Why hammers and nails are important…. a look at Outlander’s production design


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Note: As you probably know I’ve been out of commission, but I felt like writing today, so I finished this piece I started awhile back!

So, I was on my iPad scanning for Outlander season two news. I’ve been anxiously awaiting a look at Terry Dresbach’s costume designs for Season two. Outlander in Paris was going to be so different from Outlander in Scotland and as lovely as the costumes were for Season one, we just knew the Paris court was going to be more wonderful than we could imagine! Even Terry thought she had “outdone” herself! So, when I saw a link on Twitter to our first pics of Claire in Paris, I quickly clicked!  I was a little startled to see this!

EW Claire Paris

My first response was ” what the? ” and the second “why?”.  The green screen behind the dress did nothing to flatter Caitriona Balfe or the dress she was wearing.  The situation was soon rectified and we were treated to a lovely picture of Claire in an appropriately French room.

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However, as it often happens in this fandom, the green screen pic started a flurry of rumors and conjecture.  Was Paris going to be CGI?! Why else would they have Claire on a green screen? Terry tried to get ahead of what she KNEW would happen by tweeting that all sets were created by Jon Gary Steele, production designer.

Too late…at least for my curiosity’s sake…I wanted to know more about that green screen.

I knew that green screens are widely used and with the advent of more and more sophisticated technology it is often difficult to even know when a green screen is being used.  It seemed to me the use of green screens provided some definite advantages for film productions.  The screen allows the production to move to locales without actually packing up the whole kit and kaboodle and going there!  It seems more cost effective. So, I wondered why it seemed important to Terry that fans knew the sets were created by Gary Steele? What advantages did hammer and nail sets offer a production versus ‘virtual” sets?

My first interaction with Jon Gary Steele. the production designer for Outlander, was about the movie American History X.  The movie was one of the more famous shows Gary had designed.fhd998AHX_Ethan_Suplee_006

I had worked in a prison that showed the film to new employees as part of its training on gangs. Gary seemed intrigued that the film was actually being used for training and asked me a few questions. At the time, I remember looking up Mr. Steele’s profile on IMBD to see what other shows he had designed.  While researching this piece, I found myself again looking on that site.  Here is what found out:

  1. I couldn’t find out anything about Gary except what shows he has worked on.

Now, there are couple of ways to interpret this situation.

First, being a star in the world of set design is not likely to get you a fan following the likes of the directors or most certainly the actors (despite the huge influence set design has had on our culture.  Go read a bit about Cedric Gibbons). So, Enews isn’t LIKELY to be beating down the door of the production designer’s current apartment to get an exclusive. And so, …I couldn’t find any articles specifically about Jon Gary.

Second,… maybe he likes it that way.

I haven’t had any interactions since that have caused me to doubt my interpretations aren’t accurate and so, I’ll try to make sure this article focuses on his work and let him stay under the radar. If my assumptions are wrong Gary let me know and we’ll see what the Outlander fandom can do to rectify that situation! <g>

My research about production design started by drawing from my own early experiences watching theater. Overall, my experiences were very positive.  I saw a great version of Fiddler on the Roof performed on a thrust stage at Kent State and some great small productions in Pittsburgh and Cleveland where I was so close to the actors I could have touched them.  As I said, mostly positive experiences, except for…one… I was invited to see an Italian opera and…well…let me explain.

It was my very first opera and I was very excited! I knew I wouldn’t understand the language, but my friends assured me I would understand what was going on.  I’m sure that might have been the case, but for one thing.  For whatever reason, the production designer decided that it would be a good idea to have the opera performed in a malt shop by teens in poodle skirts and pompadours.  Believe me when I say this choice did nothing to advance or enhance the narrative.  I spent the entire production confused and baffled. I was really afraid the quizzical wrinkle between my brows wasn’t going to go away because I had REALLY tried to figure out why we were in that malt shop! Obviously, it made an impression on me, but not for the right reasons. What I learned that night was that production designers can make choices that greatly impact the story being told.

