Starz ‘Outlander’ ends ‘Droughtlander,’ & ‘Sláinte’ cheers from ‘Manlanders’

 “Droughtlander” is over. That’s the term devoted fans call the long wait for new episodes of the romantic fantasy-drama Outlander. The series returns for Season 5 on Sunday, February 16 on the Starz network.

 And on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14th, Starz has made the ultimate romantic gesture with the early release of the Outlander season premiere, available exclusively to STARZ subscribers only on the STARZ app and STARZ On Demand. That’s sharing the love.

(left to right) Sam Heughan as “Jamie Fraser” (with baby Jemmy), Caitriona Balfe as “Claire,” Sophie Skelton/“Brianna,” and Richard Rankin/“Roger MacKenzie” are part of THE WEDDING OF THE 18TH CENTURY for Season 5 of OUTLANDER. (all photos courtesy Starz)

 The momentum of Outlander builds with every season, and no doubt it will continue with the strength of its storytelling, inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling book series.

scenes from Season 5

 Why does the timeless romance captivate? Sam Heughan explained it’s because the lovers at the center of the story, Claire and Jamie “will always need and yearn for each other.” 

 The saga is not just for women who indulge in bodice-ripping novels. The show is popular across all generations and genders. The cast was at the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour to talk about the new season, and Caitriona Balfe (who plays the time-traveling Claire, caught between two loves) contends that “it’s not more of a woman’s tale than it is a man’s.”

 Yes, demographics prove there are many guys who are absolutely invested in Outlander. What’s the appeal? Balfe explained, “We have a lot of action. We have a lot of political intrigue. I don’t know that any woman is any less interested in that than any man. I think most men are looking for love too, so I think that these are universal themes that we deal with and things that touch everybody. What I think we do beautifully in our show is— we give you this great fantasy and these epic storylines, but we ground it in very real and honest moments. I think that’s what people connect to, I hope.”

 As Jamie, the manly Scotsman with the tilt in his kilt, Heughan said, “It’s good storytelling, and I think that appeals to anyone, whether you’re male or female.” 

 Maril Davis, the Executive Producer, revealed, “We have a lot of ‘Manlanders’ or ‘Outmanders,’ as they call themselves.”

 At the start of the new season, Jamie is told that he’s “gotten everything you’ve ever wanted.” Heughan said, “In a way he kind of has, I think this season especially. Jamie’s got the woman he loves and his family, the home he’s built. But we all know Outlander history. On the surface everything looks rosy.” But we know time is marching on and things will play out and they’ll be back fighting for family and struggling to protect those they love.

 Since its first season, the TCA interview panel for Outlander has ended with a traditional Scottish toast, with the cast, creative team, and room full of TCA journalists raising their glasses to cheer “Sláinte” (health in Gaelic). The toast/blessing must be working its magic because the beloved show’s storytelling is healthier than ever. And there’s much more to come since Starz has renewed Outlander for a sixth season.

 Tune in the epic time-traveling love story Outlander, Season 5 starts Sunday, February 16 on the Starz network.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.