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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Complete Season One


Starring: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish, Duncan Lacroix and Grant O'Rourke
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

5 050629 993615

Certificate: 18
Release Date: 26 October 2015

With the ending of World War Two, Frank and Claire are finally reunited and decide to spend time getting to know each other once more by taking a trip to Scotland. When they arrive, Claire senses that there is something odd about the place, but cannot understand what. On a solo trip into the countryside she happens across some standing stones. When she touches them she is thrown back to 1743 Scotland, a time and place which hold many dangers...

Outlander: The Complete Season One (2014. 16 eps x 59 mins approx.) is a science fiction/ historical love story developed by Ronald D. Moore (Star Trek, Galactica). The story is based on a series of book written by Diana Gabaldon. The score was provided by Bear McCreary.

When Clair (Caitriona Balfe) arrives she meets the two men who would affect her life the most. The first is ‘Black Jack’, an ancestor and the spitting image of her own husband Frank (Tobias Menzies), and Jamie (Sam Heughan), a hansom highlander.

Claire’s knowledge of history and her skills as a nurse earn her a place of safety at Castle Leoch, but it also prevents her from returning to the stones to try and get home. Over time she and Jamie fall in love and in order to protect her they marry. She finally comes to terms with the fact that she will never get back to Frank, but his ancestor ‘Black Jack’ remains a danger to both her and Jamie.

The show strove for, and achieved, a level of reality not often seen in a television program. If you don’t believe me sit through the extra about weaving cloth. Not only in sets but also the interactions between the characters are portrayed in a realistic manner. Now if this were a light drama, there would be little problem, but the show deals with sex, death and the violence of the age, including a number of rapes which are very difficult to watch.

That said, this is an astoundingly accomplished show, not just from the main cast but also from a very strong supporting cast. The show is confident to take its time in telling its story and even though it involves time travel, Moore and co have sensibly disposed of the mechanics to concentrate on the growing love between Clair and Jamie and the growing threat of ‘Black Jack’.

The set has a good range of extras, in most of the cases the titles pretty much describes the contents. Across the extras you get contributions from all the main cast and appropriate crew, including a lot of behind the scenes shots. I didn’t like the way the menus were constructed, or how you found certain items. There are numerous deleted scenes dotted throughout the package and on the sleeve these are listed under the extras, but do not appear there.

They do appear, however, under the episode selection and as a sub option of individual episodes. It makes some sense and works well by grouping episode specific material together, but I can see a lot of people being confused to begin with. That said there is so much material here, the extras, the hours of podcasts, the set lacks for nothing to please the most rabid fan.

Disc one:

Outlander: An Epic Adaptation (7 min, 12 sec) with Moore and cast giving a general introduction to the show and the book which spawned it, including the author, Diana Gabaldon, who admits that the idea sprung from seeing Jamie in Doctor Who.

Authentic in Design: The Dresses and Kilts of Outlander (6 min, 32 sec) once again the cast discuss their costumes, including contributions from Terry Dresbach, the costume designer for most of the series.

Casting Outlander (7 min, 10 sec) looks at the casting of the show. There is an oddity where disc one also lists the extras on disc two for no discernible reason. Likewise disc two also list disc one's extras.

Disc two:

On Location: Castle Leoch and Magic of Scotland (7 min, 02 sec) as we are taken around the show's original locations. One thing which didn’t occur to me when watching the show is that none of the castles or backgrounds are CGI. Castles are real castles, although they obviously dressed the sets.

Emerging a Scot: Cast Goes to Boot Camp (5 min, 49 sec) where the cast are taught to use their weapons and ride horses. The cast talk about the skills they acquired, mostly in dirty fighting.

A Walk through the Sets & Stages with Ronald D. Moore (6 min, 58 sec) and kindly Ron shows us around the sound stages.

Disc three:

And we remain in the strange world where the disc lists all the extras for the last three disc on every one and the listing does not match that which is printed on the sleeve, so what you do get is...

The Reckoning: Extended Episode with introduction by Ronald D. Moore (2 min, 15 sec) which is listed as an extra, but accessed through the episode selection menu. The actual episode overran the original planned time and this version represents more properly the episode as it was scripted (1 hr, 11 min, 13 sec). Also under the subsection for this extended episode you can access the Deleted Scenes with introductions by Ronald D. Moore (12 min, 53 sec) and the Outlander Podcasts.

Disc four:

Diana Gabaldon Tours Outlander (7 min, 53 sec) and the writer arrives on the set to see her world being brought to life.

Outlander Cast & Crew Table Read (5 min, 44 sec) and we get a peek at the cast having a read-through. It also kindly provides you with your own on-screen script so that you can follow what they are saying. Once again, if you dig into the submenus for individual episodes, you’ll find episode specific Deleted Scenes with introductions by Ronald D. Moore and Outlander Podcasts.

Disc five:

A Triangle in Time (9 min, 14 sec) takes a look at Claire’s quandary, once she is pulled into the past, unable to forget a husband not yet born and attracted to Jamie who may provide her with love.

Weaving Authentic: Making the Fabrics of Outlander (5 min, 12 sec) with an extra about how they wove their own materials this shows an attention to detail which is only matched by Lord of the Rings. So, if you want to see the looms used to make the costumes then, well here they are.

Gag Reel (4 min, 44 sec) and we have the usual collect of fluffed lines and silly japes. The disc also contains more deleted scenes and podcasts.

The set contains audio option for either an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio or a German 5.1 track with nine different subtitle options. The show is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1:78.1.

So in presentation, with its extras and the overall quality of the show, this is the perfect package for Outlander fans.


Charles Packer

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