If you know anything about my story, you know that my writing a blog about Outlander and finding myself in the middle of a fandom was a complete accident. At the suggestion of my nieces, I started my blog as a way to practice writing. I needed something to write about, so I started writing about my favorite series of books. Unbeknownst to me, my nieces sent my blog to Diana on Twitter. She read it, commented and retweeted and I started gaining readers. Then it was announced there would be a TV series and as they say, the rest is history. For the most part, being part of this fandom has been wonderful and has brought a lot of joy and wonderful people into my life and so, I try pretty hard to stay out of fan drama. It isn’t always easy, but I try. Mainly I don’t add my two cents because I feel like I’ve already said my two cents and I’ve yet to see any behavior in this fandom change because of what I said (hard cynical eye roll at myself). No sense beating a dead horse. But, after reading that Matt B. Roberts, Outlander executive producer, effectively shut down his Twitter account, I thought, well this could have been predicted. Then I thought, I did, I wrote an article about this very thing. So, I went looking for it. I wrote it back in season 2 and I have to say, it has aged well. The trajectory of personal attacks and character assignation that will effectively ruin a chance of any constructive criticism being heard by TPTB seems to moving forward unabated. In the years between this article’s publication and now, a lot has happened in this fandom and our country. I have to wonder if the increase in uncivil behavior has some connection to the uncivil political discourse we are inundated with daily. I re read some of the comments to this article and I’m still struck by the logic that excuses bad behavior because it is generated by passion. Do people feel strongly about Diana’s books and characters? Yes. But, this adaptation is someone’s attempt to tell a story and not personal. Fans are free to express their likes or dislikes of the series, but I still say there is a line of decency that shouldn’t be crossed, no one, even those in the entertainment industry, should have to have skin that thick.
Sunday, I was made aware there was trouble brewing in the Outlander fandom over some edited footage from the final scenes of the episode “Faith”. It’s been a couple of days and I’ve had a chance to see some interactions between fans, creators, author, and cast. I’ve let my thoughts sit for awhile and I think I’m ready to put those thoughts to words today.
I just watched the entire clip
and what came to mind was how ironic and sad it is that love of such a wonderful story has engendered so much ugliness.
When “Faith” first aired I posted my reflection on the blog and was overwhelmed by the response and moved by my reader’s stories of tragedy and grief. http://wp.me/p4mtBT-3zD That episode dealt with a part of life spoken of mostly in whispers if spoken about at all. The real and honest portrayal of the loss of a child generated thoughtful discussion and for some it created a desire to tell their own story maybe for the first time. It was and remains an amazing episode of TV.
I am not nor have I ever been an expert on the creation of a TV show. Despite my voicing from time to time my likes and dislikes about certain episodes, the truth is I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to adapt the books to screen. Oh, the show has piqued my interest and I’ve done some reading , but I have no experience in the creation of a TV show. Like most people, I just know what I like and don’t like and then watch or don’t watch a show accordingly. I felt the need to place my qualification to be a bonafide tv critic right upfront because this whole thing is bothering the heck out of me and I need to talk about it, but I want to make sure everybody knows who I am…a fan.
I’ve heard Diana say before that she fought for a scene to be left in or left out of the production. Sometimes she wins and sometimes she doesn’t. She always makes sure to add that no one has to listen to or include her in the decision making, but she is glad that they do. Overall, she seems very pleased with the adaptation. I always try to remember this wasn’t the first time someone had an idea to make Outlander’s story into film and I then remember that only she really knows how wrong this could have all gone. What is really confusing me with these edits is that nobody seems to know why the scenes were cut and they aren’t being shy about saying so. It isn’t only fans expressing their displeasure or surprise, it’s Metyin, a director, tweeting he thinks the scene was better in the edited footage, and Diana and Sam Heughan, lead actor, adding their two cents. They aren’t blaming anyone, but they seem as puzzled as I am.
I agree with Metyin when he said the edited scenes tied together all that happened in the previous episodes. The last time edited scenes were released, I found myself able to see why each scene (except the one with Murtaugh on the beach with Claire) was cut. I could easily see how each would affect the overall storyline, pacing and character development if left in. I remember thinking that having more time doesn’t necessarily mean the story will be better told. Sometimes less is more. But, this time…more looked and felt pretty good. I’d love to hear the reasoning behind the edit because…that scene was amazing.
I’m not sure I know exactly where the buck stops in this production, there appears to be a lot of thumbs in the pie and a new merger had to have some impact. I do, however, know where the blame for fan displeasure has landed and that is squarely on the shoulders of Ron D. Moore, executive producer. Here’s the thing, even if he did make the decision to cut this scene totally on his own, he doesn’t deserve the nastiness fans are spewing. NO ONE DESERVES THE SHIT I’M SEEING . He hasn’t destroyed or sabotaged the show, he isn’t disrespecting book fans, he doesn’t hate Jamie or Sam, he isn’t making decisions based on what his wife wants or overreacting to what fans say NEEDS to be in the show (thank God), there is no conspiracy or agenda (other than making the best show he knows how to make) …sigh…did I cover it all? Oh, and, it isn’t personal. But, the attacks sure are. Some are thinly disguised as “concern” from fans who LOVE the show, but just want RDM to get with the program and deliver what they want which is more of “the core” of the story. The truth is we may never see book Jamie and Claire, but I’m not buying the line that Jamie has been emasculated to make Claire look stronger, or that the relationship between the two main character’s has been altered beyond recognition. This fandom seems to have as many shouting points and conspiracy theories as the presidential election and they get repeated about as often.
