TV boxset of the week: Outlander

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A WEEKLY guide to the best TV boxset available to stream right now. This time find out all you need to know about ‘Scotland’s answer to Game of Thrones’, Outlander

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Caitriona Balfe in Outlander. Picture: AP

Caitriona Balfe in Outlander. Picture: AP

Based on a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, historical time travel drama Outlander explores the themes of love and war across multiple time periods. In 1945 main character and Second World War-era nurse, Claire Randall, visits the standing stones at Craigh na Dun in Inverness during a holiday with her husband, Frank. While there, Claire faints and is somehow transported back in time to the same location – a couple of hundred years earlier in 1743.

Unable to return to her husband, Claire is thrown into the midst of a fierce struggle between the British Red Coats and a group of rebel Scottish Highlanders. Taken under the wing of Scottish soldier Jamie Fraser, the nurse must decide whether to attempt to return to Frank or stay in the 18th century with Jamie.

WHO’S IN IT?

Author Diana Gabaldon has praised the makers of Outlander for sticking so faithfully to her character descriptions when casting and directing the programme - compliments don’t come much bigger than that. Irish actress Caitriona Balfe takes on her first starring role as protagonist Claire, with Dumfries and Galloway-born Sam Heughan perfectly capturing the essence of Scottish-to-the-bone Jamie. Balfe and Heughan have been commended for their strong on-screen chemistry.

Tobias Menzies, who has appeared in Game of Thrones, portrays both Claire’s husband Frank Randall and Frank’s villainous ancestor Jonathan ‘Black Jack’ Randall in Outlander. While the lack of big names may initially put some TV fans off, this talented cast will remind you that a long CV isn’t everything when it comes to acting.

IS IT WORTH WATCHING?

A nearly unanimous thumbs up from the nation’s critics, TV bloggers and audiences around the world can’t be ignored - Outlander is a hit. The first eight episodes averaged more than five million views each on their release and the majority of reviewers agreed that the show was a faithfully adapted, magical masterpiece.

WHERE CAN I WATCH IT?

All 16 episodes of Outlander series one are available to stream now on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Filming for the second installment, set in Paris, began in April 2015. Series two will become available on the same platform in Spring 2016.

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