Top Ten: Things I Liked About Outlander

I was honestly not all that excited about the new Starz Outlander series. It was really neat that one of my favorite book series was being turned into a series finally. And the trailer looked good, but no one and nothing matched my mental images (and having read the first few books of the series more than a handful of times each, I have some strong mental images). So I really couldn’t get excited about it. Plus, I don’t have Starz or the money to subscribe to a premium channel, so even if I loved it, I would have to wait to watch it. Luck, however, was on my side and I was able to watch the first episode this weekend. And… so…


The very nature of this list means… SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! Consider yourself warned!

Top Ten Things I Liked About the First Episode of Outlander

  1. That I Got to Watch It- Verizon gave me a free Starz weekend, trying to hook me (and everyone else) on this show and the whole channel. So I got to watch it on tv when it premiered! It was a super busy weekend for me, so it was nice to stop and do nothing for an hour and ten minutes, curl up on the couch with my red plaid blanket, and watch Claire and Jamie for the first time!
  2. The Theme Song- The whole opening sequence (a thing which is lacking in a lot of shows nowadays) was beautiful. And when “The Skye Boat Song” started to play, I was thrilled. But then I realized the words had been changed to fit Claire a bit. Even though there’s a terrible grammatical error that will probably get on my nerves the more I hear it, I’ll let them get away with it for the sake of rhyming. Having familiar music really put me in the mood. I thought it was beautiful and creative.
  3. Color contrast- I love the colorless post-WWII era. Claire’s blue jacket is the thing that has the most color, and she stands out against the dull beige B&B room and gray buildings of Iverness. The colors are boring, bland, muted and have an old, flat feel to them. But when she goes back in time, everything is bright and lush and dirty and green and hard to miss.
  4. Not Rushing Through Frank’s Scenes- There is plenty of Frank. Of course, there would have to be some Frank scenes (though I was terrified that they’d skip over him and start the series with her trip back, showing Frank only in flashbacks). But, thankfully, we get proper Frank time, and we come to realize the delicate state of their relationship. We also see that he’s kind and smart; we come to like him enough that we feel for her when she is ripped away from him (even though we’re excited about getting to the good parts ahead).
  5. The Fortune-telling- I absolutely loved the reading of the tea leaves and the palm reading! The actresses played it perfectly, with a mix of curiosity and observation and confusion. There was just enough brought to the surface and so much hinted at. I grinned through that whole scene both times I watched it. It was also wonderful that Mrs. Graham and Reverend Wakefield both got to make appearances in this first episode, even though they mostly brought exposition with them (and no wee bairn Roger yet).
  6. The Druid Ceremony- The ceremony was beautiful beyond my expectations. It wasn’t at all what I pictured in my head, and I liked this version better! The whirling and dancing, the coordinated movements and gowns and lanterns… it was just gorgeous.
  7. Hurt!Jamie- Oh, Jamie. Hurt!Jamie was a formative part of my teen years and those scenes were the most important to me. Claire was wonderfully knowledgeable, bossing the MacKenzie men around, and Jamie was a perfect mix of tough!Scott and vulnerable youngster.
  8. Jamie Covering Claire with His Plaid- I love hurt!Jamie trying to cover Claire with his plaid so she would stay warm and dry on the ride. Lovely detail to keep in and great foreshadowing.
  9. Highlanders Fighting- It wasn’t until the fight scene started (and I was all “Jamie, you ninny, your arm!) that I realized how much I had missed a good scene with Scottish Highlanders fighting in Scotland. One of the reasons I have slowed my readings of the series was the location change. But this is the time period I love best, with Scottish Jacobites and clan battles, claymores and dirks, skill and honor. Give me a good Highland warrior any day!
  10. Claire Isn’t a Wimp- Claire kicks some serious butt. She saves soldiers in the war. She analyzes her situation. She takes every opportunity she has to escape. She bosses the MacKenzie men around, even though she’s only just met them. And she scolds Jamie numerous times. I am so glad they kept her strong-willed and smart.

NONE of the characters even remotely matched my mental images, not even Jamie. Claire was older in the episode than she seemed to be in the trailer scenes, so I was happy about that. But she still wasn’t my Claire. None of them were my characters. But they didn’t consult me when they did the casting. And the actors did a MARVELOUS job, all of them. They will never be my versions of the characters, but I have nothing to complain about in their portrayal of the characters. It was wonderful watching these scenes come to life–all the details and the drama. I look forward to crashing my parents’ house once a week for the next few months to watch the rest of the first season.

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