After the season two finale of Outlander last year, I was left with a gaping void that desperately needed to be filled. For those of you that are diehard Outlander fans like me totally understand this. Claire tearfully stares at the standing stones as the sun begins to rise and she hopefully says, “I have to go back.” The ending credits appear shortly after and we all melted into a bucket of tears. Perhaps some of the thoughts that ran through your head went something like this; What do I do with my life now? Is it possible to hibernate until season three premieres? I need an Outlander support groups to cope with my sudden and severe loss. I should decorate with more plaid. You’ll be comforted to know that the EXACT same thoughts went through my head.
When season two ended, I was in the middle of book 5, the Fiery Cross. If you’ve read the series, you’ll understand me when I say that it had taken me FOR-EV-ER to get through the first half of the book. It’s one of the longest books in the series and it gets a trifle boring towards the middle. I began reading with a new found vigor once season two ended (because, duh I had a void to fill) and to my pleasant surprise the book took a turn for the better and picked up my interest again at an alarmingly fast rate. As a greedy fan of Diana Gabaldon’s writing, I felt comfortable that I had three giant books yet to read, just waiting in the wings to soothe my soul. However, when I finished book 5 in a week and books 6, three weeks after that I knew I needed to pace myself (and slow the eff down). I began to weave in other TV shows with my reading to help spread things out a bit.
It has been a year since season two premiered and I just finished book 8 about a month ago. I’m not going to lie, I was a little depressed and I immediately started to search for release dates for book 9. After I calmed down a bit, I painfully told myself, that there is actually more to life than Outlander (blasphemy, I know). I came to the realization that when I am engrossed in reading a book I typically am not doing as much writing as I’d like and writing is what makes me function like a sane human being. I began writing a romance novel a month ago (I now have 10 chapters written) and I’ve faithfully committed to blogging on a weekly basis (a similar experience happened when I finished season one of Outlander; I wrote my first novel and finished it in six weeks. I spent a year editing it, but that’s another story, literally).
Amidst the need to write, I also still needed a good show to feast my eyes upon. Nothing quite compares to Outlander of course but there have been a few shows that have definitely sucked me in and delightfully distracted me. Here are a five mini-reviews on swoon-worthy TV shows that have helped get me through Droughtlander.
1. Kurt Seyit & Sura
This 46 episode Turkish period drama series is available on Netflix. Seyit and Sura is based on the Novel written by Nermin Bezman. It’s the true story of Bezman’s grandfather, Kurt Seyit Eminof and his lover Alexandra “Sura” Verjenskaya. As to how closely based to actual events of the story are, I am not certain. This show has subtitles, if that is somehow off putting to you, let me reassure you; you will immediately forget at the first sight of Kivanc Tatlitug. Kivanc Tatlitug plays the title character, Seyit and Lord have mercy, is he easy on the eyes. Tall, blonde and piercing blue eyes, Tatlitug is not only a hunk but and incredible actor that has immense emotional depth to his performance. Tatlitug’s performance and mere presence alone is reason enough to watch the show, however you will find yourself so sucked into this story that you cannot bear to look away. Farah Zeynep Abdullah, plays Sura, she does a great job of capturing innocence, and vulnerability in her character. You’ll love her because you understand her and why she is so incredibly smitten with Seyit (because you’re smitten too for heaven sakes). The story has a great villain that you will love to hate, Petro, played by Birkan Sokullu and he will drive you absolutely nuts. Seyit’s tried and true best friend, Celil, played by Ushan Cakir is a delicious little cutie pie that adds another engaging layer to the drama. The journey of Seyit and Sura’s love is worth watching, the sheer drama of it will send you into a lovely tailspin. The yearning, longing and passion of Seyit and Sura is the perfect recipe for a distraction from Droughtlander.