Here is another thing I’m puzzled about. How do the same shit stirrers get access to and notice of the cast and creators? I swear it’s the same dirty dozen that lie in wait for something negative to be said about the show and then pounce. They sit in judgment of the show and its fans. They feel it is their right to degrade the show, its stars and makers in the name of “critique”. Translation… you didn’t make the show the way I wanted so you are wrong. The meaner they are the funnier they think they are and the gloat-fest goes on for days and their infamy celebrated. The dissatisfied jump on the bandwagon with “I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that way”.
Critique is one thing and being judgmental another, but some fans tend to use the two interchangeably.
Judgmental usually refers to people who have a fixed, negative attitude about something. It carries a meaning of “passing judgment”, black or white, thumbs down or up, like a judge ruling whether someone is guilty or innocent. It focuses on the negative result in that process. It also has a moral component.
Critical, at least by tradition, carries the idea of a well-reasoned, expert, articulate, and in-depth examination of the ideas or quality of a thing, not the thing itself: something that a literary or movie critic might do. Though it tends toward negative, it’s not necessarily so – a movie could receive critical approval. Critical comes from critique.
- Criticism finds fault. Critique looks at structure.
- Criticism looks for what’s lacking. Critique finds what’s working.
- Criticism condemns what it doesn’t understand. Critique asks for clarification.
- Criticism is spoken with a cruel wit and sarcastic tongue. Critique’s voice is kind, honest, and objective.
- Criticism is negative. Critique is positive.
- Criticism is vague and general. Critique is concrete and specific.
- Criticism has no sense of humor. Critique uses humor to soften the “blow” of the critique.
- Criticism often looks for flaws in the writer as well as the writing. Critique addresses only what is on the page (screen my addition to the list) .https://chroniclesofharriet.com/2012/03/06/a-critic-critiques-criticism-critically/
Loved what this article had to say about the “vocal” fans.
It isn’t just Outlander dealing with fans who have crossed some sort of line of decency in the sand. Social media has given us access to creators and it has been a learning curve for them and frustrating to fans who aren’t the vocal minority.
This unfortunate behavior mostly comes from vocal minorities. But it’s an unfortunate truth that those who yell the loudest are usually the first to be heard, which is how you get TV writers blinking in panic at the idea of having to cater to fan whims. I wouldn’t be surprised if, despite saying otherwise, fan backlash results in far less communication between creators and fans, rather than more.
Creators and fans need to find middle ground before creators shut fans out completely
Make no mistake, this is what will happen…it already has…
But, …the fans lament, I can’t believe fans concerns aren’t LISTENED to (translation: why aren’t you doing what I want)
…And the amazing news, as far as creators are concerned, is that the explosion of social media might have opened up communication between the artists and their fans, but it’s by no means equalized it. Major studios and publishers, and the creators they’ve chosen to invest in, still have a bigger megaphone than any of their fans on Twitter. They just have less privilege, less complete protection from a dialogue with their audience, than before. Some still find ways to choose not to have that dialogue. That’s fine; it’s their right. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/are-fans-getting-too-entitled_us_5750ab2ce4b0ed593f13e893
Loved this too…lack of empathy…let’s insult the people the creators and cast care about and then act surprised when they get upset…smh…
Fan entitlement, or something like it, can be hurtful—especially for creators who work on beloved franchises like Doctor Who or Star Wars, where fans feel a strong sense of ownership of long-running characters. But fan entitlement is an attitude problem, brought on by a lack of thoughtfulness and empathy. It’s not an umbrella term for every fandom reaction, from death threats to hashtag activism. http://www.dailydot.com/parsec/fandom-harassment-captain-america-ghostbusters-devin-faraci/
Critique (I just did. I told you I thought the scene was better before the edit and why without taking it personally or damning anyone to hell) can be productive when it is truly critique.
I would not be surprised if Outlander’s folks are setting new boundaries as we speak….
With social media increasing consumers’ access to producers, fans and creators are still negotiating their boundaries online. Sometimes, a handful of fans will wildly overreact to a creative decision (the emphasis is mine) and behave like immature dicks. Sometimes, a creator will misinterpret a piece of constructive criticism as a personal attack and freak out. Occasionally, a hashtag campaign like #OscarsSoWhite or The 100‘s lesbian death backlash will start a productive conversation that might inspire real, positive change.
Here is my point, we have NO idea what happened. Maybe they made a poor choice maybe they didn’t have a choice. Is the show ruined? Are folks going to continue to beat the “Ron doesn’t get it” dead horse? You don’t have to like every decision, but for God’s sake it’s a TV show and these are real people who work hard and take pride in their art. I understand folks have been waiting a long time to see “their” story on the screen and are disappointed it wasn’t delivered exactly the way they hoped, but you might want to consider cutting the creators and cast a break …it isn’t personal. And, if I was a creator? I’d be building a fence, an electric one…
139 thoughts on “Fans and Creators…drawing a line of decency in the sand”
The show is perfectly cast. The attention to detail and authenticity to the time periods within every aspect of the show is amazing. If you haven’t read the books nothing is lost in the translation to the screen. If you have read the books you can use your imagination to fill in the story line left out due to time constraints. The people who work on this show are nothing short of genius. Having worked in television I know people can be very critical about what is shown, what people wear, how people sound etc. My advice is that if one sitting on their couch thinks “I could do that better”…well you haven’t, so leave it to the professionals and enjoy it or turn it off if it bothers you. I love every aspect of Outlander and I will be watching season three with my tissues at the ready for the scenes where we lose our fierce, braw, kilted lads at Culloden.
I am not connected in ways that make the negative voices referenced here available to me. I’m glad, but I’m also glad that this blog addresses the issue so eloquently. I have been absolutely amazed at how accessible every one has been to us from Diana to Fergus. The gifts they have all brought are astounding and how they bring those giant stories to life in such limited space is beyond incredible.
