As a fan of the Outlander book series by Diana Gabaldon, I know that the viewers of Outlander on Starz have gotten only a little taste of the adventure, romance and relationships this story has to offer. There are so many characters to meet and so much more to be revealed about those we’ve already met. So…..I know I am not alone in anxiously awaiting a Season 2 premiere date, however some recent tweet activity has caused me some consternation! Don’t drop your dram., but..there are people out there who don’t know about the wonderfulness that is Outlander on Starz!
Last year, during the People’s Choice Awards, it was announced that Outlander won the award for best sci-fi series over competition such as Game of Thrones and Dr. Who. While I was rejoicing on-line with other Outlander fans and tagging my tweets dutifully with #winnerwinnerHaggisdinner, one of my Tweeps posted that she was enjoying reading Twitter feeds from other fan groups. So, I took a look. They were naturally dismayed that Outlander had beaten their favorite shows, but the tweet that stood out to me was one where the writer said, “I don’t even know the show that WON!”. With the recent news that received 2016 Golden Globe nods for best drama, actress and supporting actor, I’m hoping that will change.
A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON FOR THE UNINITIATED
The news that Outlander was being made into a sixteen episode TV series for Starz was very welcome news to fans of Diana Gabaldon. Ms.Gabaldon’s eight book series based on the adventures of one time travelling WW II nurse, Claire Randall, who finds herself in 1743 Scotland just before the Jacobite rebellion. The Outlander books are wonderfully detailed historically based epics that are grounded in truths about life, relationships and the nature of love and have been read and reread for over twenty years.
Diana Gabaldon’s description of what her books are about
The rights to turn the first book into a movie have been sold for just about as long and many script writers have attempted to cram an 800 page book into a two hour movie. Not possible…or desired by most fans. So, when the news of the series came, coupled with the knowledge that producer Ron Moore, of Battlestar Galactica fame, would be at the helm, fans rejoiced! (and it’s rumored that angels wept!) Finally, maybe the story would be told and fans would get to see their beloved main characters, Jamie and Claire, come to life!
Critics and entertainment journalists were doubtful that this book to TV adaptation would flourish due to what was perceived as a female-centric audience. The media seemed to believe that the show would only appeal to bored middle-age housewives and was a bodice-ripping romance. Now that the series has aired 16 episodes the ranks of media/critics seem to have changed their minds and are now singing the praises of Outlander, the entire 1st season is being touted as the most brave and honest show on TV. Fans of the books are thrilled that the show is being so well received and maybe they are feeling a bit smug. Afterall, they’ve always known it was a great story! Ye ken? And really, what’s not to like?
WHAT ABOUT THE ROMANCE?
The tale has been labeled as “genre bending” and for a variety of good reasons. Fans of the book can assure new viewers that even though there is love story at the center of this tale it goes far beyond a simple romance. The story is full of surprising twists that fly in the face of traditional romance genres. For instance, the traditional romance is stood on its ear with a woman in the role of the experienced lover and her new husband the virgin. The time travel element adds an additional twist. If you are two hundred years away from your husband who hasn’t been born yet is it cheating if you marry someone else? Claire loves two men and this creates an intriguing problem for her already full plate of problematic situations.
Starz has done a wonderful job of portraying the sexual relationship between the two main characters. In fact, there are multiple articles out there written by critics, the media and those interested in the portrayal of sex on T.V. that look at how Outlander Starz writers, directors and producers handled this material. They found it nothing short of revolutionary.
THIS IS SCI-FI?
Yes, but …gosh …how do I explain this? The sci-fi element of this story is there. but more as a vehicle to get the heroine of the story into the situation she now finds herself. She lands 200 years in the past after touching a standing stone. Now, how does she survive long enough to try and return?
The mystery of standing stones is just that a mystery. We really don’t know what they are or why they are there. Could the old Celtic stories of people being stolen over by the wee folk might actually be based on an interesting theory of time-travel? What would you do if you were Claire? The time-travel element is a great backdrop. It is always there….waiting.
IT’S A RIPPING GOOD YARN!
Fans of Outlander executive producer Ron Moore were at first puzzled and some downright shocked that he took on this material. The series was being touted in the media as a “romance” and that seemed very far from Ron’s usual projects. Ron simply explained in a press conference that he had read the books and found them to be a “Ripping good yarn”. This is a story full of adventure, history, surprises and characters with layers and we love Ron for recognizing that it needed to be told in a series. We also love him for talking with the author and staying true to the spirit of the books. If you like battles, swordplay, chases, political intrigue, hot sex, tender love stories, strong characters, and really nasty villans then you might want to give Outlander a shot.