Outlander, the most brutally beautiful show on TV, is back

This is an excellent Outlander review by John Doyle, The Globe and Mail.


There is nothing romantic or ethereal about the opening scenes of the third season of Outlander.

The series, which is probably the biggest drama in the world after Game of Thrones, has always defied convention and description. It is a love story, a historical drama, a feminist manifesto, a time-travel fantasy and, mostly, a fierce celebration of the sturdiness of true love and true love’s transforming power.

What distinguishes it, too, is its incandescent beauty. Few dramas have ever been so alive to the absolute force of the natural wonder of mountains, moors and craggy shorelines. It makes Scotland look stunning, but in a way that is sensitive to the harshness of the landscape; its brutal, scary majesty. And few series have been as careful in treating the human body as a crucible of strength and fortitude. It’s as if the camera gazes with quizzical awe on this remarkable thing, the human body. There is a livid, unnerving type of eroticism in it, even when there is nothing sexy going on at all.

In this third season, the series reaches a crucial, dangerous stage. Over its first two seasons and loosely following the source material of Diana Gabaldon’s novels, the core characters were mostly in the same place at the same time. Claire (Caitriona Balfe), a time-travelling British Army nurse from 1945 was somehow cast back to 1743 Scotland, and became emotionally involved with Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a Highlander fighting against English rule.

 

Outlander returns September 10, 2017 on Starz.

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