Thank you for this blog post.
No one should have “attacked” anyone over this, including, and especially, Terry Dresbach who is more than generous with fan-time. Married to the show-runner, who reports directly to STARZ and Sony (not Terry), she is the show’s costume designer.
But she’s a big girl, able to fight her own battles and ignore those few that are nasty, over those who are supportive or who have some qualification to critique. Sadly, there’s a learning curve with social media (just ask Mr. Heughan) but she must learn to ignore and develop tougher skin.
Perhaps the best response from Terry would have been to determine if Ron has an explanation for his passionate fans. My guess is that it’s already in his commentary on the DVD (on sale Nov 1), so get your order in, and let’s wait for it. #Droughtlander
I like and agree with many of your blog posts and I think you’re an excellent writer. But I hope you don’t mind if I share a different perspective about this.
There will always be fans with less than mature opinions/critiques/blogs/points of view who are willing and happy to share them. It’s not going away. There are 100 people gushing over the show to every 1 who criticizes — which is their right to do — free speech and all that jazz. But personally, I feel what doesn’t help is to overgeneralize, give it attention and a platform, etc. as it just spotlights the behavior of a few (relatively speaking) and unfairly gives the entire fandom a bad name. In this case, a few bad apples does NOT spoil the whole barrel. I don’t understand why Terry or anyone else continues to give them attention when they typically get so much more positive attention from the fans. Guess what, not everyone is going to be positive or play fair. Ignore it and move on. (And in fairness, Diana herself did more than just agree with Metin’s tweet. When the episode aired, she had a lot to say about that missing scene on CompuServe and elsewhere.)
I guess my point is that by now, we know there is a portion of the fandom that often expresses their opinion with less than kindness, finesse or the good manners many of us would prefer.But I think it’s more helpful to push back on them in the moment, such as directly to a specific post, etc. than give them more attention than they deserves which just exaggerates the significance. (I also wonder if it would be helpful for those involved with the show to create their own social media boundaries, or at least some agreed upon guidelines about their own posts.)
Thanks for considering, and allowing me to share my thoughts on this.
My first reaction to the release of the extended end of Faith was tears. It was so moving and for me brought the whole episode to completeness.
I’ll admit that for a minute I was caught up in the drama of why did RDM do this?? Some of the fan groups on FB had heated discussions about it. I snapped out of it when people started to get weird.
Both Jamie & Claire lost Faith and we finally got to see them both greave. The original airing only hinted at it. I’m so thankful that we’re now able to see that.
Another great post Ms Wesson 👍🏼
Reblogged this on pjpes and commented:
Very good blog concerning the entitlement issues some fans have when it comes to scenes cut from tv shows
The pull back from some of the shows principles has already occurred. I think its in part due to the SM vitriol. Cait Sam Terry & Matt are not as connected on SM as they were pre season 1 during season 1 & post season 1. I miss their enthusiasm to share their experiences with us. I share many of the thoughts of the previous posts here. Thx Beth for giving us a civil forum.
The pull back from some of the shows principles has already occurred. I think its in part due to the SM vitriol. Cait Sam Terry & Matt are not as connected on SM as they were pre season 1, during season 1, & post season 1. I miss their enthusiasm to share their experiences with us. I share many of the thoughts of the previous posts here. Thx Beth for giving us a civil forum.
I loved the original version but love the extended version even more. However, I fully respect those producing the show to make whatever decisions they need to make and would never offer any criticism. Everyday I am grateful for the people that bring these books to life. I’m grateful to Diana for letting it happen, to Ron and his wife for making it happen, to the actors that give 200% and make magic on the screen; and the cast/crew are amazing. These books, this series is outstanding and it saddens me that one scene would cause so much controversy. Onward and upward as they say !!!
I loved the original scene in Faith and everything about the episode. The extra scene only adds that much more of a greater depth to an already deeply moving and emotional story. Sometimes a creative process is individual. I am very glad that us fans got to see this extra part of the show. It helps with droughtlander for sure.
The Outlander Show has touched many lives. For example, in the latest hurricane to hit South Florida, or almost did, my sister (a great Outlander fan) and four newbies to the show sat and binge watched season 1 and 2 of Outlander. She said the roof could have blown off the house and nobody would have noticed. I for one, am grateful for all the cast and crew who do entertain us. Do these negative people have lives? Come on…….we are so fortunate to have discourse with these Outlander cast members. Hang in there everybody and keep supporting the show in a positive manner..
Social Media and be great but it can be very BAD. Frankly I’m embarrassed these negative fans. I think I only read 2 other blogs besides yours. I am on twitter but generally don’t see all the hostility except when Terry comments. It’s so hurtful. I really feel bad for her. I really wish they would just ignore all the negative stuff but I imagine it’s difficult to do that. They are human after all. Just enjoy the show. They are doing an amazing job!
Thank you Beth for this spot on article. I enjoy the show for what it is and am appreciative that Ron and Co. brought Jamie and Claire’s story to television. I have seen so many tweets and blogs criticizing both Ron and Maril about how “they, these entitled fans” think the show should be run. It’s really quite simple. If you like the show, then turn it off. There’s plenty of us who do and will keep watching!
Thank you Beth for your spot on article. I enjoy the show and am grateful for Ron and CO. bringing Jamie and Claire’s story to television. The constant criticizing of the way Ron and Maril run THEIR show on Twitter/blogs is ridiculous. If these called fans are so unhappy with the show, then just stop watching. There are plenty of fans out here that enjoy the show.
I thank you Beth. A logical,concise commentary. I am on twitter but have been ‘off’ of it for sometime partly due to this whole issue. Life is too short. I am looking forward to my Scotland trip with Outlander add ons next year though!!!
