Outlander (TV Series 2014– )

TVSeries


Outlander (TV Series 2014– )

Follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world in which her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
USA
IMDb   8.4 /10
Metacritic   76 %
TheMovieDb    8.2 /10
RottenTomatoes
FilmAffinity   6.8 /10
Creators
Creator Ronald D. Moore
Information
Release Date2014-08-09
Runtime1h 4mins
GenreDrama, Fantasy, Romance
Content RatingTV-MA (TV-MA)
AwardsNominated for 6 Golden Globes. Another 31 wins & 64 nominations.
CompanyTall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Co., Left Bank Pictures
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish, Scottish Gaelic
Claire Randall 79 episodes, 2014-2020
Sam Heughan
Sam Heughan
Jamie Fraser 79 episodes, 2014-2020
Murtagh Fraser 40 episodes, 2014-2020
Brianna Randall Fraser 39 episodes, 2016-2021
Roger Wakefield 38 episodes, 2016-2021

Outlander (TV series)

Outlander is a historical drama television series based on the ongoing novel series of the same name by Diana Gabaldon. Developed by Ronald D. Moore, the show premiered on August 9, 2014, on Starz. It stars Caitríona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married former Second World War military nurse in Scotland who, in 1945, finds herself transported back in time to 1743. There she encounters, and falls in love with, the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a member of Gabaldon's fictionalized version of Clan Fraser of Lovat, and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite rising.

The 16-episode first season of the television series (released as two half-seasons) is based on the first novel in the series, Outlander (known as Cross Stitch in the United Kingdom). The second season of 13 episodes, based on Dragonfly in Amber, aired from April to July 2016. The 13-episode third season, based on Voyager, aired from September to December 2017. The 13-episode fourth season, based on Drums of Autumn, aired from November 2018 to January 2019. The fifth season of 12 episodes, based on The Fiery Cross, aired from February to May 2020.

The series has been renewed for an 8-episode sixth season and a 16-episode seventh season to be based on A Breath of Snow and Ashes and An Echo in the Bone, respectively. The sixth season is scheduled to premiere in 2022.


Plot

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1168August 9, 2014September 27, 2014
8April 4, 2015May 30, 2015
213April 9, 2016July 9, 2016
313September 10, 2017December 10, 2017
413November 4, 2018January 27, 2019
512February 16, 2020May 10, 2020
682022TBA

Season 1 (2014–15)

In 1945, Claire Randall, who had formerly served as a nurse in the British Army during the Second World War, and her husband Frank are visiting Inverness, Scotland, when she is carried back in time to 1743 by the standing stones at Craigh na Dun (a fictitious place; see Clava cairn). She falls in with a group of rebel Highlanders from Clan MacKenzie (a fictionalization of the real Clan MacKenzie), who are being pursued by British redcoats led by Captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall. Randall turns out to be Frank's ancestor.

Out of necessity Claire marries a Highlander, Jamie Fraser, but they quickly fall in love. Clan MacKenzie suspect her of being a spy, but retain her as a healer, which prevents her from attempting to return to her own time. Knowing that the Jacobite cause is doomed to fail, she tries to warn them against rebellion. Her husband Jamie is captured, tortured, and raped by the sadistic Randall, but Claire and his clansmen rescue him. Claire tells Jamie that she is pregnant and they set sail for the Kingdom of France.

Season 2 (2016)

In 18th century Paris, Claire and Jamie try to thwart the Jacobites by subverting the funds that King Louis XV of France is likely to provide. Jamie becomes the confidant of Charles Stuart, but the Frasers fail to prevent the risings. Randall reappears in Paris, but Claire makes Jamie swear to keep him alive until Frank's descent is assured. She achieves this by convincing Randall to marry Mary Hawkins. Claire and Jamie's daughter Faith, is stillborn, and she and her 18th century husband return to Scotland. The Jacobites win the Battle of Prestonpans. Jamie and Claire also adopt a young french boy named Claudel, who Jamie re-names Fergus.

