About a year ago, we reported that Ronald D. Moore, the godfather of SyFy’s successful Battlestar Galactica reboot, was adapting the Outlander book series for television. Moore would be working with Sony Pictures Television, who owned the rights to the books, and would pitch the concept to networks.
Now, Starz has made it official: the premium cable channel will partner with Sony to produce the series, and has ordered an initial season of 16-episodes. The show is to begin filming this fall in Scotland, for a premiere date in 2014.
The show will be based on the seven-book series by Diana Gabaldon, and “spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure in one grandiose tale.” Read the official synopsis here:
It follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
It’s a fittingly high-concept project for Moore, whose deep sci-fi background on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine made him the perfect person to retool Battlestar for a modern audience. He had this to say about Outlander:
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to bring these books to life. Diana’s created a rich and textured world filled with intriguing characters, and I believe that Starz is the perfect home for her story. I think we’ll make something that the millions of fans of these books will enjoy and recognize as ‘Outlander.’”
While Battlestar had its share of romance (and one could even argue it’s “historical revisionism,” given the series’ ending), Outlander‘s mesh of time travel, romance and implied swashbuckling might lean closer to Moore’s Trek days than anything else, given that show’s tendency to skip through many genres.
Gabaldon’s books has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, and there is a whole offshoot series of spin-offs and companion pieces, which should provide plenty of material. Given the fan base surrounding both Moore and the books, this will be an interesting project to watch, and is another entry into Starz’ aggressive attempt to expand their original content. Their latest series to bow is The White Queen, which just began its run and looks like a quality show.
Expect more details on Outlander as they become available.