Outlandishly Mad For ‘Outlander’

Everyone here knows two things about me:

1. I am cheap, cheap, cheap.

2. I am slow, slow, slow.

OutlanderAdd these together and it seems pretty unlikely that I would have been watching the new TV series Outlander on the Starz network, since that is a paid network on cable TV and the show is NEW. I don’t have cable TV. I certainly don’t have Starz. I do, however, have friends with Starz!!

Yes, I have been watching Outlander. Way back in the olden days (that’s 1991, kids), I was a member of the Doubleday Book Of the Month club. The way it worked, they picked a book as their “book of the month” and if you didn’t tell them you didn’t want it, it showed up in the mail. Usually, it was such a pain in the tail to return it, you ended up keeping it. And reading it. And, sometimes, loving it. That’s what happened to me in 1991. I forgot to return my card one month and in the mail came Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. I was reading romance again at this point, which was why I joined the BOTM club in the first place. But I didn’t read time travel romance. Never had, never wanted to. I read the flap on Outlander…and put it aside. For months.

outlander-original-cover-jacket-by-diana-gabaldonThen one day, I ran out of things to read. It must have been a slow weekend day when my son was outside playing and I was finished doing housework. I picked up Outlander and began to read. And read. And read. I devoured it. I also waited impatiently for the publication of Gabaldon’s next installment, Dragonfly In Amber, which came out in 1992. Even though it was a rather dark book, what joy! Then I got married. And had a baby. And waited VERY impatiently until Voyager came out in 1994, while I was pregnant with yet another baby. Then, dearest friends, I waited until 1997 for Drums Of Autumn. And so on and so forth.

Sam-HeughanAll this time, I collected friends who were also huge fans of the Outlander series. We would try, from time to time, to imagine who they would cast as Jamie and Claire. Claire was fairly easy. But Jamie? Forget about it. Where would they find a 6-foot 4-inch red-headed Scottish actor to play Jamie? Um…in Scotland, apparently. Because Starz found the perfect Jamie. Okay, he’s not quite tall enough, in my opinion, but as my youngest says, “He’s beautiful!” Yes, with an exclamation point. Matter of fact, she wanted me to blog about Outlander and I told her I thought I might have done that before. She came up with a tagline: Jamie is so beautiful, you have to post about him twice. True. So there you have it, from the mouths of babes. Oh, yeah, and that chick who plays Claire is great, too.

Diana Gabaldon as Iona MacTavishHonestly, they are doing a fabulous job with the story so far. Not everything from the book is there and a few rather salient things (like meeting Roger as a child) are missing. Some things are sort of mashed together and some rewritten a bit. But all in all, it’s really a wonderful production. And here is a still of Diana Gabaldon in a cameo in Episode 4. I love that she is working so closely with the production crew!

outlander_keyart_1200_article_story_largeI’ll admit, I am currently re-reading Outlander. And I will, no doubt, re-read all the books in the series. Diana Gabaldon is a masterful writer. She created a world full of people I cared about and wanted to visit with time and again. That hasn’t changed. What has is that I now have a great picture of what Craigh Na Dun and Cranesmuir and Castle Leoch look like. And Black Jack Randall, too. (grrrr) I will keep popping over to my friend’s house to watch Outlander, even though I am dead cheap and generally slow. I won’t be slow on this one, y’all. I will be watching it unfold week by impatient week!

Have you indulged in Outlander in book or TV show form? If you’ve done both, which do you prefer? If you haven’t ever been exposed, what has stopped you? I recommend everyone give the show a try, at least, when it’s available to you. And what is better than men in kilts?!?

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  • Jane says:

    Hello Caren,
    I’m watching the show, but haven’t read the books. I know there are some readers who won’t watch the show because the author kept insisting that Outlander is not romance even though it won a RITA award.

    • Jane, I think the rooster would look very handsome in a kilt. And he does too!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, I honestly think you should keep the GR away from kilts and any other draping material. Just FYI.

