By Kate Spencer, Esquire.com
It's got time travel, battles, and butts—so many butts!
There's a reason the women in your life keep telling you to watch Outlander: It really is that good. Sure, it's a time traveling, historical fantasy show packed with romance, which doesn't sound like "your thing." But it's also a dark and gruesome look at one Great Britain's most vicious wars—not just for the throne, but for the soul of a people. And trust me: The time traveling, fantasy, romance stuff is pretty great too. Here are the reasons why Outlander needs to be the show you binge watch ASAP. (Tiny House Hunters will just have to wait.)
Outlander will bring your inner history nerd to life.
In the first episode, we meet Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) as she reconnects with her husband on vacation in Scotland after they both served in the British forces in World War II (she as a nurse, he as a soldier). During a visit to a Stonehenge-like rock formation, she's suddenly shot back in time to 1743, right smack in the the middle of a battle between the British redcoats and Scottish Clan MacKenzie fighters, one of whom just happens to be the particularly handsome and single Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). The history woven into the story is so fascinating that after one episode you'll be up all night Googling "Scottish-British Wars 1700s." Keep watching, and soon you'll be Amazon Prime-ing 500-hundred page history books about the Jacobite uprisings to your door. Impress the obnoxious war buffs in your life with your new, in-depth knowledge of Bonnie Prince Charlie!
The time-traveling twist brings the suspense to intense levels.
Think time travel is a lame trope not worth your precious viewing time? Think again. Not only does Claire know the fate of the Highlanders, but she's endowed with a wealth of information that works both in her favor—and against it. Watching her use her modern-day knowledge as a survival tool is one of the most exhilarating parts of the show, and will leave your finger nails whittled down into tiny stubs.
It has all the WTF plot twists of an episode of Game of Thrones, but is way less confusing.
Every Outlander episode will leave your face looking exactly like Munch's The Scream, but your brain will actually be able to comprehend what's going on. Imagine how good it will feel when you only have to follow one character's journey, as opposed to 829,495,020 Lannisters and a trio of unruly dragons.
Like battles, blood, and alpha-bros? Well, Outlander has a ton of 'em.
There's a reason the Game of Thrones comparison sticks. Outlander is not for the faint of heart, as it's packed with aggro, vengeful dudes—and women—who live and die by the sword. And the gun. And a whip or two. You get the (bloody) picture.
Claire is cooler than Don Draper.
Claire's constantly juggling her two identities,while navigating a new world as an imposter (sound familiar?) with genuine feelings for both her life in Scotland and her Highlander love interest. She's confidant, complex, and competent, and uses her savvy and smarts to save herself, Jamie, and—fingers crossed, no spoilers please—the Scottish people. And she's too busy kicking British ass to meditate, thank you very much.
The writing is smart, and the characters are complex, multi-dimensional humans.
It'd be easy to make a show about a bunch of stereotypical Scots without much to them besides kilts and booze. And yes — they do wear kilts and love their booze. But the characters who inhabit the Outlander world are nuanced, layered, and fully developed. One week you root for them, the next you despise them, but they'll always keep you hooked.
And then there's the sex.
Do you like butts? That was a trick question, because who doesn't like butts. The good news is that the people behind Outlander love butts more than the rest of us, and they've have put a ton of them in the show. Outlander's infamous sex scenes are so sensual and hot you'll rewind back to them when the episode's done and watch them over, and over, and over again. (Pro-tip: if you do this with your lover, it totally counts as foreplay.)
Outlander's main villain is the stuff of nightmares.
British Captain Jack Randall—played brilliantly by Tobias Menzies—is sadistic, cruel, ruthless, and, in a delightfully morbid twist, the direct ancestor of Claire's husband. Randall is one of the darkest characters on TV, and his obsession with Jamie simmers until it explodes in one of the hardest-to-watch and amazingly acted episodes of TV's "golden age."
You can binge on the books after you binge on the show.
Outlander originated as a eight-book series by Diana Gabaldon, a former science professor who quit her day job when her side project turned into a bestselling book series. Since its debut, Outlander has sold over 25 million copies and been translated into 34 languages. Become that jerk who lords knowledge about what's going to happen on the show over the fans who don't read the books.
You'll be one step closer to earning your Woke Bae badge.
Your DVR and Netflix queue are packed with shows about complex, conflicted (white) dudes living crazy lives. Why not add a strong, complex, sexually-empowered female protagonist into the mix?
The entire first season is available to watch for free on Starz's website.
Cancel your pick up game, call in sick to work, order some Seamless, and create a permanent imprint of your body on your couch. You won't regret it.