Before the Battle of Culloden, Jamie convinces Claire, pregnant again, to return to the 20th century. Jamie decides to die fighting at Culloden with his clan. Back in her own century, Claire tells Frank about her time travel. He asks her to forget Jamie, and let him raise her child as his own. Twenty years later, Frank has died in a car accident. Claire takes her 20-year-old daughter Brianna to Scotland. Claire discovers that Jamie did not die at Culloden and vows to return to him.

Season 3 (2017)

Jamie kills Randall at Culloden and is gravely injured, but spared execution. At Ardsmuir prison, he befriends the governor, Lord John Grey, who later paroles him to work at an English estate. There, Jamie is manipulated into a sexual liaison and fathers an illegitimate son, William. Jamie returns to Scotland and becomes a printer.

In 1948, Claire enrolls in medical school in Boston, Massachusetts. Frank is killed in a car accident while Brianna is in college. With the help of Roger Wakefield, Claire finds clues to Jamie's fate after Culloden. She returns to the 18th century, and discovers Jamie has married a widowed Laoghaire. Claire's return nullifies their union as illegal. They try to retrieve some hidden treasure so that he can placate Laoghaire with a settlement, but Jamie's nephew Ian is captured by pirates and taken to the Caribbean. Jamie and Claire follow, and manage to rescue him from Geillis, who had escaped burning at the stake in season one. Claire and Jamie sail for Scotland, but are shipwrecked on the coast of Georgia.

Season 4 (2018–19)

In the British colony of North Carolina, Claire and Jamie seek to return to Scotland with Fergus, Marsali, and Ian. They visit the plantation of Jamie's aunt Jocasta Cameron, where they encounter enslaved Africans. Claire and Jamie decide to leave, and claim land that they name Fraser's Ridge, which is already inhabited by Cherokee. Jamie reunites with Murtagh, now a blacksmith and leader of the Regulator movement. Lord John visits with Jamie's son, Willy.

In the 1970s, Brianna rejects Roger's marriage proposal. After learning her parents will die in a fire, Brianna travels through the stones. When Roger discovers Brianna has left, he follows her. They meet in Wilmington, North Carolina and enter into handfast marriage. Shortly after, they get into an argument, and Roger leaves. In his absence, Bonnet rapes Brianna. She reunites with her mother and finally meets her real father, Jamie. Brianna discovers she is pregnant. Roger goes to Fraser's Ridge, where Brianna's maid Lizzie, wrongly assumes that he is the rapist. Lizzie informs Jamie, who beats Roger. Young Ian sells Roger to the Mohawk. Discovering their mistake, they set off to rescue Roger, and Ian trades his freedom for Roger's. Roger and Brianna are reunited at Jocasta's plantation, and later get married at the Ridge. Jamie receives instructions to kill Murtagh, who is a fugitive.

Season 5 (2020)

Jamie and Claire fight to retain their home at Fraser's Ridge as the American Revolutionary War looms on the horizon. Brianna and Roger marry, and Governor Tryon further pushes Jamie to hunt down Murtagh, forcing Jamie to gather up a militia and counteract the Regulators. He struggles to balance keeping his godfather safe and fulfilling his duties to the British, especially under the eye of Lieutenant Knox, who is determined to find and kill Murtagh. Despite Murtagh's pleas for Jocasta to return his love for her, she moves forward with her fourth marriage, choosing the safety and security of her plantation's future over his idealism. Jamie's loyalties are pushed to the breaking point at the Battle of Alamance, when Roger's attempt to warn Murtagh fails and he is shot dead. Roger is captured and hanged by the British, but survives and is left traumatized by the experience. Jamie is left devastated in the months following the battle.

Meanwhile, Roger and Bree's relationship is put to the test as there are signs of Stephen Bonnet's reappearance, forcing Brianna to take matters into her own hands when she is captured by him. Eventually, Bree and Roger decide to go back through the stones when they realize Jemmy can too, as the future will be much safer for their son. The attempt fails, so they decide to stay in the past. Young Ian returns from his time with the Mohawk, and learns the truth about Claire, Brianna, and Roger's origins when he confronts them with information passed to him by the Mohawk. Claire continues to subvert conventional medical practices by producing penicillin and covertly providing medical advice under a pseudonym, but her subversive advice backfires on her. Claire is abducted and gang raped by Lionel Brown and his men, but is subsequently rescued by Jamie, Fergus, Roger and the men of the Ridge. Though Jamie returns Lionel's body to Richard, Lionel's brother and mayor of Brownsville, Richard subtly threatens Fraser's Ridge and Jamie's family.