      As for the “is it a romance?” debate, I think the whole argument is nonsensical. Gabaldon considers her work “historical fiction.” Good for her, if it makes her feel better or her books more weighty or whatever. I feel the first one was definitely romance. And although all are romantic, it really becomes more of an historical family saga, especially once they reach the Colonies.

      Whatever they are (or are not), I think anyone who enjoys historicals, and especially those enjoying the show, should give them a read. The show is, so far, astonishingly true to the books. Except, IMO, they made Frank a bit too sympathetic. He’s a decent guy, but not a really good guy in the books.

  • Deanna says:

    I read the Outlander books way back when and haven’t reread them since. I’ve really enjoyed them and have been considering doing a reread but those books are huge and right now I have book length commitment issues. As to the TV show, I am waiting till the season is over then watching them without having to wait it out each week. I’ve even convinced The Boy to watch it with me, so that will be fun. Now I just need to decide if I want to approach the TV show with having reread the book or reading a summary on Wikipedia or just go in cold.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Deanna, I think you’ll be fine if you go in cold. And I had to grin about your book-length commitment issues. Sometimes there simply isn’t enough time for a tome! 😀

      I would love to wait until the end of the season and gorge on them back to back. Y’all know how much I love a binge watch! But since I have the chance to watch with my good friends, I am taking it! Okay, I’ll admit that it’s me and several historical author friends who are watching it. It makes it so much more fun! One hasn’t read any of the books, one has read them all, and the hostess only read the first couple, I think. A nice mix!

      I hope your son enjoys them. Please be warned, there is definitely some sex and also nudity and violence. There will be more. If he’s a teen or older, that will be fine. If not, you may want to screen them first!

  • Deanna says:

    Oh and I have a friend who is such a fan that she has watched the first few episodes at least 4 or 5 times each!

  • Amy Conley says:

    OMG! I read OUTLANDER, DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, and VOYAGER all at once. I was so hooked. I’ve been waiting for the day it FINALLY came to a screen, didn’t really care if it was a big screen or TV, I just wanted to “see” it. Also hearing all the Galiac pronounced the right way makes it even more special.
    In my humble opinion they picked the absolute PERFECT Jamie. Sam was born to play this part, without a doubt. The chick playing Claire I must admit is taking me

  • Amy Conley says:

    Don’t know what happened there,but as I was saying, I’m still not sure about Catironia (or whatever her name is) playing Claire. For one thing, she does NOT have
    the hair, small thing, yes, but it bugs me. She also doesn’t have a full bum, which Jamie loves so well. I also can’t see her aging with the character.
    So am I glued to my TV every Saturday night? Damn straight I am, and several times during the week since I DVR it…you see so many things you missed the first time.
    The thing about not seeing Roger as a child was one of the main things I wasn’t happy about…he does become a major player. I’vve been following along with the book aas much as possible, and yes, there are several small things missing, but not showing Roger, was to me a large thing. I pray nightly STARZ brings ALL the books to life in one way or another. I’ve always told people who didn’t want to read all the books I thought you could do OUTLANDER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, (brain dead moment here), the next to last book and be pretty well caught up on everything, but now we have IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD and after the way the last book ended, this will be a must have also.

    OK enough. I think you can figure I am a HUGE fan and if I am really lucky once they come to the US for filming, I will make it to the area where I think Jamie and Claire settle, aroound Asheville, NC. Not that I wouldn’t mind going to Scotland during some of the filming, maybe be an extra? I’d be in heaven. 🙂

    • Caren Crane says:

      Amy, I went back and found Jo’s post from June last night and saw that you were waiting VERRA impatiently for the series. I’m so glad it’s great!

      You know the thing really bugging me about Claire in the series? Her blue eyes. They are supposed to be a golden brown. In most of the stills, though, her eyes look bluer than Jamie’s, which is just wrong. She is also a bit too tall and thin, but it was just after WWII, so I can give her the thin part. 🙂

      I can’t wait for Jamie’s hair to grow out. In the book they had to shave his head a couple of months before she met him, so his shorter hair is appropriate, but I want the long queue! And for him to grow a couple of inches. But that’s just me being picky.

