Feeding the healthy appetite for women’s fare, Starz is renewing for a second season romantic time travel adventure “Outlander,” based on the bestsellers by Diana Gabaldon, which debuted well its first week with 5 million views and a No. 1 Nielsen Twitter Rating for its first day. It was helped by a boost from a one-week free posting on YouTube of the pilot episode that was sampled over 1 million times. Other advance signs of (largely female) viewer interest: plenty of fan fiction sites, Scotland tours, and a well-attended premiere and screening at Comic-Con.
In the first episode, our narrator Claire, a smart and capable war-toughened English combat nurse (Irish actress Caitriona Balfe) recovering from the rigors of World War II in 1945, tries to reconnect with her battle weary husband Frank (Tobias Menzies) on a Scotland vacation. “There’s no place on Earth with more magic and superstition mixed into its daily life than the Scottish Highlands,” Frank tells Claire. Sure enough, on a visit to a set of Druid standing stones, she is whisked back in time to 1743, where she tends the wounds of Jamie Fraser (Scottish actor Sam Heughan), a protective well-muscled Scottish fighter, and tries to find a way to return to the present –as she falls in love in the past. “My husband is not alive,” she admits to him, and herself.