode. My heart is still pounding with joy. Yes, it’s that good!
Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse in England in 1945. During a trip to the Highlands with her scholarly husband, she is mysteriously swept back in time to Scotland in 1743, where she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous young warrior, whose passion endears him to her. Yet Claire’s heart is torn between her two very different loves. It is an epic adventure full of romance, history, science fiction, and much more.
Outlander fans have been teased with promos that announce “The Kilt Drops 08.09.14 on STARZ.” But I got to see the handsome star Sam Heughan in his fine kilt just in from filming in Glasgow during the last winter press tour for TCA. The strapping young lad was joined by producer Ronald Moore and they did interviews about the production.
Heughan told everyone he’s very comfortable in his “liberating” kilt, and he often wears it even when he isn’t shooting in the Scottish highlands.
Regarding being part of the phenomenal Outlander dream team, Sam said, “It feels like we’re at the start of a real rewarding journey. I mean, Diana has wonderful books. There’s a whole wealth of background and information and stories and adventures there, and it really feels like ‑‑ we were just talking about this earlier, that after filming the first several episodes, we feel we’re right on the edge of this roller coaster, and it’s just been a thrill to be part of it.”
He says he loves how the strong relationship developes “with Jamie trying to teach Claire to live in this world and his moral values.”
Caitriona Balfe says she’s excited about everything surrounding the launch of the show, and the only change in her life, so far, is that she’s “happier.” “First of all,” she reports, “the fans have been incredibly supportive and really welcoming. I don’t think I was aware of the magnitude of the fans and how enthusiastic they were, but yeah, it’s like a dream role. It’s a dream job. So it’s been only good so far, and I think it will continue to be. I think there’s nothing that really changes you. It’s just you are finally getting to do the thing that you’ve always wanted to do and love to do, so just happier maybe.”
Outlander producer Ronald D. Moore now has several kilts in his wardrobe, created by his wife Terry, the show’s costume designer. He’s happy to immerse himself in the culture of the stories, and Ron is proud to be at the helm of the series that captures the spirit of the books for “the dedicated base of fans.” Tune in. #