Cast and characters

  • Caitríona Balfe as Claire Beauchamp Randall/Fraser
  • Sam Heughan as James "Jamie" MacKenzie Fraser
  • Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall (seasons 1–4) /Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall (seasons 1–3)
  • Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie (seasons 1–2) /William "Buck" MacKenzie (season 5)
  • Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (seasons 1–5)
  • Grant O'Rourke as Rupert MacKenzie (seasons 1–3)
  • Stephen Walters as Angus Mhor (seasons 1–2)
  • Gary Lewis as Colum MacKenzie (seasons 1–2)
  • Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan a.k.a. Gillian Edgars (seasons 1–3)
  • Bill Paterson as Edward "Ned" Gowan (seasons 1, 3)
  • Simon Callow as Clarence Marylebone, Duke of Sandringham (seasons 1–2)
  • Laura Donnelly as Janet "Jenny" Fraser Murray (seasons 1–3)
  • Douglas Henshall as Taran MacQuarrie (season 1)
  • Steven Cree as Ian Murray (seasons 1–4)
  • Stanley Weber as Le Comte St. Germain (season 2)
  • Andrew Gower as Prince Charles Edward Stuart (seasons 2–3)
  • Rosie Day as Mary Hawkins (season 2)
  • Dominique Pinon as Master Raymond (season 2)
  • Frances de la Tour as Mother Hildegarde (season 2)
  • Nell Hudson as Laoghaire MacKenzie (seasons 2–4; recurring season 1)
  • Clive Russell as Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat (season 2)
  • Richard Rankin as Roger Wakefield (season 2–present)
  • Sophie Skelton as Brianna "Bree" Randall (season 2–present)
  • David Berry as Lord John Grey (seasons 3–present)
  • John Bell as Ian Fraser Murray (season 3–present)
  • César Domboy as Claudel "Fergus" Fraser (season 3–present)
  • Lauren Lyle as Marsali MacKimmie Fraser (season 3–present)
  • Richard Dillane as Captain Raines (season 3)
  • Edward Speleers as Stephen Bonnet (seasons 4–5)
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy as Jocasta MacKenzie Cameron (season 4–present)
  • Colin McFarlane as Ulysses (season 4–present)
  • Natalie Simpson as Phaedre (season 4)
  • Tantoo Cardinal as Adawehi (season 4)
  • Caitlin O'Ryan as Lizzie Wemyss (season 4–present)
  • Braeden Clarke as Kaheroton (season 4)
  • Gregory Dominic Odjig as Satehoronies (season 4)
  • Billy Boyd as Gerald Forbes (seasons 4–5)
  • Carmen Moore as Wahkatiiosta (season 4)
  • Tom Jackson as Tehwahsehwkwe (season 4)
  • Yan Tual as Father Alexandre Ferigault (season 4)
  • Sera-Lys McArthur as Johiehon (season 4)
  • Chris Larkin as Richard Brown (season 5)
  • Ned Dennehy as Lionel Brown (season 5)

Production

Development

In July 2012, it was reported that Sony Pictures Television had secured the rights to Gabaldon's Outlander series, with Moore attached to develop the project and Jim Kohlberg (Story Mining and Supply Co) producing. Sony completed the deal with Starz in November 2012, and Moore hired a writing team in April 2013. That June, Starz picked up the Outlander project for a sixteen-episode order, and in August it was announced that John Dahl would be directing the first two episodes. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht later said that he had green-lit several genre projects, including Outlander, to shift the network's series development toward "audiences that were being underserved" to "drive a real fervent fan base that then becomes the kind of advocacy group for the shows themselves".

Calling it "a different kind of show than has ever been on, in my memory", Albrecht believed that Outlander's combination of fantasy, action, a strong central romance and a feminist focus would set it apart. Another distinguishing feature of the show is its use of Scottish Gaelic. Àdhamh Ó Broin is the language consultant and Griogair Labhruidh sang in Gaelic on the second season's soundtrack.