This series is broadcast on Masterpiece PBS in the U.S. and BBC in the U.K. Poldark is based on the novels by Winston Graham that take place in the late 18th century. Ross Poldark is played by Aidan Turner or as I like to call him Mr. Dreamy McBrooding Gaze. Ross returns from the war in America to Cornwall, only to find that his girlfriend didn’t wait for him, his servants let his family home fall into disrepair and his father is dead. In Ross’s attempt to rebuild his life he hires Demelza, played by Eleanor Tomlinson, as a kitchen maid after saving her from a street brawl. They soon can’t deny their attraction (can you blame them?) and they fall for eachother. Ross’s story is frought with many obstacles, a failing mine, a jealous enemy and a lost first love. All it takes is one serious stare from Ross Poldark and his glorious eyebrows and you’ll be hooked.
This series premiered on NBC in October of 2016 with it’s second season set to premiere in 2018. I had seen a preview of the show shortly after Outlander ended and immediately knew I would love it. It has time travel of course, which means period costumes (cause I can’t get enough, obvi) a slowly brewing romance and an ensemble of actors with off the charts chemistry. Lucy (Abigail Spencer), Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) are thrown together in the most unexpected of ways, a government agency needs them to stop a bad guy via time travel. This show has the classic adventure story feel to it that I remember from my favorite 80’s movies, Back to the Future, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. You are transported to a different time and place for a new adventure every week. Not only do these brilliant actors seamlessly blend into any time period but the relationship between them is the stuff that TV legends are made of. Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt will become your best friends and you’ll be wishing their was one more seat in the lifeboat. This show has it all, adventure, history, action, romance and comedy. Fans are so obsessed with this show that in May of this year NBC pulled it from the line up and cancelled the show, only to be brought back to life a few days later due to the twitter campaign #resurrecttimeless and over all outcry from fans (which I of course, participated in). This show is sure to be a solid distraction for Droughtlander and you may even find yourself fan-girling a bit (or a lot).
This series is on MASTERPIECE PBS in the U.S. and ITV in the U.K. It takes place in mid-century England and is in its third season. The series is based on the collection of short stories titled, The Granchester Mysteries, by James Runchie. The main character, Sidney Chambers, played by the dashing James Norton, who is the town Vicar, (minister) has a knack for getting people to confess their deepest secrets. Norton is another tall and dreamy hunk, whose smile will send you into schoolgirl butterfly oblivion. Sidney Chambers has a hankering for solving mysteries, particularly murders, with his best buddy and police detective Geordie Keating, played by Robson Green. Geordie is not at all religious and the dynamic between the two actors is the perfect mix of drama and comedy, which produces a very satisfying bromance. Sydney’s personal life constantly conflicts with his life as a clergyman and it is captivating to watch his struggle to get his heart and mind on the same page. Another notable quality to this story is the performance of Al Weaver as Leonard Finch who is the curate (assistant clergyman to Sydney). Leonard Finch is closeted gay man who has a very strong and dedicated belief in God all the while trying to figure out how to live in a time that will never accept the real him. His performance week to week is touching you can literally feel how torn this precious man is. Overall, Grantchester is a fantastic distraction in the midst of Droughtlander.
This series is beginning its fourth season this month (yippee!) and airs on TV Land. Younger is completely opposite to the genre of Outlander but it is oh so satisfying. It is set in modern day New York and it is fast paced, smart and funny. Sutton Foster plays Liza Miller a 40-year-old divorcee trying (unsuccessfully) to get back into the work force. She lies about her age to get a job as an editor’s assistant. She begins living a new life as a 26-year-old in Manhattan, starts dating a younger guy all while trying to keep her secret under wraps. The younger man in question, Josh, played by Nico Tortorella is a tasty little treat, he is earnest, carefree and sexy as hell. It’s an absolutely hilarious show full of hunky guys to feast your eyes upon. There is witty banter; genius comedic timing and a healthy dose of pop culture to make any stay at home mom feel current. You will root for Liza as she goes on this journey of reinventing herself and getting her groove back.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these shows if you have seen them. What’s your favorite? What did you love or hate? What made you cringe or swoon? Or if you have any other suggestions send them my way!
In closing fellow Outfanders, I am happy to say that the September premiere of season 3 is closer with each passing day and as Jamie Fraser would say JE SUIS PREST!