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Outlander: Season One - Volume One
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British combat nurse Claire Randall is reunited with her husband after returning from the battlefields of World War II. While on their second honeymoon, she walks through one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles and is suddenly transported to 1743 Scotland, torn by war and rogue Highland clans. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigue and danger when she is accused of being a spy. Forced by circumstance to marry an outlawed Highlander, she finds herself falling in love and torn by her loyalties to two men in vastly different times, all of which may threaten her life and shatter her heart. Diana Gabaldon's best-selling book series is stunningly realized by Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore in Season One's first eight episodes.
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OUTLANDER: SEASON 1, VOLUME 1 episodes include: Sassenach, Castle Leoch, The Way Out, The Gathering, Rent, The Garrison Commander, The Wedding, and Both Sides Now.
DVD & EST Bonus Features:
· DISC 1: All-new featurette, "Outlander: An Epic Adaptation"
· DISC 2: All-new featurette, "Authentic in Design: The Dresses & Kilts of Outlander"
Blu-ray Bonus Features:
· 11 Deleted Scenes
· Three all-new featurettes:
o "Outlander: An Epic Adaptation"
o "Authentic in Design: The Dresses & Kilts of Outlander"
o "Casting Outlander"
· 10 Deleted Scenes
· Three all-new featurettes:
o On Location: Castle Leoch and the Magic of Scotland
o Emerging a Scot: Cast Goes to Bootcamp
o Walk Through the Sets and Stages with Ronald D. Moore
Broadcast Year: 2014 (Starz). OUTLANDER: SEASON 1, VOLUME 1 is not rated."
First off, ignore the part of the description that says "epic travel through time." This is not a time-travel or science fiction story. It's about Claire Randall, a combat nurse in the 1940s who goes to Scotland after the second world war to reconnect with her husband (Frank)/have a second honeymoon. Not realizing the place they're travelling to is a place for some pagan/druid activity, Claire accidentally time-travels through some standing stones after watching a druid ritual and ends up in 1700s Scotland. From there it turns into an adventure/historical fiction story when Claire runs into and is kidnapped of sorts by some Scottish Highlanders who don't know what to make of an Englishwoman running around in that area. She's taken back to their clan's Scottish castle and not knowing how to escape and go back to her own time or what to do next, has to cope with living in an era where there's a lot of Scottish clan politics (and clashing with the English soldiers who occupy the Scottish territories). At the same time she has to be very careful to hide the secret of who she really is and where she really came from, not easy to do because Claire is very much an independent, stubborn, forthright person and harder still when she is "hired" to be the healer of the Mackenzie clan (the clan of the castle/property she's taken to). It doesn't help that she attracts the attention of an English garrison commander - a brutal, sociopathic, sadistic English captain who is none other than her husband's ancestor. And it really doesn't help that she might be developing smooshy feelings for one of the very, very handsome soldiers at Castle Leoch. (Why can't I fall through standing stones and meet some gorgeous guys in kilts? Surely Houston must have some standing stones somewhere?)
From showrunner/executive producer Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), the show is beautifully executed and very faithfully adapted. Much of it so far is right out of the book. Of course this doesn't mean it's exactly to the letter how it'll be in the book because television doesn't work that way but it's very closely done (author Diana Gabaldon is a close consultant on the show and has a fun cameo in episode 4 "The Gathering.") Here's my opinion on the show for what it's worth: I actually like it better than the book. I'm really enjoying the book but watching the show, I can tell the show makes some slight tweaks here and there (scenes added, certain lines in the book given to other characters, etc.) that make the storytelling smoother and an easier transition to tv. It's like if the book is a pretty wooden carving, the show is the same carving, but sanded and oiled. There are so many parts in the books where it just wouldn't work to have the show film them as is. The show also softens some of the characters (including Jamie and Claire), so while it stays true to the essence of their characters, they're also made easier to like and relate to.
The actors, costumes, sets, music, etc., everything is breathtakingly realistic and very well produced; unlike so many American period shows, the characters look and act like real people. The costumes (done by Moore's wife costume designer Terry Dresbach) actually look like period clothes and not like they were picked up from the 1700s Scotland Gap like they would in any other show. It's a very expensive production so their attention to detail is amazing and really pulls you into the new world Claire is thrown into (with some occasional flashbacks to the 1940s lives of Claire and Frank). One warning: the Highlanders' accents are sometimes hard to understand and the Gaelic (native Scottish language of that time period) is not subtitled, but if you pay close attention, it doesn't need to be and you can understand the context of what they're saying.
I've seen a lot of comparisons to Game of Thrones. This is nothing like Game of Thrones which is high-concept fantasy. I haven't read the rest of the books yet but from what I've heard, Outlander's books (and the show) are really more historical fiction and not fantasy. Some people complain it's slow at times but it's never boring or unengaging. The first few episodes have to have some quieter moments to set up all the characters, storylines and conflicts. The only negative thing I have to say - not really negative so much as a warning - is it is extremely gritty and graphic. This is made for the Starz network, the same network that had The White Queen, Spartacus and Black Sails. If graphic sex scenes and very graphic blood and gore and draconian punishments are not for you, neither is this show. It's not family friendly, absolutely not for kids or the squeamish and there are some rather disturbing scenes in just the first few episodes, so be mindful who you watch it with. Much as I love the show, there are scenes of it I simply won't watch again - I'll either skip them or mute and leave the room.
Diana Gabaldon has told the story many times of the failures in making this into a project for the screen before and she agrees - and so do the books' fans - they really couldn't have seen a better job done with this than Ron Moore has done. I highly recommend this (with the above caveats in mind) if you liked the books or like this kind of show in general.