Why Outlander Is The Best Thing on Television Right Now

So unless you live under a rock à la social media, you’ve probably seen a big push lately for a show called Outlander. If you need a memory jog, all the ads and trailers seem to feature two gloriously attractive leads wearing period pieces, covered in mud and staring wistfully off into the distance together.

While I get that this can start to seem like an eyewash, let me assure you that Outlander is one of the best things on TV right now. Powerhouse performances, beautiful character development, stunning costumes and, most importantly, it is feminist ! as ! fuq !

This week, I’m gonna lay out why Outlander is so incredible and prove that it is the unproblematic period piece for which your BBC-apologetic ass has been looking.

So. The basic premise is that an English woman, Claire, is sent back in time to 1743 from her life in the 1940s, after just finishing WWII as a nurse. All of a sudden, she has to put up with the eighteenth century Scottish rebellion as a woman, a foreigner and someone who is two hundred years displaced from her time.

Basically, there’s a lot of room for her to be a good ol’ forties housewife, puttering around the moors in a pretty dress and fretting over the state of this ever-violent, ever-war-torn environment, but that is the exact opposite of how it goes.

My girl, Claire, has freshly arrived from the trenches armed with ferocious Hippocratic empathy and extensive medical know-how, a belligerent sense of justice and the guts to back herself up every single time.

What I love most is that the show gives the female lead the right to charge into a situation and start barking orders, and everyone listens to her. Surrounded by highland warriors armed to the teeth with guns and knives, the moment blood’s on the scene, they all shut up and do what she tells them because she is a doctor and she knows what to do.

In most pieces, the “modern-minded” woman would have been the show’s token nod to feminism, but would ultimately have been shut down by all the menfolk because “that’s just how things were back then.”

Outlander does not put up with that. Claire is in charge and doesn’t have to navigate womanhood by constantly fighting for basic respect. Instead, she challenges people, earns respect and the whole show moves TF on about it.

They also do not f*ck around about toxic masculinity. Sure, it’s the Scottish Revolution, so there are definitely the boys-will-be-boys hunting and fighting montages, but a moment later, we’ll have scenes of men holding other men while they die, openly weeping and giving gentle forehead kisses to dying friends. Men who love their wives and children tenderly and proudly. Men who sit up all night watching the rise and fall of a loved one’s labored breathing, just to be safe.

The opening episode this season even included a scene between two male characters who have both been sexually assaulted on the show opening up to one another about how complicated it is to deal with ideas of strength and independence in the midst of rape culture. And this is set in the 1760s.

Networks can miss me with that “it’s just how things were done then” sh*t.

Basically, Outlander does its absolute damnedest to cover all the bases, and boy, am I happy watching it. And right now is the perfect moment for you to jump in. The first three seasons are already out and they move fast, so you’re just in time to catch up with new season premiering! See you there, sassenachs!