Beth–In the end, what you are urging is that people not critique the show, and that is as unfair to insulting people who see nothing wrong with the production. You cannot have a fandom where everyone loves the show and see nothing wrong with it. It is the nature of fandom. If you want to be a part of it, you have to accept that crude insults reflect the passion someone has for the story that is as strong as yours. Having that passion betrayed will generate strong feelings, and fandom is a place for protest as well as praise. Is some of that protest ugly? Of course it is. But if there is enough ugly protest in Outlander fandom for you to write a blog post this long, then some of it has to be legitimate and worth our attention.
It isn’t critiquing the show I have a problem with. I’ve done my share. I just don’t agree that personal attacks or crudeness necessarily reflect passion or any kind of productive discourse. I wrote a blog this long because I felt personal attacks on creators was wrong not critique (and thought I took pains to make the point about the difference). I’m a bit surprised that you are normalizing it. “But if there is enough ugly protest in Outlander fandom for you to write a blog post this long, then some of it has to be legitimate and worth our attention.” Are you suggesting the creators somehow deserve to be treated this way? There is plenty of room in the fandom to disagree and agree to disagree. Thanks for commenting.
But that’s just it–crudeness and insults are a part of fandom. That is what’s normal about it. This doesn’t mean that I want to voice my concerns that way, but as someone who has studied fandoms, it makes me wonder why people react that way. Don’t you wonder where that anger comes from? People don’t develop that sense of betrayal without a reason, and I’m more interested in the reason than in the way it gets expressed. I say that because while no one “deserves” to be insulted, I don’t feel sorry for the creators of the show who are the targets of such criticism. They get paid MILLIONS of dollars, and to hear them complain about their long work days or their feelings makes me cringe. Most of the Outlander fans I know work long hours each day and get middle-class salaries doing difficult work, like nursing, teaching, and serving in the military. They deal with harsh criticism all the time, but they don’t take home seven-figure salaries. Even more important–these creators intentionally use social media to market their work. If that means they suffer personal attacks, I doubt they mind so long as their work stays at the forefront of conversations about television. Imagine the challenge of keeping and attracting Outlander fans during the hiatus. Wait–I have an idea. Release unseen footage of a pivotal scene, have Diana comment on it, watch the fans come out of hibernation to debate it, then have people write about fan behavior. Post it on Facebook, tweet about it, and blog about it. Releasing the footage takes minutes and costs next to nothing. Fan behavior? Totally free, goes on for days, and hits a range of media outlets. These are textbook social media tactics, and they work. No–I don’t feel sorry for the creators of the show. They are pretty savvy if you ask me.
wow, you have a more cynical bent of mind than myself, but I think studying fandom is some pretty interesting social research.
Dr M, I thought the very same thing. They released the scene knowing full well the effect on the fandom. Keep the tension alive. That’s why they kept Jamie and Claire apart for so long in S2. It took what, 5 episodes before they found a way back to each other. However, I do think it backfired. It turned off many viewers. The book readers like myself. They forgot their fan base is mostly mature women who are way past the foolishness that exists on tv. Kind of moving away from it all for a while. I am positive that the first video that comes out for S3 will pull me back hook, line, and sinker. I have a feeling they will keep Jamie’s look hidden until the printshop scene. That will be the first time we see him older. Oh no, here I go. Right back in. Obsessed! Way too emotionally attached to this show.
Wow, Dr. M! I was kind of blown away by your critique of the working class versus the producers of Outlander. That somehow we (the audience) should dictate how this program should be shown – that because we are middle-class and we work so hard for little income, that gives us the right to demand more from those who are working really hard to put out a beautiful program because they are making a ton of money. I’ll reread your comments because they puzzle me. Beth Wesson has her blog, her feelings, her take on Outlander, her response on what’s going on. That’s why so many of us follow her. If you have followed Beth’s blog, you would read differing opinions and definitely not one-sided as you suggested. With respect, Dr. M. Nancy C.
Nancy–please reread my post again because you have misunderstood my comments about salaries and class. It’s fine to disagree with my points, but at least get them right. I never said we can demand what we want from Ron simply because we are middle class. I also never said Beth’s blog is one-sided, though the majority of the comments and Beth herself praise the show. I have read your comment carefully, and I only ask that you do the same for mine.
I want to stress that I study fandom, and that means reading tons and tons of social media, from Beth’s blog to tweets to Tumblr–you name it. The quantitative data about Outlander fandom is that it is majority positive. Why, then, all this handwringing about people who get nasty? They are such a small minority of Outlander fans. As a researcher, I want to know what fuels the rage in that minority. This does not mean, and I never said, that I applaud insults and personal attacks. I do, however, object to anyone who would want to police this discourse, regardless of how nasty it can be.
The social media sandbox is a fierce one, but it is an open one. I would not see that change for anything in the world. And I stand by my claim that people who make millions of dollars from fees that we pay to watch the show they produce know full well how to stir the pot of contention. They have thick skins, and if they can’t take the heat after setting the fire, then they are in the wrong business.
I agree with Dr. M. I’m not sure if Starz included this scene to get this type of fan reaction but got it they did. They even got press from outlets such as Vanity Fair reporting on this fan reaction. Starz counts on the fans to have these strong, emotional reactions to uphold their marketing strategy that is based on us fans- “Obsessable”. Here’s my take, there have been many deleted scenes released so, as Dr M. asks, why the reaction to this particular scene? While Beth you may not agree, many fans did question the development of Jamie in S2. Call it emasculation, call it strengthening Claire etc, etc, the bottom line is fans were at the very least puzzled by some choices that RDM made. And just when we thought it was over, boom! here comes an absolute gem of a performance by our lead actor that could have been included in the episode but wasn’t. So, this isn’t just any deleted scene that incensed fans, it was pivotal scene that further captured the understanding of a couple who felt both guilt and grief over their lost child. I, for one, would shout from the rooftops about its exclusion. It’s our right, our privilege, our duty to do so. If it runs you off of SM maybe you can’t handle the truth.