On August 15, 2014, after only the pilot episode had aired, the network renewed the series for a second season of at least thirteen episodes, based on the second book in Gabaldon's series, Dragonfly in Amber. On June 1, 2016, Starz renewed the series for a third and fourth season, which adapt the third and fourth Outlander novels, Voyager and Drums of Autumn.

On May 9, 2018, Starz renewed the series for a fifth and sixth season, which adapt The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes, respectively, and each season to consist of twelve episodes.

On March 14, 2021, the series was renewed for a seventh season, originally to consist of 12 episodes, and will adapt the seventh novel, An Echo in the Bone. On June 1, 2021, Starz announced the sixth season is scheduled to premiere in early 2022 with a shortened eight-episode season while the seventh season consists of 16 episodes.

Writing

Moore said of the pilot: "There's a lot of things we did in the first thirty to forty minutes that aren't in the book or are compilations of things that happened in the book". He emphasised that he did not want to present the time-travel dimension in a traditional special effects-laden science fiction manner. Describing the adaptation of the first season as "straightforward", he explained: "it was always kind of clear what the basic structure was: Claire’s trying to get home, then she meets this guy, now she’s falling in love, now she has a conflict, will she go home. You lay it out in a very linear fashion". Regarding the darker tone of the season's second half, he said: "the show becomes more complicated and the emotional journey more wrenching".

Regarding the second season and the source novel Dragonfly in Amber, Moore said:

The book is a more complicated structure in terms of how Diana wrote it ... So it was not as easy an adaptation as the first season was ... Book 2 is just a more complex book. It’s laid out very differently, as a result it took more wrangling to try to figure out how to translate this particular story into our season. There were more complications, there were more characters ... It was a bigger task. The thing that gives me the most comfort is that Diana likes it a lot. She had said, 'Oh, I really liked the way you did it. it was a difficult plot, I know, but I think you really found the essence of it. You really found the through line that really defines what this part of the journey is.' ... It’s not going to be a literal adaptation because I don’t think that’s possible with the second book ... But I think it’s very much the same story, the major characters are all represented, the major scenes are all represented, and it still gets you to all the same places you want to go.

Gabaldon was employed as consultant to the TV production. When asked in June 2015 about the adaptation of the first season, she said: "I think they did condense it very effectively ... I ended up getting most of the things that I felt strongly about in there. There were only a few instances where the most important stuff in my opinion didn't get in". In March 2015, she said of the scripts for season two: "The Parisian stuff is very good, and in fact I'm deeply impressed by the outlines I've seen ... I think they've done a wonderful job of pulling out the most important plot elements and arranging them in a convincing way". Gabaldon wrote the screenplay for the episode "Vengeance is Mine".

According to Moore, the writing and pre-production for season four began while season three was still in active production. Gabaldon wrote an episode for the fifth season.

Casting

On July 9, 2013, it was announced that Sam Heughan had been cast as Jamie Fraser, the male lead. Tobias Menzies was the second actor cast, on August 8, in dual roles of Frank and Jonathan Randall. Stephen Walters and Annette Badland were announced in the recurring roles of Angus Mhor and Mrs. Fitzgibbons on August 29, 2013, with Graham McTavish and Gary Lewis announced as the MacKenzie brothers on the September 4. Series female lead Claire Beauchamp Randall was to be portrayed by Caitríona Balfe as announced on September 11, 2013. The series later added Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan and Laura Donnelly as Jamie's sister Jenny in October 2013.

In December 2013, Simon Callow was cast in the supporting role of Duke of Sandringham, and Entertainment Weekly reported in April 2014 that Steven Cree would portray Ian Murray. Bill Paterson was cast as lawyer Ned Gowan in June 2014. Author Gabaldon has a cameo as Iona MacTavish in the August 2014 episode "The Gathering". In August 2014 it was announced that Frazer Hines had been cast in the role of a prison warden in an episode to air in 2015. From 1966 to 1969, Hines had portrayed the Doctor Who character Jamie McCrimmon, who Gabaldon said had inspired the setting of the Outlander series and the character of Jamie Fraser. Hines plays Sir Fletcher Gordon, an English prison warden, in the May 2015 episode "Wentworth Prison".

