A new twist on time travel came to the small screen back in 2014 with the premiere of Outlander. In the years since, lost-in-time nurse Claire Randall has embarked on a journey of love, loss, war, and some of the steamiest sex scenes on television. The three seasons that have aired so far are a wild ride, and the series isn't anywhere close to being done yet. The highly-anticipated fourth season will premiere this fall, and now is definitely an ideal time to catch up on the series now that it's available streaming for your convenience.
Outlander follows Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), an Englishwoman fresh off her work as a World War II nurse. With her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies), Claire visits Scotland for the honeymoon they never got to have before they went separate ways for war. Alas, their second honeymoon doesn't go as planned when Claire finds herself transported back in time to the 18th century, where she crosses paths with a wild group of Scottish Highlanders who aren't the biggest fans of the English. The good news for Claire is that one of these Highlanders is Jamie (Sam Heughan), who is sympathetic to her situation, in need of her medical abilities, and dreamy enough that even the frightened Claire out of her own time and desperate to return to her loving husband can't prevent some sparks from flying.
Now, despite the heat that quickly builds between Claire and Jamie, Outlander can't be simply qualified as a romance. Is there enough heat between various characters that it's probably best to keep the kids away while you watch? Certainly. But there's plenty more to the series than just those sparks flying. 18th century Scotland is a place of political unrest due to English occupation, and Claire's knowledge of history from her education in the 20th century means that she knows a lot of the Highlanders might be doomed. She faces some difficult decisions as a time-traveler with the chance to change a bloody chapter in British history. Claire is a worthy heroine who handles her trip through time about as well as well as could be expected, and the political arcs are surrounded with enough action and character development that they don't drag.
Part of what really sets Outlander apart from the very beginning is villain Jonathan Randall, a.k.a. Black Jack Randall. Also played by Tobias Menzies, Randall is as chilling and effective a villain as you'll ever see on TV, and you may need some of those lovely romantic scenes and shots of the gorgeous Scottish countryside to help lessen that chill. Heroes are sometimes only as good as their villains are bad, and Randall gives the good guys some serious capacity for heroics. The Season 4 villain is said to be even worse than Black Jack Randall; as you'll see in the first three seasons, the new villain will have a lot to live up to in order to surpass Randall. Menzies is terrifyingly effective, and both Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan are elevated in scenes with him.
One of the most difficult elements of watching the first season of Outlander in real time was waiting for the exposition to finally explain what was going on, and the long hiatuses between seasons early on didn't make things any easier. The first three seasons of Outlander are incredibly binge-worthy now that they're available streaming, and you'll discover that the show picks up in some thrilling ways. There's enough time to watch the full first three seasons before the fourth season premieres, whether at a normal pace or via binge-watching. Throw in the fact that Outlander is infinitely re-watchable, and it's certainly worth streaming.
The only downside might be that you won't be able to get the haunting theme song from the opening credits out of your mind! Stocking up on the tissues might not be a bad idea either. Outlander has some very high emotional highs and some very low emotional lows. All things considered, watching Outlander is nothing short of cathartic. As for re-watching, there are some standout episodes that you may want to relive, especially if you need to cleanse your viewing palate with something sweet and funny after something Black Jack Randall did.
Season 4 promises to take the show in some brand new directions to prove that it won't get stale even after tackling a wide variety of twists in the first three seasons, and you don't need to worry that Outlander will be cancelled after the fourth season, leaving viewers desperate for resolution after a cliffhanger. Outlander scored a huge renewal months before the Season 4 premiere date was even announced. Viewers can officially look forward to at least Seasons 5 and 6, and book readers can count on even more books being adapted after Season 4 tackles Diana Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn.
Outlander Season 4 premieres Sunday, November 4 at 8 p.m. ET, so there's a good amount of time to check out and/or rewatch the first three seasons streaming. We consider it the best show on TV for a number of reasons, and it's definitely worth streaming sooner rather than later.
Stream it here on Amazon Prime.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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