For those who turned "Outlander" into an international bestseller, seeing the characters brought to life, with Scotland as the backdrop, will be a 'must, watch. For me, the resulting series a snooze -- beautiful Scottish country side, but and too flaccid to make hearts go pitter-pat.
"People disappear all the time," says Claire (Caitriona Balfe), a British army nurse introduced at the end of World War II delivering a novel-esque voiceover that runs throughout. Weary of bloodshed, she seeks to reconnect with her husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies), as the two embark on a scholarly search (think Ancestory.com) through the countryside.
Developed by "Battlestar Galactica's" Ronald D. Moore from Diana Gabaldon's book, the premiere certainly takes its time before getting to the main event -- namely, Claire being inexplicably whisked back in time, where she finds herself under the protection of the brutish MacKenzie clan. (It's not till the second episode that we learn the date is 1743.)
Claire's keepers include the imperious war chief Dougal (Graham McTavish), who's only one of the bearded ruffians who think about raping her; and Jamie (Sam Heughan), a clean-cut Adonis who endeavors to protect Claire's honor when he isn't exchanging meaningful glances with her. Menzies also lingers in a dual role as Frank's ancestor, a sadistic British officer who has a yen for the ladies.
Still, "Outlander" meanders along so slowly that it needs to immerse viewers in its atmosphere and rhythms -- something that might appeal to ardent fans of the book, but my the attention span and patience was sorely tested.
The principals are perfectly fine, and the period touches have been assembled with care (and filmed in Scotland), the long speeches in un-translated Gaelic have a way of yielding diminishing returns. I may sit through an episode or two, but I won't be a fan of the series. Sorry Starz. I'll be viewing reruns of Longmire, with the beautiful backdrop of Wyoming. The scrips are rather uneven, and a bit sketchy at times, but the story moves along and the heroes are a Bonny match for the men of the Scottish Highlands.