In June 2015, the series cast Andrew Gower as the Jacobite pretender Prince Charles Edward Stuart; Robert Cavanah as Jamie's Scottish cousin Jared, a wine merchant and Jacobite living in Paris; Margaux Châtelier as Annalise de Marillac, Jamie's French ex-lover; and Laurence Dobiesz as Alex Randall, Black Jack's younger–and gentler–brother. Other cast added for season 2 include Romann Berrux as the French pickpocket Fergus, Rosie Day as the baronet's daughter Mary Hawkins, Stanley Weber as Le Comte St. Germain, Dominique Pinon as healer Master Raymond, Marc Duret as French Minister of Finance Joseph Duverney, Frances de la Tour as Mother Hildegarde, and Audrey Brisson as Sister Angelique. In July 2015, Lionel Lingelser was cast as King Louis XV of France. Moore revealed in June 2015 that Verbeek would be returning in the role of Geillis. Richard Rankin was cast as Roger Wakefield in December 2015, while Sophie Skelton was chosen to portray Brianna Randall, Claire and Jamie's daughter, in January 2016.

In August 2016, Starz announced that David Berry had been cast as Lord John William Grey for season three. In September, Wil Johnson was cast as Joe Abernathy, and John Bell as "Young Ian" Fraser Murray. In October, César Domboy was cast as an adult Fergus, and Lauren Lyle as Laoghaire's daughter Marsali MacKimmie. Hannah James and Tanya Reynolds were cast as sisters Geneva and Isobel Dunsany in November 2016.

In October 2017, two season four roles were announced. Maria Doyle Kennedy was cast as Jamie's aunt, Jocasta, and Ed Speleers as Stephen Bonnet, an Irish pirate and smuggler. The casting of Colin McFarlane as Jocasta's slave butler Ulysses was announced in January 2018. The Cherokee and Mohawk people in seasons four and five were portrayed by members of First Nations from Canada who traveled to Scotland for the filming.

In May 2020, Berry announced that he would not be returning to Outlander for the sixth season.

Filming

In July 2013, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne confirmed that the production would benefit from the Creative Sector Tax Relief programme implemented in the UK in 2012, which extends film tax reliefs to high-end television productions. The Scottish government also agreed to help pay for the conversion of a warehouse complex on the outskirts of Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire into a film studio. Principal photography began on location in Scotland in September 2013. The Cumbernauld studios were used for on set filming, with location shoots taking place at Doune Castle, Stirling; mills in East Linton, East Lothian; Newtonmore in the Scottish Highlands; Rothiemurchus Forest, Aviemore; quarries near Bathgate, West Lothian and Aberfoyle, Stirling, as well as Linlithgow Palace, Loch Rannoch in the Highlands, and Falkland and Culross in Fife. Such settings have attracted substantial numbers of international tourists.

Filming for season two began in April 2015, to air in spring 2016. The primary setting for the season is Paris, which Moore explained is being recreated using other locations. Some interiors were filmed on the show's Scotland soundstages, while Prague was used for the exterior street scenes and the Palace of Versailles. In addition some palaces in the south of England which have French rooms and architecture were used as Parisian interiors and part of Versailles. Moore noted that season two of Outlander "will look completely different than season one" with a "richer, more dynamic kind of visual palette". With the change of setting from Scotland to France, he said that "visually you’ve moved from the heavy woods and stone of season 1 into the finery of the Parisian apartments". He explained:

Everything about Paris is so completely different, especially the costumes ... It’s the most stylish city in the world during this time. A lot more money. A lot of finery. Scotland is featuring a lot of heavy wools and more organic colors. In Paris everyone wants to be a peacock. You’ve got a much wider palette of textiles and colors and styles than you did in Scotland. It’s a completely different world. And that kind of goes across the board for all the departments ... There were really no sets or pieces of sets that we could use for Paris that we’d used for Scotland ... There are carriages, there are servants with livery, there are props and furniture. It’s completely different. It’s a whole new show.

