Outlander: Seasons 1-5 Collection (DVD) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Episodes: 68
Duration: approx 55 min (per episode)

Outlander: Seasons 1-5 Collection (DVD) – Series Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Sceneries, Concept, Overall story value
Bad: Overdose on sex scenes, Doesn't know what it wants to do with its own plot
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Outlander has been going quite strong since it began airing back in 2014. The fantasy drama that involved time travel won over the hearts of many with its story, its stunning landscapes and the overall concept of the series. Nonetheless, five seasons further down the line, it may be hard to catch up on the series if you don’t own specific streaming subscriptions. Even though the series is not done telling its story, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has bundled the first five seasons into a convenient collection with loads of bonus footage for you to enjoy. We were lucky enough to receive such a boxset and see how well this outlandish tale still holds up after nearly six years.

The Outlander box looks quite nice. You’ll have a somewhat modest-looking sleeve, with a circular picture on the front, that blends together all the different pictures of the different season covers. The back of the box provides basic information and still looks quite qualitative. When looking at the open side of the sleeve, you see five different DVD cases, which all have a different layout, appearance and even different font sizes and placements of the small pictograms. It’s clear that this is one of those boxes that combines the excess stock into one attractive package for those who are on the fence about buying a physical copy. This feeling is then even more empowered when looking inside the different cases, as some have pictures printed on the discs, while others are just plain white discs with some lettering on them. This mélange of discs and cases makes the overall appearance a bit bleaker, but it still looks clean enough, especially when stored away in the cardboard sleeve.

As it’s hard to dive into a story that has expanded over the course of five seasons, we’ll keep the premise quite simple for this collection. The series revolves around Claire (Caitriona Balfe) who was a combat nurse during the Second World War. After the war is over, she tries to reconnect with her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies). They get along quite nicely, even if we mainly see their bedroom activities rather than them actually bonding. Nonetheless, when Claire goes out on a small excursion on her own to the stones of Craig na Dun, she finds herself transported back in town to the 18th century. She first has to escape the clutches of a redcoat captain, only to be taken as a prisoner by Scottish rebels. While this may be an overly crude depiction of the story, it eventually becomes so that these rebels are actually fighting for a right cause, while you can already see a new love interest appear in Claire’s life from the very first episode. Some things are quite predictable, while others do hold a few surprises. The series does have the Walking Dead disease, where everything that can go wrong, when you think it will go wrong, will go wrong.

There are actually two things that somehow irked us when watching Outlander and that is that the series doesn’t know how to pace itself or what direction it wants to go at times. Sometimes we get bombarded with one sex scene after the other, making it awkward to watch, coming only second to an actual porn site. This influx of explicit sex scenes came to life with the arrival of Game of Thrones, and while it had a certain shock value, it is just getting quite tedious by now. We are not prudes and don’t mind seeing people make love on screen, but sometimes taking away fifteen minutes from an episode might be a bit much. The second problem with the series is, well, Claire herself at times. Even in 1945, she is very progressive, which is not a bad thing but to apply it in the 18th century, and then actually expect everyone to bow down and respect her is another thing. The latter makes a lot of scenes feel unnatural, especially when men, who clearly are no strangers to abuse and rape, suddenly respect her for whining every step of the way. Again, we feel that everyone should be respected for who they are regardless of their sex, sexual preferences or origin, but applying this to an 18th-century setting doesn’t feel realistic, especially if one woman, who often does the worst action possible in certain situations, could sway the opinions of an entire community.

It’s hard to talk too much about the acting, as a lot of actors and actresses pass the revue during a five-season span. Nonetheless, the lead is played by Caitriona Balfe. She does a formidable job in portraying her character, but the creators of the show have made things hard for her. As stated above, they included a lot of modern views for her character, which is fine, but does not always work given the setting of the show. Nonetheless, she does a good job. Her biggest co-star is Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser. Again, his character is somewhat like Caitriona’s, where his views don’t always match the time period in which the series situates itself. The performance is more than alright and both cast members also look very appealing to the eye. There have been a lot of supporting cast members throughout the series, some being present for more than one season. These side-characters always find a proper match with a decent actor/actress, and feel qualitative as well. Some very tiny roles do feel a bit more shallow in terms of acting skills.

The Outlander box comes with over fourteen hours of special features; some more impressive than others. You’ll have a lot of podcasts to plow through, which might not always tickle your fancy. Other content is actually very nice to watch, especially those that revolve around the decors or the creative process behind the series. Outlander is a very pretty series and it shows, it also shows that a lot of work went into it and that it’s not the retelling of a few books. The only annoying part of the extra features is that they are spread over all the discs, making it somewhat tedious if you want to watch a season (or the series) first and then go for the extras.

Conclusion

This collection of the first five seasons of Outlander is a nice box set if you don’t own the series yet, don’t have a streaming platform where it is available and if you adore having a lot of bonus material to watch. The series is certainly worth the watch, but it sometimes struggles at finding its pacing and does have an abundance of sex scenes to distract you from said issue. We believe the series did jump about the Game of Thrones hype-train by trying to be explicit, but the story itself and the acting performances are actually more than good enough to do without said measures.

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Outlander: Seasons 1-5 Collection (DVD) - Series Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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