I needed to know more about how production design affects the narrative being told so, I began reading. I very quickly realized that production designers have to have one of more difficult and yet, potentially satisfying jobs in film. These “jack of all trades” folks better be able to use both sides of their brains! Production designers are part architect, artist, McGyver, super collaborator, mathematician, expert on visual psychology and have the ability to see both the forest and the trees! These are the people who control the visual feel of a film. They are the folks who talk the producers into malt shops and poodle skirts or…not.

Thank God.

Now, feeling a bit better informed about production designers, I set about to find the advantages and disadvantages of using a green screen vs hammer and nail sets.  During my reading, a theme began to emerge; actors and acting.

Acting is a craft. What determines the difference between a good performance and a so-so performance is the actor’s  ability to make us suspend our disbelief. We need to feel as if these are real people in a real place. There are things that help an actor with his/her craft like being able to play off of other actors (my fav Outlander scene is the fight at the river), costumes, being in a particular locale and performing on realistic sets.  These things can help actors create and stay in character and help them create realistic performances.  Green screens…it appears…aren’t very helpful in this endeavor. I read article after article about how difficult it was to act in a film that involved green screens. The following excerpt addresses the reality of performing on a green screen.

“Forget the scene partners. Forget steeping yourself in the atmosphere of the set. Instead, try rehearsing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet opposite a tennis ball, because in today’s digital Hollywood, actors not only need to know how to relate to other actors, they need to know how to deliver an emotionally convincing performance against thin air, a void that months later will be filled in by a computer.”   HOW TO ACT IF YOUR CO-STAR IS A GREEN SCREEN  May 6, 2001, Micheal Mallory. Special to the L.A. Times

One of my favorite pictures of Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe is the day they first saw the set of the Great Hall.

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To me their faces say it all. Their reaction to the set confirms what it means for an actor to be acting on “hammer and nail” sets versus a green screen. They had to be excited to see the quality of Gary’s sets and feel what this would mean to their performances. They were going to be able to look around and feel themselves to be in 1743 Scotland. I remember Lotte Verbeek saying in one of the early promos that it only took her moments to get into character because the sets were so realistic. She said she would forget it was a set.

It isn’t hard to see why the reality of playing a scene in a set like this

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or this

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is more helpful to an actor than performing on a green screen.  I found this excerpt from an article about what it was like to act on a green screen very enlightening.

“Moving through doorways shaped like trapezoids without penetrating the scenery was a challenge,”…. “It was a bit frustrating to get the hang of paying so much attention to tape marks [and] hanging strings to represent your boundaries and still focus on being honest and truthful about your life as the character.” IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN By Ben Rock | Posted April 7, 2011

Ron Moore, executive producer for Outlander, said in an early promo that they were going to try and convince the audience that this really happened to Claire. His choice to film in Scotland and remain as historically accurate as they could was crucial to immersing us in that belief. Gary’s production designs then brought it all to fruition. He helped create the alien world of 1743 with hammer and nails and plaster and…vision.

I know there are times when green screens can be very useful in telling a story visually, Colum’s and Ian’s legs come to mind. However, I can’t help but believe that Sam and Tobias’ performance in that dungeon cell were enhanced by being in the dark stark space Gary created for that scene. It felt real.  The sets Mr. Steele created for Outlander must  be a gift to the actors.

Because the actors were able to move through real space, we viewers were able to take inventory with Claire in her surgery, help prepare a feast in Mz. Fitz’s open hearth, dance on stage with Claire or wait our turn to pledge fealty to Colum in the Hall. Gary’s version of 1743 Scotland was breathtakingly believable and I can’t wait to dance with Claire in Versailles and nurse along side Buton.  Green screens have their place, but i’m grateful that it has a small place in Outlander.

P.S. I have I told you how much I love this puppet show!


AWOL…But, I’ll be back soon!


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Dear Readers,

I’ve been missing writing…a lot! But, it has been a sacrifice I’m willing to make right now.  I’m recovering from a surgery I’ve been fighting to get for almost two years.  Without going into the gory details, let me share that I now have a chance at regaining some quality of life I’ve been missing for a long time! I’m looking forward to being able to hike, bike and well,… to walk again.