      I think they can easily introduce Roger later on. It was only a couple of sentences in the beginning of the first book, after all. It may seem a bit as if they are just heaving him in there for the story’s sake, but it is done now. *insert eye roll here*

      • Amy Conley says:

        Now I need to go back and watch for Claire’s eye color. Gosh darn have to re-read more episodes, LMAO.

        I am SO waiting for Jamie’s hair to get longer! And did you know Sam’s hair is not naturally red? It’s dyed, but they did a great job. And in one interview I saw he didn’tcomplain about getting his hair dyed, but Catirionia let it be known she had to have her hair permed…twice. That might be a bit of my problem with her playing Claire.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Also, if you’re planning a stalking trip to the NC mountains, let me know. My youngest is in college at UNC-Asheville. I would love to meet up with you!

  • flchen1 says:

    LOL, Caren!! Love your love affair with Outlander! I have not yet read the books nor watched the show, and to be honest, I’m not likely to do either. I’ve heard great things about it, but I’m not ready for such a big-time commitment to the series… Too many other books to read 😉

    • Caren Crane says:

      Fedora, I would wait if I were you. Let STARZ put out a couple of seasons, then dive in with a big old binge-watch one day. If they keep doing such a great job bringing the books to the screen, you won’t miss much. I have a feeling they may have to let a few things go as time passes, but so far it’s really exceptional. Once you start, you will be hooked.

      If you do read the books, wait until the kids are in middle school or early high school and you are spending lots of your life waiting in the car for them. You will have a happy filler for all that time waiting in the mom taxi! 😀

  • Caren, Outlander is a huge craze here too. They’ve got it on TV within days of the US episodes, I think, and they’re repeating it more often than I’ve had hot dinners. And as you can imagine, that’s a few times!

    I actually owned the book for years and kept picking it up and putting it back. I really don’t like books set during the Jacobite Rebellion. It finally went to the charity shop in the big clean-out a couple of months ago when I sent 25 cartons of books away.

    • Caren Crane says:

      I am making a prediction: Anna will end up binge-watching Outlander at some point. This may or may not be induced by a friend hooked on the show. Who may or may not be me. I would totally come to AUS and sit in your house for days binge-watching with you! And we could discuss the merits of men in kilts in depth while eating scones and slurping cream teas. I’m just offering. Because that’s the sort of generous spirit I have. LOL

  • SecretNinja says:

    Hi Caren, I have to be quite honest, I’ve never read any of the books and I don’t know if I have time to go back and read them. My TBR pile is huge enough as it is.

    However, my curiosity did get the better of me. I don’t usually like books turned into movies or vice versa but people just kept talking about it and when I saw it go up on a free streaming site I visit (not only am I cheap but I don’t get Starz here!), I figured, what the heck and see what the fuss is about.

    And……….I’m hooked lol

    Maybe it’s because I haven’t read the books so I don’t know what to anticipate next or because Jamie is just so gosh darned delicious each and every time he’s on the screen and he’s got wicked mad chemistry with Claire but I am so in it. I still probably don’t think I’ll pick up the books but dang I do believe all the hype now! 🙂


    • Caren Crane says:

      Ada, you may need to join us when I go to AUS and force Anna to binge-watch all the episodes. We’ll make sure to have several seasons lined up at that point, to make it worth our whiles. 🙂

      I honestly think this is a series where you can do without reading the books. Having been hooked from 1991 on, I will continue to read them. If I were starting now, though, I’m not sure if I would make a 5,000-page commitment! I might find myself, like Deanna, having novel-length commitment issues. 😀

      • Deanna says:

        Book length commitment issues are very real. I ponder over them very seriously. Right now I have a book (last book in a series) by a favorite author that has just come out. I’m having a hard time diving in just because it is 500+ pages long. I need a vacation and some dedicated reading time to give it the attention it deserves.

      • SecretNinja says:

        I’m down for that! 🙂 I’ve got family there I can crash with haha

        I’m glad that it’s still enjoyable without having read the books. I know I remember seeing the book covers before, I just never really heard much about them until the show came out. And personally, I like not knowing what’s to come between them. It’s a new and exciting story I get to watch unfold and it doesn’t bother me because I don’t know how close or far away it’s strayed from the books!

