After a successful premiere week drawing 5 million viewers across all platforms, as well as some of the strongest reviews in network history, "Outlander" has received a predictably speedy renewal from Starz.

Starz announced on Friday (August 15) morning that "Outlander" has been picked up for a second season, based on the second book in Diana Gabaldon's series of best-selling novels "Dragonfly in Amber."

As of now, Starz is only saying that the second season will be "at least" 13 episodes, though it certainly wouldn't be surprising to get more episodes given both the series' early success and also the slightly expanded length of the second novel, which I guess I'll probably have to read now. 

Fortunately, "Outlander" fans won't run out of episodes to watch for a while, since the 16-episode first season is being split into two halves, with the first eight episodes airing this fall through September 27. The second half of the season has a TBD premiere in early 2015.

"The overwhelming support ‘Outlander’ has received from the fans, viewers and critics made the decision for us to go ahead with the second book a very easy one," blurbs Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. "Diana Gabaldon has given us years of great drama.  With an incredible artist such as Ronald D. Moore at the helm and a cast as spectacular as this, we look forward to continue this spell-binding journey with Claire, Jamie, Frank, Brianna, Roger and everybody over the centuries."

As Albrecht states, "Outlander" was adapted by "Battlestar Galactica" favorite Ronald D. Moore and stars Caitriona Balfe as a nurse transported from 1945 to 1743 under mysterious and mystical circumstances. In 1743, she finds herself living amidst roguish Scottish clansmen on the eve of the Jacobite rebellion. Sam Heughan plays Jamie Fraser, a rugged young Scot who has, at least as of now, attracted Claire's medical attention.

“I’m thrilled at the prospect of doing another season of this show for Starz. This project has been a labor of love from the very beginning and it’s incredibly gratifying to see it succeed with viewers and critics alike," Moore adds.

"Outlander" premiered last Saturday night on Starz and drew an unremarkable 720,000 viewers (below the 850,000 premiere audience for "Black Sails," for example), but that figure was probably diminished by a full week of online availability. Including online numbers, OnDemand viewers and airings across various additional platforms, the "Outlander" premiere has passed 5 million views in its first week. Starz is also touting the relatively even gender split of the "Outlander" audience, as well as the show's preliminary Twitter presence. 

“Fans of the 'Outlander' books have waited a long time to see this incredible story brought to life on screen, and Ron and his team have delivered a show that exceeds expectations," states Zack Van Amburg, President of  Programming for Sony Pictures Television. "We look forward to our continued partnership with Starz to present the next chapter of this epic tale to longtime fans and viewers who are just discovering the series."

Here's Sepinwall's very positive review.

Here's the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast with our "Outlander" review. [I really wanted to write a review of my own. I have issues with certain parts of the TV storytelling -- The over-reliance on voiceover, the integration of flashbacks and the double-casting of the otherwise very fine Tobias Menzies in particular -- but I think it's a very respectful, honorable and beautifully produced adaptation of the first book, which was obviously its top priority.]

And here's Donna Dickens' great recap of the first episode. She'll be doing weekly recap duties.

Excited by the renewal?