Recap: Advance Screening of Showcase's Outlander

8:53 PM

Earlier this week, on Tuesday evening, I was thrilled and honoured to be invited by Shaw Media to attend an advanced screening of Showcase's Outlander, a new TV show based on Diana Galbadon's bestselling historical romance novel. Outlander premiered earlier in the month in the U.S. on Starz, but us Canadians have had a longer wait to watch it. The TV series will be premiering in Canada on Sunday, August 24 (later tonight!!) on Showcase at 10pm!

The Scottish-themed preview party took place at a lovely pub called The Caledonian in Toronto where guests were greeted by the sight of a man playing the bagpipes outside. Once inside, three very attractive men in kilts made quite the sight for a photo opportunity and we got a mini-lesson on the different regions of Scotland that make whisky from the owner, even sampling some of them. There was also plenty of delicious appetizers like Scottish eggs, fish and chips, haggis, and more to eat. I even tried a deep-friend Mars bar and it was like an explosion of chocolate goodness in my mouth. So. Good.

Any event is always better when you're among friends, and it was great to chat and catch up with Michele, Christa and Lindsey, and meet Chatelaine books editor Laurie and Jaclyn, another fellow blogger! Excitement was definitely in the air as we took our seats to watch the very first episode of Outlander. Half of the room had read the book before and the other half hadn't, but what everyone had in common was that we all couldn't wait to watch the show.

I'll admit, I've never read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series despite its popularity, but the premise of a historical romance with a time travel twist sure had me hooked from the start! I've read similarly themed books to Outlander such as Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series and a couple of books in Lynn Kurland's MacLeod series, not to mention I'm a huge historical romance fan in general, so I thought it would be the perfect TV show for me to watch. And I was so right!

In case you didn't know, Outlander is about WWII combat nurse Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe) who's on a second honeymoon in Inverness, Scotland with her husband, Frank, after the war ends. She mysteriously finds herself catapulted back through time to the year 1743 after placing her hands on a spiritual stone circle. Now she must find a way to survive and get back to her own time period while also struggling with her growing feelings for a certain highlander named Jamie Fraser (played by Sam Heughan).

After only a few minutes of watching Outlander, I was already completely addicted. I don't know how I'll be able to wait a week for each new episode! The music, the gorgeous cinematography, the acting, the costumes, the storyline—everything draws you in. I love how Claire is presented to us as very resourceful, intelligent, and feisty. And the chemistry between Claire and Jamie is so utterly intense! The way he stares at her in one particular scene in the first episode and threatens to throw her over his shoulder? Totally made me want to swoon. How can anyone resist a dreamy and strong highlander? Answer: You. Can't.

While Claire very obviously loves her husband back in her own time, Jamie and her share an attraction to one another that cannot be denied. I can't wait to see how Claire's complicated feelings for the two very different men will be further explored in the series and if/how she'll find her way back home. And while the romance is certainly important, I can't wait to see how Claire, an independent, take charge sort of woman, deals with some of the social issues of 18th century Scotland, especially in a time when women had few rights and men held all the power. I'm definitely convinced I need to read the book, but I think I'm going to wait until the season is further in because I'm loving watching the show with fresh eyes!

I'm very glad to hear that Outlander has already been approved for a second season, because if the direction of the first episode is any indication, one season definitely wouldn't be enough!

Before we left, each guest was give an Outlander tote bag with goodies inside. We received a copy of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (thanks Random House Canada!), a t-shirt, shot glass, bookmark, and a cute pocket Jamie!

Outlander is definitely a must-watch TV show this fall season! If you don't get Showcase, you'll also be able to view full episodes online on Showcase's Outlander page on their website after they've aired the next day. Don't forget, Outlander will be airing Sunday's at 10pm in Canada beginning on August 24!

Thanks so much to Shaw Media, Showcase, Sony Pictures Television, and the staff at The Caledonian for a fantastic Scottish-themed evening!

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  1. Shame on you SHOWCASE! While I have read all Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series books, and enjoyed them, I do not agree with the overt sexual scenes on TV at 7:30 pm MST. Children are still up and watching TV at that time. Should they be subjected to turning on the TV and seeing oral sex? In a 20 minute period two sex scenes took place and left nothing to the imagination. And this is rated 14A?! No wonder our youth have lost their innocence. Put these on after 10 pm if you must show this crap!

    1. Anonymous,

      According to Showcase's website, Outlander *does* air at 10pm on ET/PT time, so they have tried to at least push the show towards a later time for the most part. I can understand if you felt rather offended by the sex scenes at your earlier airing time when younger children may have been still watching... but Showcase isn't exactly a channel for children in the first place.

      From previous shows like Lost Girl and Bitten, Showcase is known not to shy away from sex scenes on TV, and honestly, it's not really any different than watching a show such as Game of Thrones on HBO. If anything, Game of Thrones is more graphic, and the romance scenes on Outlander so far have been tasteful and occur only been between a married couple. I can't really say the same for other depictions of sex I've seen on other TV shows.

      And if you've read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, then you can hardly be surprised they've included the sex scenes. From word of mouth and reading reviews, it's one of the main aspects that the novel is known for and I would assume the TV adaptation would also try to be faithful in that regard.

      In any case, I'm sorry you were disappointed with the show. If the earlier airing time in your time zone was your only offense, I encourage you to continue watching the show online at a later time.

      As for myself, I'm incredibly excited to see how Outlander proceeds. I've already watched episodes two and three online, and it might comfort you to know that there are no sex scenes in these episodes, so really, they only occur if it makes sense within the storyline.

      Anyways, I'm always interested to hear different opinions. Thanks for your comment.

      ~ Liz

  2. I've heard so much about this series/TV show these past week, I think I'm going to cave soon and watch. And that last picture, Liz, daaaaang those men are fiiine ;)

    1. I hope you watch it!! It's refreshing to see a historical drama set in Scotland on TV with a woman as the main protagonist. And oh my gosh, when I walked inside and saw those guys, I'm pretty sure I stood frozen for a moment just to stare, lol.

  3. I haven't read the book, Liz, but I've seen so many tweets about this series that I'd like to at least give the first episode a try. Thanks for linking the website for those of us who don't get the channel :)

    Also, Iol, I like the last picture ;)

    1. I haven't read the book either, so you're not alone! I kept hearing praise about the series on Twitter so I checked out the show & really enjoyed it! I hope you give Outlander a try too. :)

  4. I am very pleased with the series but the books are even better!