  • Helen says:


    I have not read the books and I have heard so much about them I decided to watch the TV show and I have seen the first 2 episodes and really enjoyed them I still have the third one to watch and the fourth is on tomorrow night here 🙂

    I was out all weekend so I didn’t get the time to watch it and we record it so I watch it when I have time but I am loving it

    Have FUn

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, I’m so glad they have been blasting the Aussie airwaves with nonstop Jamie and Claire! LOL I had a feeling you might get pulled in if you gave it a try. As noted above, not sure you absolutely need the books for this one. Still, they are a treat if you ever have, say, a few months where you are on total bed rest with nothing else to do. Ha!

      So glad you’re enjoying the journey. That Jamie is easy on the eyeballs. He’ll be much cuter once that hair grows out, though. 😀

  • MJ Fredrick says:

    I am loving the series. I think Jamie is PERFECT and I like Clair better than in the books (she was a bit of a know-it-all). I haven’t read the books in YEARS, but I started listening to Outlander on audio the past few weeks and the show holds pretty close to the book.

    • Caren Crane says:

      MJ, I’ve been surprised how much of her internal thoughts and passages of dialogue have been lifted straight from the novel. Where they wander from the straight storyline, it’s often to maximize impact of a scene (like her encountering the drunken men and Dougal in the corridor before she goes to the barn and finds Jamie during the Gathering).

      Re-reading Outlander while the episodes air has been enjoyable. It’s not going off the rails like the Game Of Thrones series. Those people have rewritten the history of Westeros! At least the MacKenzies are on historical course so far.

      Am I the only one who thinks they made Frank far more sympathetic in the first show than he was in the book? He wasn’t nearly as sweet to her as the show made out…

  • MJ Fredrick says:

    In an interview I saw with DG, she said she doesn’t consider them romance because most romances end with the wedding, and this one continues for years afterwards. But yes, definitely romantic!

    • Caren Crane says:

      I think it’s better classified as an old-fashioned family saga. Rather like the old Jalna series back in the early 1900s! Following the various branches of the family, the kids as they grow up, etc. Throw in some time travel for plot twists and variety and it’s Outlander!

  • Caren –

    I’m a HUGE fan of the book, Outlander. Of the tv series – not so much. It really seems slow to me. I remember the book being slow for the first 50 pages, but after she traveled back in time – I couldn’t put the book down.

    The tv show started slow as well, but it hasn’t grabbed me with a can’t wait till next week feeling. (Yet I’m planted in front of the tv every Saturday night 🙂 ) Love the scenes of Scotland though. I bet the show does a great bit for tourism there. I know I want to go back.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Donna, I think it feels slow because they are spending a lot of time on the set-up. The beginning of the book is cram-packed with historical information, as well as bits of backstory about the characters. They are giving us lots of things we learn later in the books early on. Not sure why, but I don’t mind!

      They could make it last for decades at this rate. Maybe Claire will get to age naturally, after all! LOL

  • Pissenlit says:

    Outlander has been showing on Showcase over here but I’ve been holding off on watching it because I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. It’s sort of on my TBR list but the problem with my TBR list is that it’s more of a massive amorphous blob of Books-I’ve-Come-Across-That-Sound-Interesting-and-Should-Read-At-Some-Point(or the BICATSISRASP blob for short) so there’s no real order to when I read the books on my TBR list.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Pissenlit, I know that amorphous blob! Very familiar with it, matter of fact. I just threw a couple more books on there today! And there is never any sort of rhyme or reason to when I get around to things. Usually just luck of the draw plus a pinch of preference. 🙂

      I think it’s great to wait until there is a big pile of episodes/seasons to wade through. You really don’t need to read the books first, though if you do that will allow LOTS of time for piling up. LOL I think this is a show that is quite binge-worthy. I’ll be looking for newbies to watch it with for years to come!

