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Outlander: Season Two (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 6, 2016 by  



“Outlander” is one of the most awesome shows on television. The second series manages to escape sophomore doldrums by featuring an exciting storyline, wonderful setting and costume design and also finding a fine balance between various timelines.  Sexy, captivating and an exciting adventure series, “Outlander: Season Two” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Outlander: Season Two

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: Episodes 17-29 (773 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2016


Directed by Metin Huseyin, Mike Barker, Philip John, Douglas Mackinnon, Brendan Maher

Written by Diana Gabaldon, Ronald D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr, Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney, Matthew B. Roberts, Richard Kahan

Executive Producer: Ronald D. Moore, Jim Kohlberg

Produced by David Brown, Matthew B. Roberts

Co-Executive Producer: Ira Steven Behr, Maril Davis, Paulo De Oliveira, Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney

Music by Bear Mcreary

Cinematography by Neville Kidd, Martin Fuhrer, Denis Crossan, David Higgs, Stephen McNutt

Edited by Michael O’Halloran, Liza Cardinale, Melissa Lawson Cheung

Casting by Suzanne Smith

Production Design by Jon Gary Steele

Art Direction by Emer O’Sullivan, Zoe Wight

Set Decoration by Gina Cromwell

Costume Design by Terry Dresbach, Glenne Campbell


Starring:

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser

Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fraser

Graham McTavish as Dougal Mackenzie

Romann Berrux as Fergus

Andrew Gower as Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall

Grant O’Rourke as Rupert Mackenzie

Stephen Walters as Angus Mhor

Gary Lewis as Colum Mackenzie

Lotte Verbek as Geillis Duncan

Nell Hudson as Laoghaire Mackenzie

Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan

Stanley Weber as Comte St. Germain

Rosie Day as Mary Hawkins

Scott Kyle as Ross

James Fleet as Reverend Wakefield

Robbie McIntosh as Magnus

Dominique Pinon as Master Raymond

Laura Donnelly as Jenny Fraser

Simon Callow as Duke of  Sandringham

Claire Sermonne as Louise de Rohan

Michele Belgrand as Madame Elise


Claire and Jamie arrive in France, hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart and stopping the battle of Culloden. With the help of Jamie’s cousin, they are thrown into the lavish world of French society, where intrigue and parties are abundant but political gain proves far less fruitful. Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship – but, armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.


As Claire tried to prevent the Battle of Culloden and tells Jamie that he is pregnant, unfortunately for Claire, she wakes up at Craigh Na Dun, two years after her original timeline to find out that the Scots were defeated in the Battle of Culloden.

She grieves that she won’t see or be with Jamie and she is reunited with Frank.  While Claire tells Frank the truth of where she had been and that she is pregnant, Frank is deeply hurt but agrees to raise the child as long as Claire puts what happened to her, all behind.

As Claire and Frank restart their marriage in Paris, Claire reminisces when she and Jamie went to France back in 1744 and meets Jamie’s Jacobite cousin, Jared Fraser and becoming an enemy of the Comte St. Germain.  Can she and Jamie help stop the Jacobite Rebellion?

All this and more in second season of “Outlander”!

What is “The Outlander” about?

Based on the best-selling “Outlander” series novels by Diana Gabaldon, a 29-episode series created by Ronald D. Moore (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Battlestar Galactica”) would air on the Starz cable network.

The series stars Caitriona Balfe (“Now You See Me”, “Super 8”, “Escape Plan”), Sam Heughan (“A Princess for Christmas”, “A Very British Sex Scandal”), Duncan Lacroix (“Vikings”, “Game of Thrones”), Graham McTavish (“The Hobbit” films, “Rambo”) and Tobias Menzies (“Casino Royale”, “Atonement”, “Finding Neverland”).

“Outlander” began with Claire Randall (portrayed by Caitriona Balfe), a World War II combat nurse visiting Inverness, Scotland with her loving husband, Jonathan Randall (portrayed by Tobias Menzies).  The two are deeply in love and while observing a modern Druid ritual on the hill of Craigh na Dun, Claire hears a strange noise emanating from the stones.

As Claire goes to reach for it, she instantly finds herself nearly 300 years earlier in time, during the skirmish between the Redcoasts (British) and the Highlander (Scottish) rebels.  While she sees a man that looks exactly like Jonathan, the man is the cruel and sinister, “Black Jack” Randall, Captain of His Majesty’s Dragoons.

As he is about to rape Claire, she is saved by a Scotsman and befriends Jamie Fraser (portrayed by Sam Heughan) and travels with the Highlanders as their nurse.

Of course, because she is not Scottish, the Highlanders treat her as a spy and don’t trust her and think she is an English spy.

As Claire tries to acclimate herself with her new setting and not sure why she has traveled back to the past and must do all she can to make sure the Highlanders think she is from their era, Claire must be careful.  Especially from the British, especially Black Jack Randall.