Shout it from the roof tops! But are you you publicly calling out RDM to be slapped “like the little bitch that he is”? My guess would be no. This is the type of thing I find crosses a line of decency. I will repeat I have nothing against critique, but I will continue to plea for decency despite it making for interesting research.
Beth, thanks for excellent post, as always! Appreciate the lesson on difference between critical and critique, although my understanding of judgment does not necessarily including negative.
Dr.M. I also wonder about what motivates vitriol; is it attention-seeking, or is it that people feel so strongly connected it is as though they are defending these characters like they were close friends/family?
I also agree with your comment on media savy-the idea of releasing tidbits to tantalize fans, keep them engaged; I don’t agree much with the millionaire comment-everyone deserves respect. SM encourages venting, (witness this blog & comments) but venting can be unheathly, even dangerous if it escolates to anger, hatred, violence. I would love to hear more about your fan behavior research!
As a dedicated fan of books and series, I am thankful for teasers and tidbit. Deleted scenes add to my enjoyment. Keep them coming!
I always derive a lot of insight from your blogs but don’t always respond because I think you might get tired of hearing me cheering you on with a “You Go Girl!!!” After reading this blog I just want to be first in the queue for the Beth Wesson Band Wagon.
I have been a book fan, eagerly awaiting the next book in the series ever since discovering Outlander in 1999. I have lost track of how many times I have read the books, then discovered the audible books and listened to each book in the series again and again…not just the naughty bits, but starting with Outlander and moving through each chapter, each word, through Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.
The TV series is just the icing on this treat. I loved the Faith episode. Ms. Balfe was amazing in her portrayal. The bits that fell on the cutting room floor were riveting and Sam Heughan brought his own depth of pain to his performance. I agree that it would have been great to have those bits in the final version, but that is only because I now know they exist. Seeing the footage was one of those “wow” moments when you thought it was as good as it could get, but then it got even better. I am so glad I am not the one who must make those decisions.
The television series is not exactly like the book series and the book fans, by now, should fully realize the difference between the book and an adaptation of the book. Each stands on its own merit and thankfully the television series has been placed in the hands of RDM who undeniably is willing and able to bring to life some epic ________, well you know.
Thank you for giving me a spot to air my own opinion.
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Everything Nanaronnie said and more! LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU, BETH!! and I am all aboard the BETH WESSON BAND WAGON, yeeeHAW!
I agree with Dr M. Dianna has written such a wonderful story with characters that have such depth they feel real. The feelings they bring out remain with us long after we read or watch the story unfold. The fandom is so passionate bc of this and the fact that there is something about their relationship that has touched us very deeply. For some it is not just fantasy it became life changing. Whether it be re-connecting with a loved one, finally losing that weight, going to Scotland or daily visits to a homemade standing stone circle next to the koi pond. If people are going to be passionate about something well, then there will be passion. I agree that we should not be rude, but passion can sometimes take that form. Although I really enjoy reading this blog I do feel it is unnecessarily “preachy” from time to time. Hey, it’s your blog so it’s how you feel.
I have enjoyed every minute of the show! I am a true fan. Right now I am on book #7! All I can say is, you’ll never make all of the people happy all of the time!!! Keep doing the great job you are doing! The only request that I have, is to show more of Jamie and Claire as a true married couple like when Sam grabs her bum and squeezes it!!! Or even just looks at Claire with the lust that he has for her! How sexy the little things can be! Can’t wait til Season 3!!!
I am a rabid fan of the books ( that I’ve read all more times than I can count ) and a rabid fan of the show which I have also watched many times. The casting is amazing….I can’t imagine anyone else in those parts ! There are things I wished had been left in the filming but it certainly did not detract from total enjoyment of the series. The only thing I have a gripe about is the looong wait for the next season and the next book !!!!
Dianna story is wonderful and Ron D Moore and his cast are doing a marvellous job. So it’s not just like the books, it’s a different medium. Enjoy it for its own merit. The casting has been superb (every character has given their very best) and the central theme of the story is still there. Critique if you want but be kind. These people are working very hard to bring this story to television. Not an easy task! Well done to the cast and crew, the costuming and set design. Keep bringing it to us Meril and Ron You all deserve praise not criticism. Thank you.
You are so right. Love your posts and agree with many things. Keep it up. Thanks Elaine
On Wednesday, 19 October 2016, My Outlander Blog! wrote:
> bethwesson posted: ” Sunday, I was made aware there was trouble brewing in > the Outlander fandom over some edited footage from the final scenes of the > episode “Faith”. It’s been a couple of days and I’ve had a chance to see > some interactions between fans, creators, author,” >
The “same Dirty Dozen….” They make me ashamed to be a fan. 😦
It truly is just a handful of people who do the nastiest stuff, but they drag others in with them
Well said! Thank you, I sincerely hope the nay sayers read this, (the blog, not my comments), and take a moment to analyse what they have done. Ron D. Moore is an exceptional writer, show-runner, etc. and Outlander is an extremely difficult story to tell in a visual form. Shame on these selfish people who think they are the only one’s with a viable thought or idea. The books and the TV series are two mediums that should be appreciated for what Diana Gabaldon and Ron Moore have made of them.
I’ll fight for anyone’s right to critique. It is the deliberate personal attacks that contribute nothing but hurt I’m talking about
Thank you, thank you, Beth, for your great article and input. Sometimes the negativity just astounds me.