      I hope you enjoy both as you get to them. You know how DEAD SLOW I am? I just started watching the new(ish) reboot of Dr. Who LAST WEEKEND. Just finished Christopher Eccleston’s season. I am years behind!

  • Hey Caren!

    Who would honestly complain about getting to see Jamie in a kilt again? Or talk about him? Seriously??

    While I did read OUTLANDER years ago, I didn’t read any of the others. (I think I started my Ludlum period and was working my way through his entire backlist at the time.) BUT, I have happily watched every episode of the STARZ series…and can’t wait for the next one. And can I just say that while he’s a bit on the bad guy side, (and it’s been decades since I read the book, so he may or may not be), Jamie’s uncle is rather dashing in his trim beard and kilt, too!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Suz, I have a smallish quibble about Dougal as portrayed in the series. While I do love a bald man (hello, Patrick Stewart!), Dougal was supposed to have long hair and be almost as tall as Jamie. Jamie resembled the MacKenzies (his mother’s people) and Dougal had the classic MacKenzie look, so really Dougal should have a headful of long, reddish-blond hair. Ah, well. A small quibble with a dashing Scot! And I think his bad boy behavior only adds to his appeal. I’m just saying…

  • teresa says:

    I am the exact same! I am SLOW on watching new things. I just don’t have the patience to wait until the next week to find out what happens. I will wait until the series is done to binge watch all at once. The only shows I watch “live” during season is Once Upon a Time, the show the whole family agrees on, and Outlander (praise be for awesome friends!). I haven’t read the Outlander series, but the show is amazing!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Teresa, I’m so glad I’m not the only SLOW watcher around! You know when I watched the reboot for Battlestar Galactica? About 1-1/2 years ago. It had been off the air for YEARS already. LOL

      I’ll admit that I binge-watched the first 2 seasons of Once Upon a Time and I still wait until a whole season is available to watch them. I love binge-watching! Sometimes I wait too late, though. I put off watching The Wire and then it disappeared from Netflix. Poof! I’ll have to get my husband to download all of those for me. Eventually I’ll be in the mood for a police procedural in the ‘hood again. 😀

      So glad you also have amazing friends who enjoy paying for STARZ! I feel a bit like a free-loader, but decided if I make nice food to take over or bring a decent bottle of wine, it might make up for it. Maybe.

  • Minna says:

    I haven’t read Outlander (so many books, so little time) and the TV series isn’t on TV here in Finland. Not yet, anyway. My current favourite TV series, which is also based on book series is Murdoch Mysteries. I just love it! And since it had been going for quite some time before one of our TV channels started showing it here, we get 5 episodes a week. =)

    • Caren Crane says:

      Minna, I’m so glad you get the Murdoch Mysteries now! That’s a really great series and there are SO MANY SEASONS! The goodness just keeps going and going.

      I hope you guys get access to Outlander before too long. You will love it! Meanwhile, enjoy the mysteries. 😀

  • Hellion says:

    I resemble this post. *LOL*

    I don’t have cable–so OUTLANDER is a little out of my loop, but one of my friends does…and I’ll be going to her house to watch it. I caught up on all but one (the first!) episodes on Monday. Can’t wait to watch the rest. It follows mostly what I remember of the book.

    I’m weird. I only read the first book once; and haven’t read any others yet. Mostly because they’re so dark and sweeping, I usually prefer comedy in my historical fiction. Everything else is awesome…but it’s not Harry Potter series is for me, where I read, reread, debate, and carry on. I want to watch it. Hello, a SCOTTISH SET drama set in 1745? HELL YES. Sign me up. Not enough dramas out there that meet that criteria.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Oh, Hellion, get thee to your friend’s house every Saturday! Also, the first one should be available for viewing (free). Check out projectfreetv.com and you’ll find it for sure!

      And yes, there’s not much to dislike about this particular series set during the Jacobite Rebellion. At least, it is at first. Then there’s the whole going to the Colonies thing later…we’ll get there eventually!

  • catslady says:

    I didn’t realize this was going to be such a long series. I have all but her latest book in my tbr pile and I thought I was going to read them all at once and I can’t possibly watch the movie until I start reading – it’s a conundrum lol.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Catslady, if they actually make the series as long as the books, we’ll be lucky to see them in the next decade or so! Mind you, I’ll still be watching. But if you plan to read the books first, they may have more than a few seasons in the queue before you finish! Perhaps you can read the first book, then watch until they catch up with you? It may take a few seasons!

  • Becke says:


    I listened to all of Outlander. I was not only hooked on the series, I was hooked on audio. I couldn’t believe it. However, the trip from Columbia to ATL is over 3 hours and I often drove it alone.

    I haven’t gone for the series because I’m usually disappointed. Lonesome Dove, and the Thornbirds were two disappointing books to movie. All were well done. I just don’t do well because I have an idea how the characters look in the book and the casting doesn’t match. I remember Mom said there was a huge controversy when Vivian Leigh was cast as Scarlet O’Hara.

    I loved both, but I’m partial to my own imagination and books.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Becke, they must have done a wonderful audio adaptation. I have never much gone in for audio books, but I imagine they had a wonderful narrator for that one!

      I agree it is very rare to find a good book-to-video adaptation. I think the Harry Potter books, though, are an example of how it can be done well. Although they didn’t get everything spot-on in the movies, I think they did such a great job because J.K.Rowling was so involved in the production as consultant. I hope Diana Gabaldon will continue on as a tightly tied-in consultant, because it has made for a wonderful production so far. I think if you give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. Let us know if you dip your toes in!

  • Caren, I totally agree re: the hotness of the guy playing Jamie! I don’t have Starz and so haven’t seen it. I’ve never read the books, either. Back when the first one was new and all the rage, I picked up a copy and opened it…right at the spot where Jamie was having what we might call an unfortunate experience. I closed the book, put it down, and mentally crossed off the series. Back then, I spent my days dealing with the grim realities of other people’s lives, so I didn’t want grimness in my escapist reading.

    Clearly this episode was not so off-putting for bazillions of other readers! I’m glad you’re enjoying the show so much.

    Rumor has it there’s to be another “new” BSG reboot. Imho, it’s too soon, but what do I know?

    • Caren Crane says:

      I know the scene of which you speak, Nancy, and it was a grim one, indeed. Still, poor Jamie suffers SO MUCH in the series (and he isn’t alone, by any means) that it didn’t turn me off. It also was a HUGE catalyst for Jamie and Claire becoming even closer. Closer than ever. And it was such a catalyst for SO MANY OTHER THINGS that it was amazing!

      I am often taken aback when I realize what Gabaldon has managed, as a writer and storyteller, to do with this series. She did not step back or shy away from any of the grim realities of the time in which Claire found herself. She used the history and all its grimness to enhance the story she is telling (STILL TELLING!). Sorry for all the caps.

      I’m re-reading Outlander and am on page 220. There has been a wedding and a wedding night and now Jamie is teaching Claire to tickle trout. It is really just a wonderful tale. I hope you’ll try it one day. Or at least the series when it’s widely available!

  • Posh, I read Outlander and thoroughly enjoyed it but it felt to me like the story was finished there and although I bought the next couple of books, I never actually read them, sorry to say. Maybe that will change.

    The TV series is brilliant. I love how well they’ve cast Claire. She is beautiful and sexy in an intelligent, strong way. And of course, Jamie is just gorgeous in all respects.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Oh, Christina, the second book has so many sad things. Such sadness! But also great character and story development. They go to France and Jamie has to wear morocco heels! It’s sort of luscious courtly stuff at times.

      I love the actress playing Claire. She has really grown on me. And I think darling Sam is a wonderful Jamie. According to IMDB, Sam is 6′ 3″ and Jamie was supposed to be about 6′ 4″, so close enough. I KNEW Caitriona was too tall. Her resume says she is 5′ 9-3/4″!! Claire was supposed to be a tallish 5- 6″. This one towers over most everyone else on the show. Gah! She’s also 35, which makes me feel like I looked like Haggis McBaggis at 35. She is so beautiful… And Sam Heughan is 34! At least they’ll be able to age them a bit for future seasons. *sigh*