So….the smallest blog post I’ve ever written about the Outlander book and tv series has resulted in a lot of discussion and …some shite. I feel kinda bad about that, but evidently there were a lot of people in the fandom who were feeling the same as me…they were just afraid to say so.
And rightfully so. There seems to be a double standard. It is okay to discuss the books, pull them a part and speculate, but not the show. Anyone who didn’t actually like something about an episode is risking being villified if they dare express their dissatisfaction.
At the risk of sounding hypocritical, I need to clarify. I have little patience for those folks who are still stuck on Jamie’s hair color, Claire’s height, etc…I will not tolerate personal attacks on the cast, producers, writers, etc.. What I’m talking about is conversations that people would naturally have over a beloved book turned into a movie/tvshow: character depiction, plot development, dialogue. I believe these are reasonable and expected topics for discussion.
Once again putting myself at risk, I believe that anyone in disagreement or dissatisfied with a part of the series is being labeled as disloyal or …Gasp…ungrateful. I’m extremely grateful! I love the show, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to like everything. And it also doesn’t mean I’m going to keep quiet or not watch as some folks have suggested. One of the things I find most ironic and kinda of funny about this whole thing is what usually happens when I dare to speak “blasphemy”. What usually happens is that I get a lot of respectful responses that challenge my thinking and as a result, I often gain some new perspective! I can assure you that doesn’t happen when people tell me to quit being negative. And, if you have read my blog before you know I’ve written way more blogs praising the show than criticizing it!
So….this leads me to my inspiration for writing today. I’ve noticed a peculiar pattern in people’s responses. People keep pointing out that the books and the show are entirely separate. In fact, they say they are separate entities! They then go on to prove their point about character or plot development by “QUOTING THE BOOK”. You can’t have it both ways people! If it is, in fact, a show based on a book then it is natural to make comparisons. I believe the unrealistic expectation here is the belief that the show IS the book or ….should be.
We have been lead to believe that the producers and writers are fans of the book and that they want to do the book honor. They have assured us that despite making changes to our beloved story for the needs of visual media, they fully intend to tell the story of our Claire and her Jamie. They will have to sometimes change timelines, plot elements, scenes and dialogue, but have promised to bring everything back around to get the story where it needs to go. Admittedly some of us are a little worried about that. Diana has tried to allay some of our fears by reminding us these are very talented people at the helm. She admonished us to not “catastroph-ize” the future of the show based on what we’ve seen. She doesn’t see any basis/proof for not believing the story will be told in a way that will satisfy. With all due respect to Herself…I might feel more confident if I’d had access to the scripts and film! But, she said it, so I’ll believe it and bide my time. Which I think she finds pretty amusing. She noted we’re complaining, but we can’t wait for April 4th <g> ! I remember Ron telling a similar little story about his fans writing to tell him that they hated an episode and hated it every time they watched it….again. Funny lot us fans.
I’ve admitted several times that it is difficult for me to just let go and watch the film for its own self…an adaptation. Herself said if you can’t you’ll ruin the experience for yourself. She is probably right because I find myself jealous of newbies and people who have never read the books. While strolling through Compuserve today (I said strolling not trolling) , I happened upon a similar conversation between the “I love everythings” and the “gotta few worries”. One particular response caught my eye. The writer had come to the conclusion that she was never going to be happy with the show. She just couldn’t be because she had too many expectations that were never going to be met. So…she let it go. She no longer scans the internet for news or counts the days till the next episode. In fact, I’m pretty sure she said she stopped watching. She made a point to say she would probably finish watching out of curiosity, but probably wait until the season was over so she could watch it all at once. Because…it wasn’t her book it was just another tv show. For her they ARE two separate entities. For the rest of us, I would guess we are somewhere in between. We are watching because of the book and our chance to see our favorite characters and story come to life.
Maybe the show isn’t turning out exactly as I hoped sometimes because Diana isn’t telling the story. Ron, the experienced visual story teller, is telling the story. My Claire and Jamie and Black Jack and Frank are walking around in the flesh! We’ve waited forever for this! So, if you all don’t mind, I’ll keep watching and maybe I’ll express some disappointment from time to time. And, if Ron and crew pull this off, I’ll write the biggest apology note I can muster for ever doubting their genius! Will it all work out? “It would be pretty to think so”.