My goodness – so many opinions and so many thoughts. So I’ll put in my own two cents, for what it’s worth. I loved The Faith episode. I was fully vested in how it was portrayed – the actors giving it their all. That rendition of the pain, the confessions, the love resonated loud and clear. Yes, I watched the extended version of Faith. I truly cannot say that including that version would have changed my emotional response. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautifully done. (And even more truthfully, I hated the beard, so seeing it in the extended version was off-putting. That is my personal opinion, of course.) I’ve read and reread the books and love Diana’s words and her story. I’ve watched and rewatched the TV version and love Ron’s vision (and all the others who make it possible). I don’t think that I will ever question the direction the story goes. It is all about the love between Claire and Jamie – and no matter the twists and turns we watch on TV Outlander, that love will alway, always reign! By the way, I’m not connected to all the social media that is scorning the story of Outlander. I’m thankful for that. Thanks, Beth, for another thought-provoking post.
I’m rather in agreement with Beth! Although while I’d heard a bit of “upset” here and there, I didn’t realize it had gotten a bit nasty. NanaRonnie has precisely my point of view, and I can’t help but think some comments I’ve read seem way off base “Crude insults = passion = normal”???” And that’s a good thing??? You gotta be kidding me–or I wish you were. Much of all the criticism and social media commentary has gotten WAY out of hand to the point I feel like yelling, “Get a life people because you are losing a sense of reality! If you ever had one.” (Some some fans don’t; they’re the ones who put “fanatic” back into “fan.”) I’m a big fan of the books however late in coming to them I was, and I would not have known about them had it not been for the series, which I also love. I am passionate about the books and passionate about the show, and I love the positive impact the books, the show, the actors, have had–they’ve gotten me through some tough times, but honestly, I am hating the vitriolic rhetoric, the nastiness, of some so-called “fans” that go way past criticism, past “critique,” and in some cases, past even “judgmental.” Even the lesser complaints get tiresome. The amount of “conspiracy” nonsense that Moore and the creative team sometimes get is nuts. Fine, dislike something, say it, but in this day and age of “anything goes,” so called “freedom of speech/expression” has no reasonable limits, sending it into “license to do and say anything,” People scream “I have a right!” When am I going to hear “I have a responsibility”? If some fans don’t reign it in a bit and start drawing some boundaries, Beth is right: the end result will be that the production people and the actors will limit their accessibility, which has been one the joys of this show. And they should! Who deserves to drown in hate-speech (or even just excessive negativity) or be cyber-stalked (as I heard someone/s did to gals Sam Heughan dated)? No one! Not even if they make “millions of dollars” vs. middle-aged, middle class women fans who don’t! Do I hear a little classicism there? One may have a “right” to “criticize,” but social media has blown that “right” right out of the water with excess and the power of seeming “anonymity” which allows cruelty and feeds ideas of entitlement. It is fine for anyone to say what they like or dislike about the show, to agree or disagree with choices made, but to act like or to say, Moore or anyone–cast, crew, or production–are basically “plotting” to upset fans…Aw, come on! Many times criticism of the shows producers and creators come from people who have absolutely no concept of the differences between the mediums: novels, film, TV, or theater, no idea of the difficulties of adaptation, nor idea of the way any of the industries work, even no idea what an actor, writer, or producer does. Does this mean one has to like every choice that’s made? No. However, too much second-guessing of creative choices by people who don’t know the process and its difficulties does tend to lead to assumptions, and those assumptions often lead to nastier than needed comments both personal and professional about the production team and even the cast. No process is perfect; choices that are mistakes possibly are and will be made, but how the heck does that equal a “conspiracy against fans”? Give me a freakin’ break! No one is “owed” anything! We are SO lucky to have gotten a good adaptation by people who actually give a damn about doing as good and faithful a job as possible! I don’t think a lot of people have a ghost of an idea about just how badly these wonderful books could have been butchered! I’m sure I’ll not care for some things, but I think a wonderful job has been done so far. The show has brought so many good things: employment and enhanced tourism for Scotland, a resurgence of interest in Gaelic, helped talented but relatively unknown actors to due prominence, and given birth to wonderful creativity that bring our beloved characters and stories by Diana Gabaldon to life! So my plea to many fans is “Go ahead and disagree when you feel like it; be passionate but keep it civil! Quit whining and thank your lucky stars!” I certainly am. Thank you. My rant is finished.
wow! Thanks for sharing. You hit my main points for sure!
Great blog as always Beth. And I agree to an extent when it comes to people who are ugly, rude, hatefulmean-spirited etc .. If you are truly a fan, there is no place for that.
However, I do feel the need to post my feelings on the general attitude that a person is either one extreme or the other. Meaning you are either a negative, complaining, demanding hateful fan .. Or you are a sycophant fan who must triumph every choice or decision or face scorn and scolding if you politely disagree
I am in public relations, and firmly appreciate real feedback. If there is a pulse of feeling out there.. or an impression that may not be what is intended, I would want to know it. That is why we test, survey, run focus groups. Sometimes you are so close to something that outside perspective can give insight.
Again, I am not talking about hateful, demeaning, demanding type talk. I am talking about politely but honestly offering feedback. People that are fans and express how they feel in a kind and thoughtful way, even if it is to disagree, are not “whiners, trouble-makers, impossible to please” etc. It doesn’t mean they don’t love the show and think it’s the best thing in television. It doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the hard passionate work of all the cast, crew, writers, producers etc.
