Outlander

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Outlander TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Haunting romantic drama has graphic sex and violence.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 39 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 23 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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.

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythinkcarefully April 20, 2016

Sexual dysfunction and physical torture

I am not familiar with the Outlander books, but saw so many promotional pieces and interviews, and read so many positive reviews that I was very interested to s... Continue reading
Adult Written bynofanofmine June 25, 2019

Disturbing, dark and vulgar

Please do not allow children to watch this. I almost didn't continue after the first episode but curiosity got the best of me. I was surprised by the amoun... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySmiles577 March 10, 2017

A 13 year olds opinion

Kids: No
Adults: Heck Yeah!
I absolutely love/am obsessed with this series! I'm mature for a younger person and will admit that I probably shouldn't... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byRavenGirl May 13, 2016

Incredibly sexual

I'm 13 and started watching this series, it's really good and interesting but all the way through. There are incredibly graphic scenes of sex and bad... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love romance

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