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I’m done with the “Outlander” television series


Many years ago I read “Outlander,” a fantasy/romance novel by Diana Gabaldon about a World War 2 British nurse, Claire Randall, who encounters a group of megalithic standing stones on a hill in Scotland and is transported back in time to the 1700s, there to live a dashing life among Clan MacKenzie during those war-torn days. Apparently it’s the first of a series. I never read the rest of the books, but I remember the first book as being a well-written and engaging page-turner, even though it is (in my humble opinion) “chick lit.”

Now the Starz cable channel is running a television series based on the books. I recognized the name and the premise, so I watched a few episodes.

I tried to like it. But I don’t remember the book being nearly as boring as the television show.

Perhaps I will have to go back and re-read the book, and investigate the later books to see if it’s a problem with the story, or with my decades-later viewpoint of the story, or  with the television adaptation. But if ever a television adaptation sucked the life out of a decent story, this series does it. I won’t even go into the tedium of it, but it seems to me that this is what happens when you have a large budget for a costume drama (50 million pounds for season 1), a specified number of hours of programming to create, and a pedantic, plodding approach to storytelling.

Sadly, “Outlander” has been renewed for a second season, presumably with an even larger budget.

It’s nice to see Scottish history discussed and a decent costume drama made out of it, even if it’s seen through the lens of a romance novel. But sadly, “Outlander” is too much of a plodding soap opera for this poor alien to absorb.

I’m done with “Outlander.”



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