So, I just wanted to let you know I’ll be back as soon as I can think clearer and thank you for reading my stuff!

Lots of Love and all good things Outlander to you!


The Pain & the Pathos….The Emmys

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I love hearing from Sara and love even more that she is blogging! She has unique prospective and continually validates my thoughts and feelings, so…she’s got that going for her too! 😂

Originally posted on sassypants25:

Just another subtle choice that adds to the nuance of I sit here at my desk today, noticing that in 2 weeks the Emmy nominations will be announced and I will ultimately be disappointed. Now, I’m not trying to be pessimistic, I just know how these things turn out. It is hard to describe to people the strange roulette that seems to go on. The Academy seems to want to take risks, but then falls into an almost nostalgic coma. The only thing that seems to be able to wake them up is……I don’t really know. Shame? Their record would reflect that they will continue to nominate a show based on how much they used to like it. Then, when accused of being antiquated, they bite the bullet and surprise. In my nearly 12 years of working within the entertainment industry, I have witness some incredible things….I can’t even begin to tell you. This is why I have a lot…

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Here’s to the costumes…what a fan learned from Outlander



My maiden voyage into fandom has been filled with treasure troves of friendship, self-discovery and unique opportunities to learn the lay of the land that is film-making. In short, Outlander on Starz has been a singular experience. One of the reasons this experience has been so positive is my  interaction with the author and the folks making my favorite book come to life on the screen. I never dreamed I would have such access and the reality of their willingness to talk with and share with fans has resulted in a life-enriching experience.

Terry Dresbach, the costume designer for the show, has been one of the more open and accessible folks.  She very quickly realized that fans were genuinely interested in what she does and how she does it. She has been open to questions and even started a blog to help satisfy our curiosity about her creative process TerryDresbach.com. I have laughingly said she is like the Wizard of Oz and has let us see behind the “creative curtain”.  She has let us into her world of research, sketches, swatches, and interpretation. It has been fascinating.

Like many fans, I’ve been oh-ing and awe-ing over her creations. I’ve listened to her explain her creative choices and how she has blended historical accuracy with the needs and the realities of making a film. I’ve learned a lot, but per usual for me, there was an “aha moment” that caused me to look a little deeper. It was this.


I’ve heard Terry say that costume design is about telling a story and I guess at some level I understood that, but this was the moment I think I truly understood what she was saying. HER COSTUMES HELP TELL THE STORY. Yeah…we understood that…I can hear you saying, but for me it took this minimal costuming to clarify what I learned.

“What is it that costume designers truly do for a production?” was the question I clarified for myself when I heard Terry explain this scene. Her choice to let these characters be clothed in pale linen and their own skin allowed the viewer to focus on what the actors were saying.  We were not distracted by the “costumes”. However, I’ve come to see that her design was about more than that; there was a connection to the Abby and the practicality of nursing Jamie’s wounds and innocence and intimacy and vulnerability and unity with the set design and….probably a lot more.  The thought that went into those simple garments staggers.

Here, in this scene, I understood the genius that is her costume designing.

I’ve come to understand that it isn’t about parading beautiful clothes across the screen, but about helping the viewer become immersed in the character and story. She makes her costuming a seamless part of the storytelling. Sometimes, she chooses to make something stand out on purpose and sometimes, like the abbey scene, the costumes make the scene standout by making the costumes not stand out.

I wanted to know more, so I did a little lite research. I read an interesting excerpt from the book Filmcraft: Costume Design  by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the 2015 Edith Head Award for the Advancement and Education of the Art of Costume Design recipient.  Ms. Landis says that the role of a costume designer is to design the people in the show.  She says that film costuming serves two purposes,

” …the first is to support the narrative by creating authentic characters (people); and the second is composition, to provide balance within the frame using color, texture, and silhouette.”

The abby scene illustrates this point perfectly.  Terry’s choice in color and simplicity helps, “support the narrative and create a unified fictional space”.