With the second season, as Claire and Jamie have become close and she is pregnant, she awakens in 1946 to find out that the Scots were defeated and now, Claire must return back to her original life and her husband.

But as she and her husband Frank move to France, Claire reminisces of her adventures with Jamie when they went to France in 1744 to stop the Jacobite rebellion.  Can they do it?


VIDEO:

“Outlander” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The series looks very good in HD as closeups show good detail especially for clothing.  Skintones look natural and the series looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Outlander” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The series features crystal clear dialogue and musical score.   With good use of surround channels for the ambiance and musical score.

Subtitles are in English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Outlander: Season Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Podcasts – Nearly each episode features a podcast with Ronald D. Moore and other cast and crew members. Please note that these podcasts function like audio commentary for each episode. (NOTE: You can access the podcast of each episode by highlighting episode selection)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – Each episode features deleted and extended scenes with introductions by Ronald D. Moore.  (NOTE: You can access the deleted and extended scenes of each episode by highlighting episode selection)
  • The Characters of Season 2 – (13:43) Featuring the new characters for the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Designing History: The Costumes of Outlander – (10:55) The cast and crew discuss the costumes featured in the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Recreating 18th Century Paris – (11:53) A featurette about building sets to feature 18th Century Paris for the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Gag Reel – (5:23) Outtakes from the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Jamie & Claire: To Hell and Back – (10:25) A featurette about the characters, Jamie and Claire for season two.
  • From Book to Screen: Discovering the Difference – (10:42) A featurette about the differences between the novel and the series.  And the process of debating of what makes it into the series and more.

EXTRAS:

“Outlander: Season Two” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet code.


How to top the first season is always a challenge for writers who create a successful series.

Based on a popular novel and featuring an adaptation that is not always perfect, writers have had to make sure that the storyline features a good balance of sex, romance, betrayal and tragedy but creating a storyline that can compliment Diana Gabaldon’s work.

The time travel storyline about a woman trapped hundreds of years in the past, not knowing how to get back home and trying to adjust to her new life is quite fascinating and I absolutely enjoyed “Outlander”!

When it comes to the work of Ronald D. Moore, so far, each of his sci-fi series have been entertaining and I’ve been big fans of the series (despite my feelings towards the latter season of “Battlestar Galactica”).  But when he creates a series, he knows how to get the viewers emotionally involved and making you want to watch episode after episode.

“Outlander” was quite interesting because I was expecting something along the lines of what we have seen in previous Moore series, a lot of visual effects, awesome costume design and cool and also sexy characters.  But with “Outlanders”, you get the awesome costume design, sexy characters but you also get a number of sex scenes and nudity and also, quite a bit of violence… so I’m kind of glad I didn’t watch the series with my child.

But it’s because of how mature, how well-written and how well-acted the series is, is what kept me captivated.  From not knowing what will happen to Claire Randall, as she travels with a group of men, many who look at her as a spy or like some piece of meat.  But despite being a sexual character earlier on, she’s also smart and strong and I love how she sticks up for herself, especially to other men who mistreat her.

In the first season, Claire is in a conundrum of being stuck in the past and not knowing if she can get back home.  To make things worse, her husband in present-time, his ancestor hundreds of years ago that looks exactly like him, is the ultimate jerk.

Caitriona Balfe absolutely shines as the protagonist Claire Randall and her performance is heightened with the casting of Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser and Tobias Menzies as “Black Jack” Randall.  But the addition of Stanley Weber as the new antagonist for season three as Comte St. Germain and the introductions of characters such as Claire Sermonne as Louise de Rohan but also a step into the future with Sophie Skelton as Brianna and Richard Rankin as Roger Wakefield adds to the growing but excellent cast of the series.

Season two no doubt tops the previous season with its setting in 18th Century, Paris, France. The costume design by Terry Dresbach and Glenne Campbell is fantastic!

The storyline of Claire and Jamie working together in late 1700 Paris, France to stop the Jacobite Rebellion was rather intriguing.  But also the continuing of what took place at the Battle of Culloden and how Claire woke up back in the 1940’s.

But without spoiling the final episode of season two, the storyline will no doubt peak the interest of loyal fans of the series and set things up for the third and fourth season on Starz.

The Blu-ray release of “Outlander” features fantastic picture quality with great details of closeups and skintones and colors are also fantastic.  While dialogue, musical composition and ambiance are crystal clear.  And another fantastic inclusion are the many special features, podcasts (audio commentaries for nearly each episode) and more.

Overall, “Outlander” is one of the most awesome shows on television.  The second series manages to escape sophomore doldrums by featuring an exciting storyline, wonderful setting and costume design and also finding a fine balance between various timelines.

Sexy, captivating and an exciting adventure series, “Outlander: Season Two” is highly recommended!

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