Production on season three began in September 2016 in Scotland, and filming took place in Cape Town from March to June 2017. Filming completed on June 16, 2017.

In August 2017, Moore said that for season four, locations in Scotland would double as 18th century America, and some of the mountains and rivers of North Carolina would be recreated using locations in Eastern Europe. Production for season four was completed in Scotland by July 5, 2018.

Production on season five, set primarily in North Carolina, began in Scotland in April 2019. Locations included Kinloch Rannoch (for Craigh na Dun), the Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church in Paisley, The Hermitage, Dunkeld in Perthshire and Milne Woods in Bridge of Allan. Much of the filming was completed at Wardpark Studios in Glasgow.

Production on season six was scheduled to begin in May 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production eventually began in February 2021.

Music

The music is composed by Bear McCreary. The title song is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's poem Sing me a Song of a Lad that is Gone, set to the tune of the Scottish folk song "The Skye Boat Song". For the first half of season two, the second verse of the opening theme is sung in French to reflect the season's French setting. For the second half of season three, the second verse of the opening theme has Caribbean music to reflect the season's Jamaican setting. The fourth season opening theme has a colonial American sound.


Release

Outlander premiered in the United States on August 9, 2014. Its first eight episodes aired through September, and the remaining eight episodes resumed in April 2015. The first-season finale aired on May 30, 2015.

Outlander debuted in Australia on SoHo on August 14, 2014, and began airing in Canada on Showcase on August 24, 2014. The series also premiered on October 21, 2014, in Ireland. In the United Kingdom, it was acquired by Amazon Prime Instant Video, where it premiered on March 26, 2015 In April 2015, The Herald reported that emails leaked in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack suggested that the broadcast delay in the UK may have been due to sensitivity about the September 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

The second season of 13 episodes premiered on April 9, 2016, and the 13-episode third season on September 10, 2017. The fourth season premiered on November 4, 2018, and the fifth on February 16, 2020. The sixth season is schedule to premiere in 2022.

In New Zealand, Outlander was previously distributed by the video streaming service Lightbox. Following Sky's acquisition of Lightbox, Sky's streaming service Neon acquired the distribution rights to Outlander in New Zealand.


Reception

Critical response

On Metacritic, the first season has a rating of 73 out of 100, based on 34 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a 91% rating with an average rating of 7.95/10 based on 52 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "Outlander is a unique, satisfying adaptation of its source material, brought to life by lush scenery and potent chemistry between its leads".

The Huffington Post called the first episode "... A masterpiece of impressive depth ... It is amazing!" Entertainment Weekly gave the premiere an "A-" rating, writing that it was "sexy and smart and stirring". Matt Zoller Seitz of New York magazine also praised the series, calling it "defiantly its own thing: part romance-novel fantasy, part-time-travel story, and part wartime drama (set across two time periods)". Sonia Saraiya of The A.V. Club gave the first six episodes an A, writing that it "does for 1743 Scotland what Downton Abbey does for 1912 England", and adding that "Outlander succeeds admirably ... it refuses to sit comfortably in any genre."

British reception was more mixed. In the first UK review, Siobhan Synnot of The Scotsman said "There has not been such a proud display of tartanalia since the opening of the 2014 Commonwealth Games". Alastair McKay of The Evening Standard quoted Saraiya's comparison with Downton Abbey, adding " is entirely correct. It is magical-mystical heuchter-teuchter cobblers." Euan Ferguson of The Observer called it "gorgeous drivel" and Thomas Batten of The Guardian stated "If you love the scenery, shifting allegiances, and palace intrigue of but find yourself wishing the pace were a little slower and that the sex scenes were filmed in a more pretentious manner with lots of slow pans and softer lighting, here’s your show." Graeme Virtue noted "the rather languid pace of the opening episodes" but praised the show's "rare acknowledgment of the female gaze" in its treatment of sex scenes. The Daily Telegraph also made the Game of Thrones comparison, while The Independent stated "...yes, it's a time-travelling, wish-fulfilment fantasy but it's done with such flair and attention to detail that it's impossible not to hop on board for the ride."