Many of them are the same people that 95% of the time shower all of these people with praise, advocate for the show on social media and personal pages, vote and take every opportunity to put Outlander in the forefront. They are people that watch each episode double digit times, buy “The Making of Outlander” and Collector Edition blu-ray sets. They are people that belong to multiple fan sites, listen to three different weekly podcasts on the show (including Ron’s). In case you don’t realize, I am one of these fans. I strongly advocate for this show. It is my favorite show on television. I can’t even tell you how much time (and money) I spend focused on this show and these books. I love this series. I love these characters. I think the show, the cast, the writers are fantastic. I defend it to the core and have four different folders of photos on my facebook page that I regularly add to regularly to keep the show “visible” even during “Droughtlander”. So trust me, I love the show. That does not mean if I see something concerns me as a trend, I shouldn’t be able to give a note of feedback about it without being scolded for it.
Two things concerned me in S2 (as many fans have said). First there was a lack of the intimacy, humor and connectivity that are trademarks of Jamie and Claire’s relationship. We say that, not because we are sex fiends, not because we don’t care about story, not because we want something to complain about. We say it, hoping the powers that be hear it, and keep in mind that people felt that way and adjust a little as they develop S3. Maybe they won’t care, maybe they will. But all we can do is give the feedback and hope.
The same is true for the second thing, which is treating Jamie like a secondary character to Claire. Before this edit came out, it was something many noticed and even Ron reiterated in his own podcasts. It was very pervasive in the 2nd season.. Claire given thoughts, ideas, etc that were Jamie’s in book. Inventing things for her to do because she wasn’t front and center. Basically treating Claire as the star and Jamie as a costar. Then Ron would say its “her” story.. Not “their” story. There are countless examples of this, and fans have expressed they hope this thinking changes heading into S3, and that they are treated as equal leads on the show going forward.. because its troubling to see Jamie’s character slighted. This Faith edit is yet another example brought to light of this concern, which is why people are voicing their thoughts. “Hey, this was so masterful. Jamie lost a child too. His feelings mattered. He was MIA the whole episode, why not let him have this moment?” ..
People say, “why say anything .. Its done, what’s the point?” .. The point is, we are trying to show whoever that this was another time Jamie’s character was held back to allow Claire’s to have prominence.. And some people hope to see them depicted accurately and equally going forward. Again, maybe they will hear it, and it will come to mind in the future.. Maybe they won’t. But all we can do is express the thought and hope its considered.
No matter what happens though, I will continue to love, honor and advocate for the show. I still think it’s the best show on TV. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother caring about these characters or how they are represented. I can voice this feedback respectfully and still be a loyal, passionate caring fan of the show and everyone involved…
On a completely separate note, I truly thank Ron and Maril for including the extended version of the Faith episode on the Blu-ray, so those of us that like that version can choose it as we binge watch in the future 🙂
“Again, I am not talking about hateful, demeaning, demanding type talk.” This is what I’m talking about not respectful debate. I don’t happen to agree that there was no intimacy in season 2 or that Jamie was a secondary character, but I know there were many folks who do. I will agree I miss the humor from the books and really enjoyed Diana’s episode for that reason. You could definitely see her humor coming through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I know you weren’t saying that Beth.. but I had to get that thought out somewhere. I see good fans that I know are so loyal to the show and advocate for it constantly… get attacked as soon as they express a concern or a choice they disagree on, even if voiced in a kind way. It isn’t right to villianize and label people .. Of course the ugly ones make it hard for anyone who has a respectful concern.
Also I didn’t say there was no intimacy, I just said it was lacking.. their connectivity overall. That picked up a little in the later episodes.
I completely agree about Diana’s episode. You saw her humor shine through.. it was great. She also really depicted the Jamie we know as well. It was little subtle things, but they were skillfully woven in .. beautiful. Loved the prayer and bed talk scene as well. Wonderful.
I’m sorry folks feel they can’t express critique.
Agreed Angela Hickey.
Well said, A.H.!! My thoughts as well. I’m not a purist when it comes to the books – I’ve even wished the show would create a few new scenarios to keep the story in Scotland longer. My frustration is in seeing distortions in the characterizations and relationship of Claire and Jamie. DG sometimes drags her readers along for some very bumpy rides – and some occasional long, slow stretches – but fans continue to hang on because of their love for those two characters and their relationship. To me, they are iconic. They are definitely the heart of the books. Changing them is what I have the hardest time understanding, and what frustrates me the most. Changing anything about the core of two such greatly loved characters seems like poor decision making. Some fans hope TPTB will listen and adjust, so we can also see those characters on our TV – and hopefully for many more years.
Angela, loved your post, thanks so much!! I also want to add about Diana’s episode, another little thing…Murtagh asking Jamie if he ever thought that taking Claire to wife wasn’t the smartest thing he’d ever done. Humor, affection and connection. Jamie and Murtagh expressing something any viewer or reader has wondered….all in two lines
Have loved the books for 20 years. love the show also. am middle aged and quite passionate still but generally not in public. Have to say i agree with AH. was a little shocked as i thought i saw the degradation of Jamies’ character , and the increased emphasis on Claire’s. Assumed it was a choice the producers made. Accidently landed in here and never engage in this stuff but thought i’d weigh in.
Wonderful blog, Beth. I agree with you. I am so thankful that OL has been brought to life in the show, and overall I love the adaptation. But when the creators of it are repeatedly “bashed” on SM, I cringe. I am so thankful to have access to the cast and producers, writers, etc on SM! I am over 60 and so I don’t take it for granted! Love your blog and I agree that we as fans can critique but should be respectful of the very hard work that is done to bring the show to us. I think that the constructive criticism is good, though, and hope that the feedback from fans will be helpful to the creators of the show, not hurtful.
Excellent article, as always, Beth. I had read Metyin’s post and a few agreeable responses. I did not, thankfully, see all the ugliness descend. My life, as with many others I’m sure, can do without that right now. Including very human producers, writers and actors. I never will understand where “these people” get off. But I can ignore them and move on, which I will do. I have more important things to pay attention to, and so do the show staff. Let’s hope the TV and awards critics do, too. Meanwhile I slog through Droughtlander like the multitudes of true fans, awaiting the S3 premier! Keep on telling it like it is, Beth!
