Review: Amazon Prime’s Outlander is epic but amazingly unrealistic

Amazon Prime Instant Video will be releasing the first eight episodes of its brand new series Outlander this Thursday, and, last night, we got a sneak preview of the first episode, complete with whisky cocktails, haggis and men in kilts. Not a bad Monday night out!

Admittedly, I’d never heard of Outlander, and wasn’t aware it was a book, written by Diana Gabaldon, until last night, when I met Outlander’s biggest fans, who were definitely more than aware it was a book. It was as if they’d been waiting for this moment their entire lives – some did even wait out in the cold for hours in order to be allowed in to this exclusive event!

In all fairness, this meant that I went into the screening with a completely open mind, as I had no idea what the TV show was about. As it turns out, Outlander, executive produced by Ronald D. Moore, follows the story of Claire, a married World War II nurse who is thrown back in time from 1945 into an unknown world, set in 1743, and, from the first episode, it’s as bonkers as it sounds.

I overheard one woman call it ‘the most realistic time travel story ever told’, but I’m not quite sure about that. Claire goes off wandering in a forest alone to find a flower she saw the day before (dressed in far too beautiful a dress for what is essentially a hike), hears a rock screaming at her, touches it, falls over, and wakes up in 1743.

While the premise of the story isn’t the most believable, the chemistry between the two main characters, played by Caitrona Balfe and Sam Heughan, is really intense from the moment they meet, which will make you want to watch the next episode. What’s really different, and brilliant, about it is that the woman is the alpha-female. Surrounded by men, she’s such a strong lead, and where do you ever see that?

The show, for the most part, is an epic romantic drama, but there were some really funny moments in the first episode, including Claire and her husband Frank jumping on a bed, and the woman underneath thinking they were having sex. On the topic of sex, DON’T WATCH THIS WITH YOUR PARENTS! There’s a moment near the beginning that was really unexpectedly raunchy, and I wouldn’t have wanted to be sat anywhere near my dad at that moment.

It’s not something I ever really notice when watching TV shows, but what I really loved about Outlander was the cinematography. It was basically a travel brochure for Scotland, with huge sweeping shots over the landscapes.

All in all, Outlander looks like it’s going to be a pretty epic, albeit unrealistic, TV show, and if you’re a fan of fantasy novels, this could be your bag.

Amazon Prime Instant Video is available for £79 for the year, and the first eight episodes of Outlander will be released on Thursday 26th March, with the remaining episodes launching weekly from Sunday 5th April.

Hayley Minn