Now, I’m thinking…where else did I see this color and simplicity? When I realized where, it literally brought tears to my eyes…the Wedding.


Once again, her design tells the story of intimacy, innocence, and vulnerability.  There is nothing in the design to get in the way of the words and yet it enhances what is happening on the screen.

Her designs are helping to create authentic people within the parameters of a historical period and with an idea to each character’s personality and place in the story. A case in point is Black Jack Randall and Frank Randall.  I remember Ron Moore, the executive producer who just happens to be Terry’s husband and the person who thankfully talked her into designing for this show, describing his watching Tobias Menzies trying on his costumes.  He said he quickly went and got Terry to see Tobias, “doing it again”. What he meant by this was the transformation that seemed to occur when Tobias put on his costumes. He stood differently,…his body language was different.  The costumes helped him create and become his character.  Terry “designed” Black Jack Randall and Frank.


I’m starting to notice other little touches and nods to character, color and texture in her designs. I was admiring the elaborate and beautiful wedding dress when I realized Terry was telling the story of two weddings! Both in silver! And, both were telling something about Claire’s role in two different time periods.  In 1945, Claire is wed in a beautiful silver suit with simple lines that is as modern and confident as she is herself.

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In contrast, in her 1743 dress she is completely the opposite.  Once again dressed in silver to be wed, she is anything but modern, simple or confident.


She looks like a fairy-tale, but the elaborate gown only accentuates that she is a stranger in a strange land. I can’t help but speculate about what else this deliberate design choice was saying about Claire and the story. Is it that the more fairy-tale like dress foreshadowed the fantasy quality of Jamie and Claire’s relationship? Is the rushed and simple wedding significant of Frank and Claire’s doomed relationship, etc…

Once again, costumes help tell the story and design the “people”. A costume designer’s job is to help realize the screenplay, but, I’ve learned that isn’t an easy thing to do and my respect for Terry and the job she tackles has grown!

…A designer’s work is inextricable from the theatrical context and collaborative interrelationships in which they work—the dialogue, the actor, the cinematography, the weather, the season, the time of day, the choreography of movement and a dozen other dilemmas all present challenges… Deborah Nadoolman Landis © 2012

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Terry doesn’t do this all on her own. Her designs are brought to beautiful fruition by a very talented team. I’m sure her love and appreciation of them is great. The quality of workmanship is obvious and their dedication to their craft very much appreciated by this fan! They make me proud!

So, here’s to the costumes, their designers and makers because of you Outlander is beautiful and the characters and story have a soul.

Weekend with a three year old…a Grandma’s perspective … No Outlander to be found in this one!


It was Fathers day weekend and we were at my son’s home celebrating. While my husband and son were bonding on the golf course, I got to spend time with my littlest two granddaughters. The one year-old is almost blonde (her hair is coming in nicely) and has big blue eyes and dimples. I love dimples.  She is toddling everywhere and repeating everything.  She counts to five and loves to be read to. She is a happy pleasant child and a real joy to be around.

And, then…there is the three year-old…I think when they came up with the word contrary they had her in mind.

She isn’t easy. She wants what she wants, but what she wants seems to change by the minute. She is stubborn and defiant.  I say she fibs. Her parents say she flat out lies.  She knows the rules and isn’t afraid to bend them to suit her needs. She can open anything and if it’s quiet you better go find her.  She’s a cute and tiny little thing with a pixie haircut who knows how to roll her eyes, sigh dramatically or place her hands on her hips in anger. In short,…she’s delightful.  Maybe it’s because I’m the Grandma, but I think she is a riot and I  have to struggle not to laugh at the child while she exasperates everyone around her.  I don’t  laugh because I KNOW that would be bad and would just encourage the child to misbehave, but Lord knows it’s tough to hold back that smile when she lies about eating her breakfast in order to make herself eligible for a treat.  Her parents think God made her extra cute on purpose.  You know like how some bugs look like sticks, etc.  It helps her survive.

