After years of being a fan of the 'Outlander' books, and after a full year of high anticipation of the show premiering, the first episode has come and gone. Simulcast across multiple platforms, for free, courtesy of Starz, one week ahead of time (to draw in new viewers and subscribers, I'm sure, but it was still nice of them), I can finally breathe a sigh of relief having seen the show.
But, how do I feel? What did I like? What didn't I like? How does the casting fair? Was the production value, costuming, and acting really as good as Twitter and Facebook hyped it to be?
The short answer is: yes.
But here's the long one!
It is a beautiful, thoughtful adaptation. As with most TV show pilots, it was slow paced and not particularly action packed. I'm not bothered by it, and no one else should be either, because it's important to establish setting, story, and characters before you launch into the exciting madness.
What did I like?
The cinematography was gorgeous. It is thrilling to have the show set in Scotland! Every shot is pure art. And the actors are all completely wonderful. Many of them are nothing like I pictured in my mind but that sort of thing I don't feel is worth even a passing thought. There is literally no way that they could resemble my imagination. What's important, though, is that the casting department obviously put in heavy consideration - they are near perfect emodiments of Diana Gabaldon's writing. Basically I liked practically everything.
What didn't I like?
If I had to pick something, it would be the opening credits and some of the music. I feel that the images in the opening credits are lovely, and I think the song is pretty, but their combination as the opener to 'Outlander' displeases me. I don't feel that it captures, or prepares the viewer for, the immense excitement, adventure, and visceral feel of the story. To me, the opening feels far too flowery and ethereal, like some sort of early '90s high fantasy made-for-TV movie. It's really my only complaint, and I don't plan on bringing it up ever again.
As for the music... I know that a lot of people were very excited for Bear McCreary's compositions, but I'm left feeling wishy washy. There are one or two thrilling moments in the premiere episode that required upbeat/fast paced music, and I feel that he rose to the occasion wonderfully! The bagpipes kicked in and it was awesome. But some other parts were slow, quiet, and soft, and something about his choices just rubbed me the wrong way. It's similar to how I feel about the opening credits: it didn't "fit" in my mind. Of course, I don't know what I would have done differently, and this simply my opinion. It's also not going to ruin the show for me.
As far as I can tell, they pulled out every stop possible! The sets, the costumes, the makeup, the blood! The beginning of the episode shows us Claire in bloody action during WWII, frantically working on a man with a torn up leg. It was gruesome, and horrifying, and amazingly done. In addition to being necessary for the audience to get a feel for what Claire is capable of, it was a fantastic preview of what's to come (because 'Outlander' is chock full of gory, medical goodness).
While we didn't get prolonged or well-lit views of the attire of 1743, the kilt-y bits that we saw in the darkened forest were incredibly detailed. Based on the stills that Starz has released, and the praise from the actors, I am in high anticipation of fabulous period-accurate clothing in upcoming episodes.
It is a GREAT time to be an 'Outlander' fan! With the recent release of the 8th book in the series (Written in My Own Heart's Blood), the premiere of the show, and the graciousness and interactvity of the stars and producers of the show (not to mention the author!) on Twitter, we have a lot to be pleased about and thankful for.
The premiere left me happy, satisfied, anxious for more, and highly approving of everything that was added that wasn't in the book. Ronald D. Moore was clearly the perfect choice for a TV series, and I thank him from the bottom of my fandom heart.
Now go watch the premiere! What are you waiting for?!
*header photo source