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Hercules Says Ron Moore’s OUTLANDER Is Way Better Than Ron Moore’s HELIX But Not Better Than Ron Moore’s BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!!

I am – Hercules!!

A reasonably compelling time travel drama about a married World War II combat nurse who finds herself whisked from postwar 1945 Scotland to war-torn 1743 Scotland, “Outlander” comes to Starz from Sci-Fi’s “Battlestar Galactica” mastermind Ronald D. Moore, adapting the bestselling 1991 novel by Diana Galbaldon.

Besides Moore, writers on the project include Ira Steven Behr (Moore’s old boss on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), Toni Graphia (who worked with Moore on “Galactica,” “Roswell,” and “Carnivale”), Matthew Roberts (who worked with Moore on “Caprica”) and Anne Kenney (“L.A. Law,” “Greek,” “Switched At Birth”). That’s a lineup that will keep me watching this series for a good long time.

Claire Randall, the series’ heroine, finds herself rocketed back in time when she gets too close to a sizeable Druid relic. When she arrives in the past, she finds herself menaced by – among many other things – one of her husband’s English ancestors. (Both men are played by “Rome”/“Game of Thrones”/“The Honorable Woman” vet Tobias Menzies, who always reminds me of a young Alan Rickman.)

The most fun in the pilot is watching its heroine prove herself to her Scottish captor/protectors by healing them with medical knowhow from 200 years in the future.

Moore apparently made a lot more changes when he dragged the 1970s “Galactica” into the 21st century than he did while adapting Galbaldon’s novel; he seems to surrender to the book so completely, I wonder if anyone could guess he was writing this series were his name not in the titles.

Hitfix says:

... exceedingly watchable and has far more on its mind than counting down to the ripping of bodices. … I've heard complaints that the show moves slowly — the premiere, for instance, spends a whole lot of time in the 1940s before Claire becomes a time-traveler — but to me the show didn't drag. … by far the best of these Starz costume dramas I've seen. It knows the stories it wants to tell and the strongest way to tell them. I haven't read Gabaldon's books and can't speak for the show's fidelity to them, but "Outlander" feels like it can have an audience far beyond those who have already read Claire and Jamie's adventures in print.

HuffPost TV says:

... The premiere is engaging enough and the sixth episode is mesmerizing from start to finish, but sections of other episodes meander and sag. … There are times when "Outlander" shows glimmerings of that vitality and emotional depth, and if we're lucky, this earnest drama will keep heading in that direction. …

Time says:

... the most promising show in years for Starz, which since Party Down’s glory days has focused on blood-heavy spectacles like Spartacus and Black Sails … I haven’t read the source books, so I can offer no spoilers, though there are hints that Outlander is not nearly finished with its time-jumping convolutions. To a non-reader, it’s not necessarily clear, half a dozen episodes in, what kind(s) of story Outlander will turn out to be. But there’s enough to enjoy that you may not mind Claire taking her time and figuring it out.

The New York Times says:

... Ms. Balfe, Mr. Heughan and Tobias Menzies as the modern husband (who also pops up, inconveniently, in 1743) acquit themselves well, sharing the screen with the scenery and costumes and keeping straight faces through all the fantasy-romance conceits. They seem to be having a good time, and if you have a weakness for muskets, accents and the occasional roll in the heather, you probably will too.

The Los Angeles Times says:

... I like "Outlander" very much. It looks beautiful (Scotland, take a bow), the writing is smart — the dialogue supports the longer scenes — and the performances first-rate. …

The Washington Post says:

... Despite its pulp-romance trappings and slightly silly sci-fi premise, “Outlander” is serious business, and it immediately behaves like a ship-shape television series. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... For fellow non-novel devotees, “Outlander” will likely seem like a snore at the outset. … “Outlander” does improve episode by episode. Situations change so Claire goes from being reactive to becoming an active participant in the happenings around her. But the series always falls back on Claire’s narration, which probably won’t bother fans of the book — this dialogue often sounds ripped from a novel — but may seem like a crutch to non-devotees. (Even beyond the narration, “Outlander” is super talky, so viewers expecting nonstop action may be disappointed.)

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... Fans of the books won't need any help suspending disbelief when the first of 16 initial episodes airs Saturday, but other viewers may. That said, once they buy into the richly charactered story, it'll be an even bigger challenge to let go. … The not so secret hook of "Outlander" is that the longer Claire hangs out in the 18th century, the less we want to see her back in her own time. Maybe she's beginning to feel the same way.

The Boston Globe says:

... It’s not bad, but then it’s not good enough to inspire loyal viewership when there are so many other compelling series to watch. Readers of the novels may feel a stronger impulse to lock in; for me, the show is mildly entertaining at best, with a few pluses — unusual story lines, particularly the one set after World War II, some gorgeous scenery, and one or two likable performances — counterbalanced by a few negatives. Least tolerable among the negatives: the occasional Harlequin Romance moments that have you waiting for the lass to shed her corset while the evening wind blows through Fabio’s hair.

TV Guide says:

... promises to bring Starz the Game of Thrones-level buzz the network has strived to achieve since the more lurid Spartacus laid its bloody swords and sandals to rest. Nowhere near as gratuitous in its sexual or violent content — though there is enough of both to remind you this isn't your typical Masterpiece Classic — Outlander may sweep you away in a mist of woozy passion. There are worse ways to spend a summer weekend night, or nights. …

USA Today says:

... absorbing … filled with promise and pleasure … The swords and the muck may bring Game of Thrones to mind, but where Game has no heroes, Outlander has at least three, with the foremost being the one Balfe imbues with beauty, brains and spunk. And where Game is a war tale set in a dystopian fantasy world, Outlander is a romantic adventure set in a real place — and shot there to boot, which helps enormously. …

Variety says:

... a bit of a snooze — handsome, yes, but about as dramatically compelling as the cover of a Harlequin Romance, and too flaccid to make hearts go pitter-pat.

The Hollywood Reporter says:

... Outlander is an interesting concept and is well-executed, too — a series from Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore that (according to Gabaldon, at least) successfully translates her sprawling romantic storylines to the small screen. … But Outlander's lack of forward momentum is impossible to ignore. After the first hour, the series slows noticeably and maddeningly. Although there's a "wait until the sixth episode" enticement surrounding the show (and that episode does pick up the pace and partly change the direction), it's not like Outlander suddenly turns into 24 or something. Basically, the pace you get is the pace you get. …

9 p.m. Saturday. Starz.

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