The tales that child tells!  If imagination and the ability to carry a theme are any indication, I think I might have a budding writer on my hands.  I heard tales of birthday parties, wind storms, bugs, and how her best friend lost her IPod.  She was concerned about my gender and was very pleased to hear I was a girl too!  I heard a very interesting rendition of Mary had a Little Lamb and heard the same chorus from the movie Frozen, conservatively estimating, about 100 times. We played card games with no rules and somehow someone still won or lost and I was expected to act appropriately joyful or dismayed.  She asked if she could go swimming and before we knew it the child was naked and in the water. She put a toad on my chest and told me it had lost its momma and I was now the  toad’s new momma, “cuz hims is just a baby”. She caught fish on her Minnie Mouse fishing pole using hotdogs for bait and may or may not have broken a TV set.  It’s broken, but no one saw what happened. My money is on the girl.

Despite being warned that she has the attention span of a gnat, I decided to take her to see Inside Out at the movie theater.  She put on her frilly tutu and her bedazzled t-shirt and off we went. She was very excited to be attending with her older sister and especially with her sister’s friend.  The 11 year friend didn’t quite know why she was so popular, but she was a good sport about having to be hung on and sat by and generally adored.  We bought popcorn, found our seats with “blankie” the blanket in tow.  She lasted 10 minutes including the previews before she fell asleep. The movie was wonderful and about five minutes toward the end as the audience is learning the little girl in the movie is growing up,  I heard a sleepy little voice beside me say, ” Grammy dis is the best movie eva!” And, looking at her clutching her blankie and staring up at the screen eyes full of wonder, I thought, “yes, …yes it is”.

Emmys for Outlander….they deserve it!


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Like many in the fandom, I tweeted the cleverest tweets I could for an hour solid in support of #EmmysforOutlander.  I truly believe the show deserves accolades and as a fan I’ll do whatever I can to make that happen. The show was more than entertaining it was compelling.

As positive as I am that the show deserves all the awards they can get, I’m fearful that there is a fly in the Emmy ointment. It appears that the show is still battling an image problem. Please don’t misunderstand. I did not feel that recent interviews were negative, nor do I believe the interviewers have to read the book to talk about the show.  But, I’m hearing questions and comments that make me fear the show is still misunderstood and as a result maybe not be as respected as it should be.

In a recent interview with Sam Heughan, the interviewer kept referring to the fact that his wife watches the show and that Sam appeared shirtless a lot.  Sam was gracious and tried to steer the conversation toward a more serious and less shallow topic, but even Sam’s discussion of the Gaelic used on the show was turned into a “Fabio” type reference by the interviewer.

I have a theory that the show is still being perceived as a series based on a romance novel that Ron is somehow fixing up.

Point in case, another interview with Sam found the interviewer surprised that what he found were interesting plot twists and character development  were INDEED in the book. He actually looked taken aback and asked the question again to make sure Sam had heard right.  The same interviewer shared with Caitriona Balfe that he had binge watched the first half of the season and was now hooked on the show because he must have an inner old lady side to himself (can you see the incredulity on my face?).  I continue to see the story referred to as a time-traveling bodice ripper romance where Claire falls for a hunky Scotsman (not that bodices aren’t ripped or Sam isn’t hunky, but you get my point).  The show is still having an image issue. And…in my humble opinion things like this don’t help;

Sigh…..they are cute, but I’m really finding it hard to like a Black Jack Randall doll after episodes 15 and 16!  Does he come with accessories?  A mallet and nails? Lavender oil?  Is this what Starz marketing folks think we want?  If so, then I’m wondering what THEY think the show is about and who they think WE are? (They’ll probably sell thousands because they are cute and I know I’ll be taking some hits for this)  So, I’m confused and I think people who really don’t know about the show are too!  I know this is blasphemy, but maybe that original Vanity Fair article was right!  Maybe they are marketing to who they THINK we are…hmmmm….the kilt drops…

All this leads me to be a bit concerned about how the show is being perceived by the academy voters if this is how the media views the show. However, a fellow fan pointed out to me that the critics have also consistently given the show high marks. And, they have thrown around some wonderful adjectives and called the show brave and ground-breaking and called performances stellar. So, maybe the RIGHT people (those with the power to influence votes) get it. Fingers crossed!

