‘During its course, the series charts its course through myriad genres; ranging from history, romance, mystery, adventure and sci-fi; and never fails to impress,’ writes Malvika Mishra.
I doubt that when Diana Gabaldon was writing software reviews and technical articles back in 1984, she would have ever thought that she would write an eight-book series. Further still, that a tv-series based on her books will achieve such cult status and would make her a much-loved author by the people.
The television series “Outlander” is an exciting journey, with a freshness and depth which leaves the viewers asking for more. The show developed by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Sony Pictures Television premiered on August 2014. Since then, both viewers and critics have loved it alike.
Right from the opening theme song, the visuals of the series are dreamlike and mysterious. The beautiful voice of Raya Yarbough fits perfectly to the lyrics of “Sing me a song of the lass that is gone”, based on the famous Scottish folk song, “The Skye Boat”. The intriguing adventure begins. The first episode “Sassenach” establishes that the story is serious and demands the viewer’s attention and commitment. That you’ll have to put aside your phones and pay attention to the drama unfolding before your eyes. Missing a beat would mean missing on a picture-perfect landscape, a brilliantly nuanced expression, or a witty line.
The series guides us into the world of Clare Randall. The World War II has just ended and Claire, who served as a nurse during the war has been relieved of her duty. She rejoins her husband Frank Randall, and together, they take a trip to the Scottish city of Inverness. A series of events lead up to Claire getting transported to the eighteenth century Scottish Highlands through the stones of Craigh Na Dun. The stakes are high and so is the adventure quotient.
During its course, the series charts its course through myriad genres; ranging from history, romance, mystery, adventure and sci-fi; and never fails to impress. As a reader and a writer, I am fascinated by the depth of research and the ease with which Gabaldon made her characters real and believable. The delicious under-layer of relevant historical details makes the experience wholesome, even for people who do not prefer or like the genre Historical Fiction in isolation. The Jacobite Revolution, the Bonnie Prince Charlie and his hopelessly doomed expedition against the English, the Scottish Highlander way of life, the intriguing and dangerous garden mazes of Versailles and the equally dangerous streets of Paris; all keep the adventure going.
In the twenty first century, it is hard to imagine romancing a kilt wearing, sword welding highlander from Scotland. However, Jamie Fraser’s character is such that you can’t help but fall head over heels for him, The character played by the very dashing Sam Heughen helps the construct. Our leading lady Claire Randall is every bit modern but with a sharp tongue and an even sharper mind, but what sets her apart is her absolute, unshaken belief in herself. It is refreshing to see a woman who doesn’t budge or bow down or make way to appease anyone, not even the love of her life. Caitriona Balfe who portrays Claire Beuchamp Randall not just embodies the spirit of the character but also brings out her heroism.
Tobias Menzies appears in the dual role of Frank and Jonathan Randall, the present-day husband of Claire and his evil great uncle in the past. Jonathan Randall provides the necessary momentum that every villain brings to the story. Menzies portrays this tricky character with ease. He is sharp, wily, manipulative and utterly ruthless. As a viewer, one would believe there is no hope of redemption for this character, but Gabaldon’s writing surprises us at each step.
The breathtaking visuals take the viewers through the Doune Castle in the Sterling district of Central Scotland to Rothiemurchus Forest of the Scottish Highlands. Season two is a visual feast when the story moves to Paris where the colors are richer with the opulence of the Parisian apartments captured tastefully.
The highly anticipated season four is about to premier in the first week of November. It is based on the fourth book in the series titled ‘Drums of Autumn.’ All the action will now move to the new world. It will be exciting to see how the colonies treat Jamie and Claire and whether they are able to build a home and life together in the hills of North Carolina, after all this time.
Malvika Mishra is a writer based out of Bengaluru, and is currently working on her first novel.