Outlander (an amateur review)

Back to a most random post. I’m on my third round of watching Still Game seasons 7 and 8, and my 900th round of watching seasons 1 through 6. I love that show more than I can express. If you haven’t watched it then what the hell are you waiting for? Get to it! That said, I decided maybe it’s time to try a new tv show to mix things up a bit. I noticed Outlander seasons 1 through 3 were available for free with my UK Amazon Prime membership, so I gave that a go.

I hadn’t seen much about the show other than quite a few people posting about it on the Scotland the Great Facebook page. I also clearly never read the books. On the STG Facebook page so many people post pictures from their tours of different Outlander filming locations and mention that this show is why they fell in love with Scotland. That’s an odd concept for me but I think it’s cool and I’m glad people who wouldn’t have given much thought to Scotland before the show are coming to see how incredible this country is. My impression from glimpses of adverts and FB posts was that the show was some sort of epic, like Game of Thrones, but not quite as fantastical. I love GOT and love Scotland so when I saw the episodes were available for free on Amazon I figured why the heck not.

First, Outlander was not at all what I anticipated, comically so. I didn’t realize there was a time travel element and was really confused two minutes into the first episode. What did surprise me is how well they executed the first few episodes. Once I realized time travel was involved with this show I was a bit disappointed only because it wasn’t what I was expecting, but they pulled it all off really well I thought. All that said, I found it all interesting at first but as the series went on I found myself bored and constantly skipping scenes. It didn’t take long for me to realize this show definitely wasn’t my thing.

There are a lot of cheese ball scenes and eventually I started realizing that this show is probably targeted more towards women than men. PLEASE don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this show is just for women, I’m just saying I think it’s targeted more towards a female audience in the same way 50 Shades of Gray (another one I haven’t seen) was. Even my husband commented, when he glanced over at my laptop, that the scenes looked like they were pulled from a cheesy romance novel. It seemed like there was an attempted rape on Claire, the main character, in every episode when she was back in the past, and plenty of nookie scenes that lasted way longer than necessary.  I get it, many shows have gratuitous sex scenes now. It drives me up the wall. Why? Because I feel like it’s a lazy way to fill time in an episode, time the writers don’t have to come up with anything interesting for the episode. That’s me, I can get bored easily.

I have to say that I personally thought the acting in this show was excellent. The cast put on incredible performances and that was so refreshing to see. I felt the most interesting character in the show was Jonathan Randall, the villain. I am a huge fan of well-played villains, Heath Ledger’s Joker being my all-time favourite. Jonathan Randall, played by Tobias Menzies, wasn’t quite like any villain I have ever seen. I have been a fan of the horror genre since I was a child and I can honestly say that Jon Randall was one of the darkest characters I have ever seen. He was pure evil and even when you see a slight softness in Jon as his brother becomes ill, that softness dissipates pretty quickly. Even Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) had a soft spot, he helped care for his crazy ass family. Yes, I’m saying Leatherface is cuddlier than Randall, however handsome Randall may be. There were some scenes, especially one in particular (if you’ve seen it you know exactly what I’m referring to), that were very difficult to watch because of how well Tobias portrayed the character. It is this character that kept me somewhat intrigued with the show and then I pretty much checked out once he was no longer part of the show.

After the Jon Randall character was out of the show I pretty much just went to the beginning of each episode to watch the recap and I finished season three in about ten minutes. Granted, I was starting to do that before season three, but for seasons 1 and 2 I would at least skip through the episodes to scenes that I thought looked interesting and would watch those. I am realizing I am kind of dogging the show and that’s not my intention. If I consider the audience I think the show is targeting then I think the show was well done. As for me, I was bored during most of it.

I really appreciate the way the show was filmed. I love that they filmed at so many places all around Scotland, several of which I immediately recognized as places I have already gone to and places that I walk through on a regular basis. As mentioned earlier, the acting was really well done. It’s rare that I’m blown away by performances but I was while watching this show. Anyways, for whatever it’s worth, that’s what I think about it all. I’d be curious to know what this show means to others who saw it and felt an attachment to it, who fell in love with it. Like music, there are songs that I absolutely detest but other people love and I know it’s because we are hearing it differently, it makes those people feel something different, something the song doesn’t evoke in me. I find it all quite intriguing and these are the human responses that keep life unique and interesting.

Alright, until next time! 😊

(Side note: The featured picture for this blog is from Glasgow University, another spot where Outlander was filmed)

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