Well said, Beth. Thanks for expressing so well what many feel.
I wanted to add something to this as well – it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and so just getting it out there. Some may agree, others not. That’s ok with me. I am of a certain age (well past the age of majority but not quite at retirement yet…) and so feel myself still much of a newby when it comes to social media. I have had to learn the embarrassingly hard way sometimes how to navigate the do’s and don’ts and I groan to think of some of the misses I’ve had especially with Twitter! Sigh! Thanks goodness I have 7 grandkids to teach me the error of my ways. What I have seen often on Facebook and other platforms (is that the right terminology) is a certain lack of courtesy, politeness, consideration of others with some people’s comments as though somehow the anonymity of this technology gives one permission to just be plain nasty. It’s rude and it’s sad. Freedom of speech, having the right to express an opinion on any given topic should be everyone’s right – and while it’s also everyone’s right to be rude and offensive, why is it necessary. There is difference between ones inside voice and outside voice. Sure – we all can be thinking something nasty about someone who irritates the heck out of us, like a boss or a co-worker or a spouse or aging grandparent. But does that equate to the the necessity of being unkind? You know that old saying (and maybe some are too young to actually know it), but if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I do not propose to say that everyone should suppress their true feelings or opinions, but there is a way and means to, as you, Beth, so succinctly wrote earlier, critique versus criticize. Just be kind for heaven’s sake. Every person behind that online entity is a real person, with hopes and joys and feelings and losses and dreams. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend or someone else you really cared about, why say it at all? At the very least, try to express opinions without being offensive. Reminds me of the school playground bullying we’ve sadly all come to hear about – it touches more of us that it ever should And that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth. Thanks to those who might hear me – agree or not – ok by me!
Agreed, well said. I also was disappointed with that heart wrenching scene being left out, but is it gonna ruin my day, ruin my life ? – heck no!
Can people simply #1 state how KIND of the powers that be to have shared this out take with us. (they didn’t have to) # 2 NICELY voice a difference of opinion – “Well darn that scene would have made it so much better – but oh well” and #3 Get A Life – time to learn how to be joy-filled & not hate-filled.
I love your take on this Criticism versus Critique ! My attitude is be creative when you give a critique and don’t fall into criticizing, positive statements, not negative.. After a lifetime of working in the Public eye ( I was a Psychiatric RN) for longer than most of the Fans of Outlander have even been alive. Treating people with kindness, or firm respect is all I know because it works ! “Nice” never costs a Penny, and the rewards are in the Millions.
I am so Thankful for DG’s wonderfully charming, entertaining, peek in to lives of Centuries ago life, with great research to boot ! I am Thankful to “Starz” for Bankrolling this incredible Saga .The wonderful Actors, Producers and support personnel who took on this “Mission” are at the TOP of my List. I surround myself with Positive Fans on Social Media and your insightful Blog. Do I know about the “Fans” who constantly pull everything and everyone down…sure I do. I have choices, as we all do, and I choose to not let them ruin my love of the Books and the TV Adaptation.
Thank you Beth and others who have recognized the challenge of bringing the Outlander series to life. I am disgusted by the negativity and hope that everyone takes a deep breath and realizes that everyone involved in bringing Outlander to the small screen is coming from a place of love and respect for the source material.
So well said Beth Wesson. Thank You!
Beth – as usual I like what you wrote. Very clear and thought provoking. IF I manage to write a blog today, I plan to put a link back to this in it – FYI.
You & I have both said, many times, we encourage critique and discussion. People have said here in the comments they miss the ‘lack of intimacy’ between J & C in S2. Like you, I disagree on that lack. I saw a great deal of ‘intimacy’ – just not expressed sexually. It was small things: looks, expressions, small touches….subtle but very much there. There were several people across social media who literally screamed for MORE SEX. I personally feel that would have been out of place with the storyline.
Expressing an opinion – critiquing something – is good. Discussion is good. Hearing well-presented, thoughtful ideas contrary to our own to make us think and process is GOOD.
Using vile language to ‘make your point’, threatening people with sexual assault or other bodily harm, digging up and putting out on SM private information on an individual that could cause them harm (mental, emotional, physical), attacking someone on social media with nasty names and threats – this is BAD. Honestly, I believe some people have gone into the area of criminal and should be prosecuted. Death threats are not funny and I’ve seen/heard about them against Ron, Terry, Sam’s dates, people in the ‘industry’ that do the interviews and writing articles (like KDS – notice she completely dropped Outlander for months right after she asked Sam & Cait if they ARE/ARE NOT dating in an interview).
A person can express an opinion, positive or negative, in a clear and passionate way without resorting to nasty. What is sad and a bit frightening is that SM makes it so easy for people to be very, very nasty without the repercussions there should be for taking that path.
Thanks Beth. Yes, I will continue to defend critique , but plead for decency. I agree that is only a handful of people who cross the line into truly harmful words and actions. But, I’m constantly surprised by those who defend and normalize it.
Not every last little moment from the books are going to make it to the screen, sometimes things get changed along the way too. This is sadly always the way when adapting for the screen. I say accept that or don’t watch, I think it’s as simple as that really. Getting angry and nasty about cut scenes is pathetic.
The question I always return to is, do these people really think thier “complaints” do them any good? I mean the show is filmed already by the time they see it. The next season is already broken out and likely written. And if I were a Producer, Director, Writer or Actor I sure as hell would not go out of my way to appease such nasty, difficult, rude, disrespectful people! Shut and watch and if you can’t move the heck on, go watch anything else. We won’t miss you.