Monday, August 18, 2014

If it's not Scottish it's...

I like romance as much as the next gal. But I’m not usually that enamored with what Hollywood has called romance. So much swooning, so little smarts. But the new Starz series “Outlander” is both swoony and smart. And best of all, at least so far, it is decidedly feminist. The series is told entirely from the point of view of Claire Randall, an English nurse transported through unknown mythic forces from her post World War II life into the rough and tumble 18th Century Scottish highlands. Don’t question the physics of said space-time continuum disturbance, just know it had to do with a monolith and some druid dancing.

But instead of just being a fish-out-of-water story or a fantastical Whovian adventure, this time travel story is both undeniably romantic and unexpectedly thrilling. This is really good, really sweeping stuff. Even without the time travel this could be considered a period piece, yet the series has a modern edge. And I think it’s because we’re seeing it through Claire’s eye. Here is a woman who uses only her intelligence and instinct to survive. This is also a woman who is allowed to express her sexual desire, and a show that pays attention to her sexual pleasure. Gosh, what a crazy concept.

Already it’s made some very pointed statements on sexual menace, the one sexuality we’re most often allowed to see on screen in relation to women – no matter the time period. As Claire tells a Scottish nobleman who questions her predicament in the second episode, “Is there ever a good reason for rape, Master MacKenzie?”

Nope, nope there isn’t.

The clearest sign that this story has sucked me in already is that I wish it was on Netflix instead of Starz. That way I wouldn’t have to wait a whole week for the next episode, and the next and the next.

p.s. All through the premiere episode I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out who Caitriona Balfe, the woman who plays Claire, looks like. And I finally figured it out. She is Joanne Kelly’s Scottish doppelganger. Well, she did touch an artifact and travel through time. Makes sense, really.


Dylena said...

Years ago I read the first book this TV show is based on and I never touched a book written by Diana Gabalson ever again. It was horrible.

For example: Jamie beats Claire nearly to death for "educational reasons" and Claire is like "Oh, yes, I understand him, he had to do it, I forgive him"? No sorry, that's not the kind of stuff I expect from a woman of the 20th century. That's not the least bit feminist or romantic or even sexy.

Or another wonderful example out of this "thrilling" first book: Claire gets raped (or very nearly gets raped, I don't remember exactly, it's many years ago I read that crap), Jamie rescues her and instead of comforting her, he got nothing better to do, than to instantly fuck her himself. Yes, very "romantic" indeed! *yuk*

Sorry, I really hope the TV show uses the book(s) its based one very loosely, but I will not watch something that's based on such crap!

bAckToPangea said...

All I could think about was Myka with a British accent! Maybe after shitty season 5 Myka and HG found a way to go back in time to WH12 and had a baby girl. Math kinda works if you think about it...

Anonymous said...

Didn't they read this for Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy book club once? Tv series looks cool, I love a programme set in British countryside so I might check it out.