With less than a month before its premiere on Starz, Outlander’s fervid fandom — born of Diana Gabaldon’s eight-book (and counting) series — is in a high swoon of anticipation. That their enthusiasm is infectious is Starz’s hope. And it’s a good bet that it will be.
Ronald D. Moore, who reimagined Battlestar Galactica into a highbrow rumination on humanity, has developed Gabaldon’s Outlander for television. The first season is scheduled to be 16 episodes divided into two eight-episode runs. It premieres on Aug. 9, but will be available for free on the internet on Aug. 2 to lure people in.
Outlander tells the story of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), an Englishwoman trying to once again get to know her husband, Frank, after they were separated by the events of World War II. (She was a combat nurse, which figures into the story as things move forward.) While on a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands with Frank (played by Tobias Menzies of HBO’s Rome), she finds herself transported back in time to the 1740s. Her attempts to get back to Frank and her own time fuel Outlander’s beginning; the complications she finds along the way —namely in the form of Jamie (Sam Heughan), her protector — propel its story. And Menzies appears in the 18th century as well in the form of Outlander’s rapacious villain, Jack Randall.