Outlander, which is currently available for free from the Starz website. After that, episodes will air Saturday at 9:00 EST.
The Short Version
Breathtaking Scottish vistas—both flora and fauna, if you catch my meaning—abound in Ronald D. Moore’s adaptation of the bestselling Outlander series.
The Plot in a Nutshell
A WW2 nurse is sucked back through time and finds herself in 18th century Scotland.
Outlander is already being billed as the Game of Thrones for women—a phrase that misses the point rather wildly (since when do women not watch GoT? And since when do men not watch Ronald D. Moore shows?), but hints at the new show’s status as the likely Next Big Thing.
I was doubtful going into the first episode—the previews didn’t inspire any great faith—but I ended up pleasantly surprised. It’s hard to judge anything from one episode, but “Sassenach” demonstrated the show’s potential. In addition to the hunky Scotsmen and mystical Scottish hills, it featured several good performances (Tobias Menzies, playing Claire’s husband Frank, particularly stood out to me) and a number of smart dramatic decisions (Moore seems to have a real handle on the story that he wants to convey).
And to go back to that whole “Game of Thrones for women” thing, the episode was a hit with both myself and my husband. After all the rhetoric about Outlander as a series for women, and some fairly slighting comments in the media about it (one Vanity Fair article dubbed it a “bodice ripper”), I had myself been somehow snowed into thinking that this perhaps was not a show for men. Wrong, and how foolish I was to think so, even briefly. Bottom line: it’s a show with a lot of action and a lot of emotion, and Moore seems to know what he’s doing.
Feminine with a hint of tartan.
While you can’t go wrong sticking with Guinness, another option might be the Rob Roy, apparently created in honor of an operetta based (somewhat) on the story of Scottish hero Robert Roy MacGregor.
Stick to something hearty here—this is definitely the night for a steak and your favorite potatoes recipe. Finish the evening off with some delicious Scottish shortbread.