You won’t have to wait quite so long to watch Starz’ eagerly awaited fantasy drama Outlander.

The premium network plans to make the premiere available free online one week before its planned series launch date. The first Outlander episode will be put online Aug. 2, with the series premiere on Starz as planned Aug. 9. The first eight episodes of the 16-episode debut season will air over eight consecutive Saturdays through September 27. Then Starz plans to put the show on winter hiatus, with the second half scheduled to continue in early 2015.

Outlander is adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books and with Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) as showrunner. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told reporters Friday that he’s hopeful Outlander runs for years on the network, covering Gabaldon’s, just like HBO’s Game of Thrones. And given the network’s penchant to pick up shows early (Black Sails was renewed before it premiered), there’s always a chance Outlander might see a quick pickup.

“It’s so good,” Albrecht said. “I just saw episode eight this morning …Diana Gabaldon has given us years of great drama. If the audience and subscribers are as interested as we think and the fans get behind it I don’t see any reason [why the show won’t continue].”