On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 85 out of 100 based on 11 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". On Rotten Tomatoes, it reports a 92% rating with an average rating of 7.97/10 based on 25 reviews. The website consensus reads: "Outlander returns for a second addictive season of mystery and sweeping romance as Claire and Jamie take on Paris." Based on five episodes for review, Marah Eakin of The A.V. Club gave it a perfect "A" grade and wrote, "It's not just well-written and lovely to look at. It's downright immersive. ... Outlander feels important–even moreso in its second season."

The third season has a Metacritic score of 87 out of 100 based on 6 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Rotten Tomatoes reports a 93% rating with an average rating of 7.95/10 based on 15 reviews. The website consensus reads: "Outlander's epic love story returns with the same strong storytelling and an added layer of maturity." Based on six episodes for review, Liz Shannon Miller of IndieWire gave it an "A"-grade review and wrote, "This is a show that's grown and matured since its initial premiere in ways that defied our initial expectations."

The fourth season has Metacritic a score of 71 out of 100 based on 6 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Rotten Tomatoes reports an 88% rating with an average rating of 7.01/10 based on 11 reviews. The website consensus reads: "Outlander's epic romance settles into a violent fourth season, planting its flag on the American frontier while treading on darker themes."

The fifth season has a Metacritic score of 73 out of 100 based on 4 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Rotten Tomatoes reports an 95% rating with an average rating of 7.53/10 based on 5 reviews.

Ratings

The first eight episodes averaged more than 5.1 million multiplatform viewers. In July 2015, noting Outlander's strong ratings, its "vocal online fandom and a slew of think pieces tied to its feminist twists on the action genre", Josef Adalian of Vulture credited Outlander as one of the series responsible for Starz's increased success against competitors like Showtime. On February 11, 2020, cable provider Comcast moved the Starz Network from its base cable packages to an a la carte option. This occurred five days before the premiere of season five.

Viewership and ratings per season of Outlander
SeasonTimeslot (ET)EpisodesFirst airedLast airedAvg. viewers
(millions)
Avg. 18–49
rating
DateViewers
(millions)
DateViewers
(millions)
1Saturday 9:00pm16August 9, 20140.72May 30, 20150.981.040.26
213April 9, 20161.46July 9, 20161.151.090.22
3Sunday 8:00pm13September 10, 20171.49December 10, 20171.431.510.32
413November 4, 20181.08January 27, 20191.451.040.17
512February 16, 20200.82May 10, 20200.860.810.12

