Outlander Season Three

out3One of the odd things about watching Outlander is that it’s one of those shows which no-one else in my social circle is watching. Which is weird, considering how ‘big’ a cultural event the series is worldwide and how popular the books are. No doubt much of the cause of this is the fragmented state of television distribution these days, and this being on Amazon Prime over here. I can only imagine what it would be like in the old days when something like this might have aired on a major terrestrial broadcaster like the BBC. Its surely what they call ‘watercooler television’, but I have to wonder how much of a thing that even is these days, with some shows isolated by their distribution in certain territories

So it often feels like I watch Outlander in a total vacuum. Imagine watching Game of Thrones and knowing no-else who was watching it. No rumours to discuss, revelations to marvel at, no spoilers to avoid from those who have already seen episodes or read the source books. Even just the experience of being outside the fanbase. I’m well aware that Outlander is very popular, but all of that seems to be outside of my cultural ‘bubble’. I feel so feel remote from it, a benefit is that avoiding spoilers is the easiest thing in the world, but a negative is that I suspect I’m missing out on some of the fun. And who doesn’t like sharing their favourite shows?

So here we have season three of Outlander, and yes, it is very good and well worth watching, in some ways a contender to Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and other popular juggernauts of the tv landscape. It is extremely well made, with a great cast and very good scripts. I gather it follows the books rather closely, and each season, while following an overall arc, does seem pleasantly self-contained with satisfying conclusions to the interior minor arcs of each season. Also there is a fairly distinct difference between seasons which makes the show fresh and interesting- Season 2 went to France and Season three goes on the high seas with nautical episodes, eventually winding up in the West Indies. Again, this is no doubt from following the books and the books themselves taking the lead in moving plot and setting forward (twenty years have occured between the start of season one and the end of season three- compare that to the lack of progression that hurts The Walking Dead over, what, eight seasons now?).

It also is blessed with a musical score by Bear McCreary that clearly demonstrates how much Game of Thrones is sorely lacking musically. Its big. lyrical, emotional, and perhaps while not as astounding as his BSG work remains one of the highlights of his career and for television scoring in general. Many movies (particularly the Marvel ones) could benefit from scoring like this. Outlander has a musical identity that is unique to itself and the soundtrack releases are well worth checking out.

3 thoughts on “Outlander Season Three

  1. I stopped reading halfway, just in case I ever do start watching this (you never know), but that fragmented viewership has certainly changed the way we engage with TV. Even Game of Thrones took a good couple of years to be anything like the juggernaut it is today, and how many other shows can claim to be on a similar level? For a lot of things, you really have to seek out other people who are watching it if you want to talk about it. I suppose at least nowadays we can do exactly that.

  2. Alastair Savage

    I watch it in Spain where lots of people are hooked on the show. It definitely has a fragmented viewer base. We have to wait for the DVD to come out so we see it long after anyone else. Nevertheless, I am so pleased to be able to avoid all those spoilers – British newspapers and Buzzfeed are the worst for Game of Thrones. I particularly despair of those story headlines which say ‘spoiler warning’ but have a massive photo showing exactly what it going to happen next!

    1. Yeah, its certainly an arcane art avoiding spoilers in this day and age. Thanks for your comment, glad to hear from others as keen on this show as I am, it is indeed a fragmented viewer base due to its distribution, something happening more and more as time goes on. Sadly more and more quality shows risk falling through the cracks.

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