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5 Things Outlander Fans Need to Know About the Show

Aug 8 2014 - 7:00pm

Diana Gabaldon's bestselling series Outlander makes it to the small screen on Aug. 9 — this Saturday — on Starz, and while we'd seen some steamy pictures [1], nothing compares to watching the actual show. We've gotten a sneak peek at the first episode, and we have a lot to tell fans of the books. Find out answers to what you've probably been wondering about the adaptation of the beloved series!

Courtesy of Starz [2]

The Show Is Sexier Than the Books

Yes, things get very hot between Claire and Jamie in the books, but in the first episode, we're introduced to Claire and Frank. While the books talk about the married couple's active sex life, in retrospect, it's a little clinical on the page compared to the show. These two have racier scenes on the show than in the first book, and much of that is due to the fact that Starz can show nudity. It's not quite Game of Thrones, but it is very steamy and sensuous.

Courtesy of Starz [3]

The Casting Is Excellent

The two leads who play Claire and Jamie, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, are both relatively unknown, but that works to their advantage. They each embody their characters, and neither of them is an easy one (Claire is an unwitting time-traveler; Jamie's an authentic 18th-century Scottish warrior). In particular, Balfe handles Claire's bewilderment with the requisite complexity, and Heughan makes Jamie tough, sensitive, and very sexy [4]. I know it might be hard to tell in the photos [5], but trust me — Heughan is pretty scorching under that tartan (and frequently shirtless [6]).

Courtesy of Starz [7]

There's a Treat If You're a Game of Thrones Fan

If you recognize the man who plays Claire's husband, Frank, in the '40s, Tobias Menzies, you're probably a Game of Thrones fan. Menzies (who plays both Frank and his ancestor, Black Jack Randall) is also Edmure Tully, Catelyn's brother (it's his nuptials that turn into the Red Wedding).

It's More Eerie Onscreen

The pilot hosts a variety of tones — it's a time-travel period romance, so that's to be expected — but my favorite moments are the eerie ones. The scene where a dark figure shows up in the '40s staring up at Claire on a rainy night isn't so scary in the book, but it's spine-chilling to watch. Plus, Claire's disappearance (which I worried could be clumsy or cheesily translated) is handled beautifully, and it's creepy but fascinating.

Courtesy of Starz [8]

It's Really Good

The question every book fan has must be this: Is the show good? It is. The first episode introduces us to Claire, her life in the 1940s, and then her sudden disappearance into 18th-century Scotland, and it's so compelling that you're dying for the next episode, even if you know what happens next. The visual answer to the literal picture has been fulfilled in a satisfying way. Book fans should be pleased, while newbies will be hooked as well.

Courtesy of Starz [9]

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