But…. just in case they need further convincing…here are my top reasons.…Outlander deserves an Emmy…its my blog…I can pretend my opinion matters if I want to!

1.  They took their time


Those of us who read the books were understandably concerned about how they were going to do justice to our “big book” and story. We were relieved to hear Starz was giving the first book 16 episodes which was pretty much unprecedented. For us book fans, it still wasn’t enough! Greedy lot us book fans. There was a lot of talk about Outlander’s decision to take their time setting up the story including the use of voice-overs.  It was a gamble for sure, but a necessary gamble if you intended for the show to last more than one season.  This story needs the set-up.  If for no other reason than to understand Claire’s decision when Jamie takes her back to the stones, The story needs the context of her internal struggle and the real danger she places herself in by staying. The “slow burn” of Jamie and Claire’s relationship was refreshing to see. They didn’t jump into bed despite an obvious attraction. Their relationship was given time to develop. By the end of the season, the viewer truly had a sense of who these “people” were. They gave us time to connect to the characters and their struggles. They allowed us to see how alike and different our world is from the one Claire finds herself.  They allowed us the time to care about the characters.

2.  They got the genre thing right


One of the most intriguing things about Diana Gabaldon’s books are the fact that they are hard to describe.  Try it! I find myself saying a lot of “just trust me on this, I know it doesn’t sound good, but it is”.  Because she was writing the first book for practice, Ms. Gabaldon freed herself from the boundary of genre.  She wrote and figured she would determine what genre she was writing along the way.  I’m not sure she ever did fit her square book into a round genre hole and I’m thankful for it. It made the reading that more interesting to have a mix of history, science fiction, horror, mystery, and yes, a love story.  This would seemingly make the story more difficult to adapt, but I think this was one of the big things the series got right.

Every episode had a story arch and just when the viewer would think they knew where the story was going and maybe expect more of the same the show would change. One week, we are at witch trail and the next a complicated homecoming. One episode we are navigating life at the castle and the next traveling the Scottish countryside. We watched Claire try to match wits with the terrifyingly cruel Capt. Jack Randall and then watched her try to deal with a unwanted marriage and …honeymoon.  And, … they never let us forget the stones and Frank were always on Claire’s mind. The adaptation worked.

3.  They immersed you in 1743 Scotland 

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Scotland was a character in the story. It was breathtakingly stark and beautiful. The costumes and sets made it easy to believe that Claire had found herself in 1743. It was a rich viewing experience. The musical score, the filming, directing, writing and production choices were all made with the idea that everything had to have a purpose including the tougher more titillating stuff. I never felt the violence or nudity was gratuitous.  It always felt necessary and as a result, we got to see an intelligent and beautiful story.

4. They let us see real women

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A lot has been written on this subject, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the FACT that this show has done more for the portrayal of women in film than anything in recent memory. There is a lot good TV out there right now, but I would say that Outlander’s women were the closest to real people. The women on this show were portrayed as complex, strong, kind, ruthless, compassionate, sexually confident, intelligent, able to think on their feet, and heroes who could save the day. These ladies weren’t your typical damsels in distress!

5.  Characters with character


I enjoy watching Game of Thrones, a show Outlander has been compared to. I have nothing against R.R. Martin or the show based on his works.  They are what they are, but what they are is a far cry from what Outlander is or tries to be.

GOT’s season was full of characters acting out of warped emotions, values and needs. Lots of titillating stuff to discuss around the water cooler, but I must admit the most shocking thing about this show is how hard it is to find a redeeming character. I wish I could say this trend toward pushing the moral and ethical envelope was the exception rather than the rule on TV, but I can’t.  It is all too common.

My reaction to the GOT characters and their actions is very different from what I feel when I watch Outlander. When I watch Outlander I find myself emotionally connected to their stories.  Even given the fantasy element of time-travel, I found the main characters struggles to make the right choices familiar.  Many of us struggle to do the right thing and be good people. When I watched Claire and Jamie and Ned and even Gellis make their choices, I felt a real kinship. My eyes filled with tears for the human compassion I was witnessing. These characters made unselfish choices. Refreshing.