Accolades

YearAssociationCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef.
2014Critics' Choice Television AwardsMost Exciting New SeriesOutlanderWon
2015People's Choice AwardsFavorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy ShowWon
Saturn AwardsBest Television PresentationOutlanderNominated
Best Actor on TelevisionTobias MenziesNominated
Best Actress on TelevisionCaitríona BalfeWon
Best Supporting Actor on TelevisionSam HeughanNominated
Irish Film & Television AwardsBest Actress in a Lead Role DramaCaitríona BalfeNominated
Rising Star AwardNominated
Emmy AwardsOutstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)Bear McCreary for "Sassenach"Nominated
2016People's Choice AwardsFavorite Cable TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy ShowOutlanderWon
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ActorSam HeughanNominated
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ActressCaitríona BalfeWon
Golden Globe AwardsBest Television Series – DramaOutlanderNominated
Best Actress – Television Series DramaCaitríona BalfeNominated
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmTobias MenziesNominated
Costume Designers Guild AwardsOutstanding Period Television SeriesTerry DresbachNominated
Critics' Choice AwardsMost Bingeworthy SeriesOutlanderWon
Women's Image Network AwardsOutstanding Drama SeriesOutlander for "The Garrison Commander"Won
Outstanding Actress in a Drama SeriesCaitríona Balfe for "The Garrison Commander"Won
Outstanding Show Written by a WomanAnne Kenney for "The Wedding"Nominated
Toni Graphia for "The Devil's Mark"Won
Outstanding Show Directed by a WomanAnna Foerster for "The Wedding"Nominated
Saturn AwardsBest Fantasy Television SeriesOutlanderWon
Best Actress on TelevisionCaitríona BalfeWon
Best Actor on TelevisionSam HeughanNominated
Irish Film & Television AwardsBest Actress in a Lead Role DramaCaitríona BalfeNominated
Costume Society of AmericaCostume Design AwardTerry DresbachWon
Emmy AwardsOutstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series or MovieTerry Dresbach, Elle Wilson, Nadine Powell and Anna Lau for "Not in Scotland Anymore"Nominated
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period Program (One Hour or More)Jon Gary Steele, Nicki McCallum and Gina Cromwell for "Not in Scotland Anymore" and "Faith"Nominated
BAFTA Scotland AwardsTelevision dramaProduction Team – Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Co., Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television/Amazon Prime Instant VideoNominated
Best Actor in TelevisionSam HeughanNominated
Best Actress in TelevisionCaitríona BalfeWon
Critics' Choice Television AwardsMost Bingeworthy SeriesOutlanderWon
Best Actor in a Drama SeriesSam HeughanNominated
Best Actress in a Drama SeriesCaitríona BalfeNominated
Scottish Gaelic AwardsInternational AwardÀdhamh Ó BroinWon
Hollywood Professional Association AwardsOutstanding Color Grading – TelevisionSteven Porter for "Faith"Nominated
Outstanding Sound – TelevisionNello Torri, Alan Decker, Brian Milliken, Vince Balunas for "Prestonpans"Won
2017People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV ShowOutlanderWon
Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy SeriesOutlanderWon
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ActorSam HeughanWon
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ActressCaitríona BalfeWon
Globes de Cristal AwardBest Foreign Television SeriesOutlanderNominated
Satellite AwardsBest Genre SeriesOutlanderWon
Best Ensemble: TelevisionOutlanderWon
Outstanding Blu-rayOutlanderWon
American Society of CinematographersRegular Series for Non-Commercial TelevisionNeville Kidd for "Prestonpans"Nominated
Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress – Television Series DramaCaitríona BalfeNominated
Oscar Wilde AwardsCaitríona BalfeWon
Women's Image Network AwardsOutstanding Drama SeriesOutlanderWon
Outstanding Actress in a Drama SeriesCaitríona BalfeNominated
Outstanding Show Written by a WomanDiana Gabaldon for "Vengeance Is Mine"Nominated
Saturn AwardsBest Fantasy Television SeriesOutlanderWon
Best Actor on a Television SeriesSam HeughanNominated
Best Actress on a Television SeriesCaitríona BalfeNominated
Best Guest Performance on a Television SeriesDominique PinonNominated
Irish Film & Television AwardsBest Actress in a Lead Role in DramaCaitríona BalfeNominated
Rockie AwardsSci-Fi, Fantasy and ActionOutlanderNominated
2018Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress – Television Series DramaCaitríona BalfeNominated
16th Visual Effects Society AwardsOutstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal EpisodeRichard Briscoe, Elicia Bessette, Aladino Debert, Filip Orrby, Doug Hardy for "Eye of the Storm"Nominated
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time ProjectJason Mortimer, Navin Pinto, Greg Teegarden, Steve Ong for "Eye of the Storm" – Stormy SeasNominated
Saturn AwardsBest Fantasy Television SeriesOutlanderWon
Best Actor on TelevisionSam HeughanNominated
Best Actress on TelevisionCaitríona BalfeNominated
2019Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress – Television Series DramaCaitríona BalfeNominated
Saturn AwardsBest Fantasy Television SeriesOutlanderNominated
Best Actor on a Television SeriesSam HeughanWon
Best Actress in a Television SeriesCaitríona BalfeNominated
Best Supporting Actress on TelevisionSophie SkeltonNominated
Best Guest-Starring Performance on a Television SeriesEd SpeleersNominated
2021Satellite AwardsBest Actress in a Drama / Genre SeriesCaitríona BalfeNominated
Saturn AwardsBest Fantasy Television SeriesOutlanderNominated
Best Actor on a Television SeriesSam HeughanNominated
Best Actress on a Television SeriesCaitríona BalfeWon
Best Supporting Actor on a Television SeriesRichard RankinNominated
Best Supporting Actress on a Television SeriesSophie SkeltonNominated