EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!…Outlander’s Deleted Scenes

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“So, what do you think of the deleted scenes folks are posting? ” I asked my Twitter friend.

“I know! I really enjoyed the gag reel and the table read.” my friend shared.

“Haven’t seen those, but I can tell you if you needed a lesson on why a scene should be cut those were it! ”  I announced.

“You haven’t bought the DVD? ”

“Not yet…why? ” I questioned…hearing the odd tone in her voice that marked a possible boo boo on my part.

“Ron talks about why each scene was cut.” she said confirming my “I boo booed” feeling.

“Well, I guess that shoots a hole in the blog I JUST wrote about why each scene should have been cut!” I moaned. ” Maybe I ought to go buy it?… Well…crap….”

Okay…I haven’t bought it yet, but I watched.  You know what?  I still think my points and post have something valid to say.  So, bearing in mind I wrote this BEFORE hearing Ron…here’s the blog

Season 1 part deux has been released and so has a flurry of deleted scenes.  I’ve watched them all.  Afterall, the day is long and the night “withOutlander” is upon us. I’ll take what ever they want to give me.  In addition to watching the videos folks posted, I also read their reactions to the scenes.  Most of what I’ve read has run along the lines of the “what a great scene I wish they would have left it in it would have really added to the story” variety.  I have to say I disagree. If ever there was a way to silence my editing doubts this was it.

In every instance, except the Claire and Murtaugh scene, I could see why the scene was left out.  And quite frankly, I wish I could un-see them! Here’s why.

I’m starting to see the value in an edited scene. Diana has pages to explain.  She has time and space to write details and explain motivations. Without that luxury, editing becomes very important especially in a visual medium. More words, more images, can muddle the impact of a scene. A moment can be lost by trying to get in one more thing.  A character can be changed by one word or one action too many.  I’m starting to see that my wish that they had more time may not necessarily mean the story would be better told. Oh, there are a few scenes I’d still argue for, but, overall the ones they chose to tell are conveying the right emotion and motivation.

I’m starting to believe there really can be too much of a good thing. Even too much Outlander! ( I see you doing the devil thing with your fingers)  Sometimes less really is more. Leave me some mystery!  Some of these scenes just revealed too much! Diana doesn’t tell us everything and there is a reason for that. It keeps us wanting to turn the page and has kept us all making inferences and conjectures about her characters and story for years.  A TV series has similar goals. They want us to tune in next week and if people are buzzing about the characters and story and wondering what will happen next then great.

The deleted scenes I saw took the characters in directions I didn’t think fit.  Claire came off too aggressive/passive aggressive and just plain insensitive.  Jamie’s character really wasn’t helped with the Gellis scene  ( He was hiding? Our Jamie?).  That same scene would have ruined the moment at the witch trail when Gellis sacrifices herself for Claire.  Too much too soon.  Would Geliis really have threatened Jamie over Claire? And, I liked the idea that only Claire knew Murtaugh’s real reason for devoting himself to Jamie. Having Jamie know Murtaugh had the hots for his mother just didn’t seem right for their relationship.

Overall, I think these scenes just confirmed for me that the process of adaptation is WAY more difficult than just choosing scenes.  What works on the pages of a book does not necessarily work on a screen.  And evidently, sometimes what is in written in a script doesn’t necessarily work on the screen! One of my readers, someone in the business, wrote this in response to one of my articles about the success of the adaptation and I thought it spoke to this post too.

I know there are folks unhappy with the adaptation.  The biggest sticking point as far as I can tell is the perceived lack of development in Jamie’s character.  I’ve had my own issues with his development, but I really thought that “The Reckoning’s” switch in POV went a long way in remedying that situation.  We have heard Ron say “we had to cut that for time” and folks are quick to point out a scene they felt could of or should have been cut to make time for the scenes they felt were necessary to the story.  The reality is that “Book Fans” aren’t the only ones viewing the show and a broader “viewing” audience has to be satisfied. And…someone has to call the shots.  I’m coming to understand that “calling the shots” is more complex than we can possibly imagine.

There are so many factors, so many variables and it’s easy to armchair quarterback.

But, critique is good. Discussion is good.

We all have our opinions and I find mine has changed over time with the education and unprecedented access to the making of this TV series we’ve been afforded. It isn’t my book, but I once heard the Matt B Roberts, Outlander writer and executive producer, say (definite paraphrase here because I’d never find that tweet again), that the show is like a child.  You can see the parent in its countenance, but it isn’t the parent it is its own person.  I get it.  And, I would add, what a delightful and precocious child it is!  I’ll be back for season two!

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