6. Real People Sex


Once again they took their time and made sex a part of the story. The Wedding Episode was the closest thing to real sex between two people who care about each other that I’ve ever seen.  The other elements of sex in the story were told with the same care and purposefulness. Sex is a part of life and relationships. It can be awkward, passionate, tender, and sometimes even horribly life-shattering. Outlander did not shy away from showing us sex from a man’s AND a woman’s point of view. It was beautiful and awful, but always done with story in mind.

7.The performances

Outlander 2014

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I can’t remember the last time I was so blown away by performances. In fact, the show has been off the air for over two weeks and I can’t stop talking about those performances! I know there is this common belief that a viewer really shouldn’t notice the acting because if you do then somehow your disbelief didn’t get suspended enough.  Maybe that’s true, but I’m pretty sure I bought what they were selling!  My appreciation occurred upon reflection. Like I said before, the dust has settled and I can’t get the performances out of my mind! It felt real.

  • Tobias: It was something about the eyes. Tobias Menzies portrayal of Frank and his ancestor Black Jack Randall was fascinating to watch. Watching an actor play two roles and imbue them with character was intriguing.. I saw their differences and their similarities. He managed to make Jack’s villainy believable and somehow human despite his monstrous appetites. He was terrifying.
  • Sam: Sam Heughan’s portrayal of Jamie was spot on. Although I wished we could have seen a bit more of the man beneath the boy in the first half of the season, I was won over by the switch to his POV in episode 9 The Reckoning.  ” What is Jamie thinking?” was a brilliant technique for moving the story and the character forward. Jamie had dialogue long enough to let us see his character and with his convincing acting skills, Sam had time to let us “see” Jamie. We saw Jamie be brave, calculating, thoughtful, loyal. imperfect, frustrated, devastated, strong, truthful, and caring, just to name a few of the many sides of the character I knew from the books. And then,…there are the last two episodes. I’ve never seen an actor portray so much with so few words. As uncomfortable as those episodes are to watch, I keep re-watching them because I’m amazed by the performances. Every time I re-watch, I find something new to appreciate like body language or a subtle look.  The progression from a proud and unbreakable man to a totally devastated and broken man was heart-breathtakingly beautiful.
  • Caitriona:  I’m not sure that Caitriona Balfe’s performance is ever given enough credit. She is in almost every scene and without her brilliant portrayal of our frustratingly wonderful and strong Claire the show would not have succeeded. She made us believe that this happened to this woman and the viewers grew to care about her and her plight. We have all been strangers in a strange land and had to find our way at some point in our lives.  Caitriona’s portrayal of Claire dealing with the unimaginable and retaining her humanity and strength of character truly made me proud to be a woman.  She managed to get Claire’s sense of morality, justice and passion for life on the screen. We saw a woman who like many of us picks herself up, dusts herself off, accepts the situation and makes the best life for herself and others as she can.

One of my readers, an actress in the Biz summed up a lot of what I’m hearing from those folks who know what it takes to do a show like this;


It is the kind of TV we have been waiting for and we want more of this kind of quality story-telling on our screens.. Please consider Outlander for an Emmy.because they deserve it.

Jamie Fraser….portrait of a father…in Outlander

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My re-blog in time for Father’s Day!

Originally posted on My Outlander Blog!:


Spoilers: this post contains info about the entire series





Every year, Father’s Day is celebrated in the U.S. on a Sunday in June. This day is often filled with family get-togethers, BBQ and gifts of some really ugly ties!  This wonderful family day can be bittersweet for many including myself. Memories of imperfect relationships, complicated emotions, and regret tend to rear their ugly heads.  It took me years of living and reflection to be able to look at this particular relationship with any semblance of objectivity. I had to become an adult with adult children before I could truly begin to understand my father.  I’ve heard people say, when discussing parental dysfunction, “he did the best he could with what he had”. I’m not sure that was true in my fathers’ case. It seems to me he had been given a lot to work with…

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