Outlander TV Poster Image

Outlander

Haunting romantic drama has graphic sex and violence.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Battle and bloodshed are frequent on the show, as is romance, which sends a message that love is inextricably mixed with drama. Chivalry, liberty, and love of country is frequently championed, but these ends are usually accomplished through violent means.

Positive role models

The central characters are smart, strong-willed people who live passionately and want to do what's right. There's some infidelity, but it's complicated by the time-travel aspect.

Violence

Infrequent but gory scenes of injury and surgery, including squirting blood, internal organs, and a man screaming in pain. Battles are frequent and frightening; weapons including guns, swords, clubs, and knives are used.

Sex

Sex is frequent and quite explicit with breasts and buttocks bared, thrusting, moaning, and oral sex graphically implied. A woman marries two men, due to time-travel factors. 

Language

Infrequent cursing: "hell," "damn." A woman frequently utters the oath "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ."

Consumerism

The series is based on a book series, which viewers may want to read after watching the show.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters frequently drink and refer to being drunk; this all happens in a historical setting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Outlander is an intense period drama based on a popular series of romance novels and features frequent, graphic sex. Expect bared body parts, moaning, thrusting, and discussion of infidelity. The series takes place in a historical wartime setting with plentiful battlefield scenes and very gory injuries, with squirting blood, internal organs, and soldiers screaming in pain. Mild curses are infrequent, but a character frequently utters "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ," which some might find offensive.

What's the story?

In the Scottish Highlands where her husband takes her for a second honeymoon, former WWII nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) is an OUTLANDER, an English woman in a place where the locals have a rather complicated history with the English. She finds out about this history firsthand when she's investigating the medicinal plants in a mysterious location her historian husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) is researching. She hears a buzzing sound...and she experiences the sensation of falling through glass. When she awakes, she's traveled back through time, to 18th-century Scotland where a group of native rebels are battling the hated British Army. Alone and with nothing, Claire must find her way. Thankfully, at least one of the rebels, handsome soldier Jamie MacTavish (Sam Heughan), seems willing to help her feel at home in this strange, new (or is it old?) land.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

The Outlander series of novels has been reliably standing its readers' hairs on end since the early 1990s, and ardent fans can breathe a sigh of relief: This is a faithful and wonderful adaptation of rich and beloved source material. The casting is particularly choice, with a brooding light/dark Jamie with magnetism, a sweet and sexy Frank, and, best of all, the sumptuous Caitriona Balfe as Claire. She's as strong, compelling, and interesting as the Claire realized in Diana Gabaldon's book series, a woman of sulks and rages and a childlike sense of fun. She's a complicated woman, in a medium that doesn't often feature complicated women.

Thus, women in particular likely will be drawn to Outlander, with the juicy internal conflict Claire faces: Is it OK to get comfy in the 18th century with Jamie when her real husband, Frank, is waiting for her back in the present day? Will she ever get back there? Why is she here, anyway? This could all be eye-rollingly silly stuff, but, with dialogue and scenes lifted directly from the terrific novels and compelling actors emoting, Outlander is the very best kind of television (for adults, at least): quality that's also an addictive pleasure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about who Outlander is aimed at. Teenagers? People in their 80s? People of another age? Men? Women? Children? How can you tell?

  • The main character in Outlander is Claire Randall, a woman. Is it typical that a woman is the lead character on a TV drama? What are some other shows that center on one woman? How are they like Outlander? How are they different?

  • Where do you think Outlander was shot? Was it shot, as the majority of shows are, in a studio in Los Angeles? How can you tell? What does it add to the show to have realistic outdoor footage?

TV details

Premiere date:August 9, 2014
Cast:Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies
Network:Starz
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Educator Written byThurzday Next August 3, 2014

Definitely adult-only material.

The Outlander series produced by the Starz network is based on a book series by Diana Gabaldon, who has written 8 of them, so far (as of August, 2014). They are not romance novels, but are, rather, dramatic sagas that occur in relation to the main characters, Claire Beauchamp (Beecham) and Jamie Fraser. The books span continents and timelines, and give rather fascinating accounts of the wards occurring in each time span. Claire travels through the stones at Craigh na Dun, Scotland, to a time when Bonny Prince Charles is staking his claim, and the Scottish Highlands are teeming with English dragoons (soldiers). In these books, you get historical fiction, a variety of Scottish phrases, and both heartwarming and heartbreaking stories. All are peppered with themes involving family, loyalty, and honor. This series is not to be missed by the reader who wants to be absorbed in a good story.
Teen, 15 years old Written byLondonnn December 14, 2014
This show is appropriate for the mature teen. They do often show women with exposed breasts and butts, but for many of us we have already seen partial nudity. It also involves many almost rape scenes. Jamie Fraser is a great role model as well. He is a very inspirational character who displays great morals in difficult times. This show is amazing
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bySadman February 11, 2016

Prime example of oversexualization of TV

I really wanted to be enthusiastic about this show. The time-displaced romance, the characters, the history. But it's spoiled with today's preoccupation over needing to show the most explicit sex possible in order to tell a story. If you'll pardon the expression, it was a real turn off for me. My 4-star rating is for the quality of the production, but in the future when sex scenes become standard even in family shows, it'll be in part on to shows like Outlander that we'll have to lay the blame. Ditto the violence. Sometimes I think the extra violence is put in there so they can guilt-trip viewers into accepting the sex because otherwise they get frowned upon for being OK with the violence. How about showing some restraint with both for once?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex