Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish swap ‘Outlander’ for ‘Men in Kilts’

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By Dan Sears

Great Scots, they’re back.

“Outlander” stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish return for their travel docuseries, “Men in Kilts: A Road Trip with Sam and Graham.” 

Each half-hour episode of the first season followed the Scottish actors as they traveled through their native country, educating the viewers about local food and drinks, traditional dance and superstitions, history, and more. Along the way, the pals relentlessly teased each other. 

Now, Season 2 sends them to New Zealand. 

Premiering Aug. 11 (midnight on the Starz app and 9:30 p.m. on Starz), Season 2 begins with Heughan, 43, sitting alone in a bar looking forlorn, bemoaning to a bored bartender about how he misses his friend. 

He calls McTavish, 62 — naturally, his cell phone ring tone is the “Outlander” theme music — and reminisces about their adventures in Season 1. While Heughan is enthusiastic, footage shows McTavish having a worse time filming Season 1 (particulary in experiencing jump-scares from Heughan). 

Soon, Heughan shows up at McTavish’s house (the scene amusingly plays like a horror movie, complete with suspense music while McTavish peers around corners, looking frightened of who’s at his door). Then, the two set off on another road trip — this time on the other side of the world. 

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Sam Heughan walking next to Graham McTavish.
Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish exploring New Zealand in “Men in Kilts” Season 2.

Similar to Season 1, the two Scottish actors take a van to explore the local sights.

Episodes focus on topics such as food and drinks, the many adrenaline-junkie activities that are common in New Zealand, and the culture and customs of the Māori people. 

All the while, Heughan and McTavish tease each other: “Once again I find myself sitting in a confined space with you, it’s quite disturbing,” McTavish says to Heughan at one point. “I often wonder, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’” 

They’ve got good chemistry, as Heughan is the goofier and more adventurous one, while McTavish rolls his eyes at Heughan’s antics, and is reluctant to do some of the more extreme activities — such as a zipline 100 meters over a canyon, during which a scared-of-heights McTavish yells, “Why, Heughan?” and “How much do I f–king hate that man!” as he zooms through the air.

Celebrity travel shows can range from overly self-indulgent and boring – sometimes the star just wants to to take a paid vacation — to genuinely interesting.  

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Luckily, “Men in Kilts” falls into the second category. 

Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish wearing kilts standing on a mountain top.
Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish still wear kilts, even though they’re not in Scotland for Season 2 of “Men in Kilts.”

Sam Heughan drinking with Graham McTavish.
Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish on “Men in Kilts.”

While it would be more enjoyable to audiences who are already familiar with “Outlander,” it’s still got plenty to offer for those who are unfamiliar with Heughan and McTavish but want to explore New Zealand on their screens.

Season 1 had the advantage of being their home country (and one of the main settings for “Outlander”). But, New Zealand isn’t an entirely new horizon, either, because McTavish (who said he fell in love with the country while filming “The Hobbit” movies) is a resident.  

The duo bring the same zest to explore this country that they brought to Scotland. There’s also still plenty of Scottish-adjacent topics to cover, since the show touches on the Scottish cultural influence in New Zealand. And yes, the men do still wear kilts in some of the episodes.  

“Men in Kilts” is a travel docuseries that’s informative and entertaining — and, it just so happens to have two madcap hosts with an odd-couple dynamic who can’t stop razzing each other. 

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Regardless of whether you’re an “Outlander” fan, it’s a lot of fun.

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