Happiness is…Outlander getting accolades

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There are a lot of things that make me happy like drinking a great cup of coffee by a fireplace reading a good book while snuggled in a fuzzy blanket. Or listening to children giggling or watching puppies frolic. Good Stuff.  You know what else is good? Learning that Outlander had been nominated for 3 Golden Globe awards.

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The results started rolling in this morning and so did the tweets.  In very little time, my notifications were lighting up with good news. Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, and the show its self were at the top of the list.  I kept asking if I had missed Sam Heughan’s nomination because I was THAT sure his brave and moving performance would be recognized.

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When I realized it was true…no nom for Sam, I experienced some very conflicting emotions.  I was thrilled for the others maybe even surprised.  Not because their performances weren’t brilliant, they were, but because I was worried we wouldn’t be noticed at all.  I’m pretty cynical about these awards things and I had been told repeatedly that we would be lucky to get one nod with all the great TV out there right now.  So, there I was feeling elated for Cait and Tobias one second and absolutely gutted for Sam the next.

Because my feelings ARE so strong, it hasn’t escaped me I might be giving validity to my families insistence that I have become obsessed.   For whatever its worth, I’m willing to admit maybe they are right because this feels personal.  I’m sure that part of the reason it feels personal is because I’ve been around the fandom since Diana Gabaldon announced the show was a go and a lot has happened in that amount of time.  We fans awaited casting news like the birth of a precious child. And, our first picture of Cait and Sam as Jamie and Claire?  Surreal.  There they were in the flesh and we all couldn’t quite believe it.

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Our fan experience was intensified by the willingness of the cast and crew, writers, producers and directors to talk with us and share behind the scenes tidbits and looks into what they do.  Matt B. Roberts “POD”,  Maril’s “heard on set” and Terry’s “tidbits” all helped us feel apart of what was happening. We knew they were all fans of the book and I felt reassured by Ron’s insistence that he wouldn’t mess up his wife’s favoriite! cf1346fb82adfc1f9e51059a52af3988

It was a singular experience and this inclusion has contributed to my feeling personal about these awards.  This is MY show about MY book.   We fought the critique that the show would only interest bored housewives and that men wouldn’t watch.  Our battle cry was, “Just wait you’ll see, this story is so much more!”  While we waited for the premier, I  remember anxiously hoping that they would do my very favorite book justice.  It could have gone so wrong.  It was such a wonderful story and I wanted the world to see it and fall in love with it too.

Diana Gabaldon’s books have become my favorite because of the wonderful stories she tells of a passionately committed couple and their adventures through life. I’ve always felt there were truths about what it means to be human spoken between those pages. Diana spoke to the irony and wonder that is life. So, I hoped that Ron Moore’s “adaptation” would be able to capture what I loved about this story; it has, but what I didn’t expect to see was Ron’s story of what it means to be human.  The visual story-teller told Diana’s story and somehow made it…more.  I am seeing Diana’s truths about life AND Ron’s as well. Two creative people’s ideas came together and the melding of their genius has created a new and inspiringly delightful visual version of my favorite story. Each new episode was like unwrapping a beautiful gift filled with amazing costumes, sets, acting, directing and writing.  It is a quality production that wasn’t afraid to be different or take on difficult material. Truly, I couldn’t be prouder if I had actually had anything to do with it myself <g>.

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I was reminded today that the show received a nomination for best drama and that means that everyone who had a part in creating the show is nominated.  That did make me smile.  So, congratulations to everyone!  Happiness is knowing people you’ve come to respect are getting recognized for all of their hard work and I’ll be celebrating by watching Claire get lost through the stones tonight while I snuggle in a blanket and drink some good coffee.

Golden Globes for Outlander…a fan’s wish!

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Thursday Outlander fans will find out if our show and its actors are on the short list for winning a Golden Globe award.  I’m terribly excited about this!

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Upon reflection (which I do from time to time), I realized I didn’t know diddly squat about the Golden Globes, but it hadn’t stopped me from being excited!  I mean really, the GOLDEN GLOBE awards, it just sounds important !  I mean they are golden and they’re globes!  Who wouldn’t like that!  Basically, I’m up for any award they want to give Outlander because well…these people! 

 

 

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and these people

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and, oh hell…just everybody…anybody that wrote a line, held a camera, designed a costume or set, made a prosthetic look real, sewed a button, hammered a nail or drove a car (Hi guys!) and helped make this production a reality. It is just lovely.

They have entertained me, made me cry, made me smile and made me proud. However, I’m pretty sure my satisfaction isn’t the criteria Globe folks are using to determine who will win their prestigious award.  So, I did a little reading to make myself a bit more knowledgeable (still stifling a squee though!). I found out that a group of writers got together in 1943  and decided to give an award for excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign. Currently, there are 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) that vote on winners in  a variety of categories from best song to best drama.  Because of the subjective nature of their votes there is always speculation awards like this might be as much about politics as they are about talent.  But, controversy and political maneuvering aside (I found out it really does seem to matter whether you are going for supporting actor or call your film a Drama), it is the third most-watched awards show each year and believed to be a serious predictor of who will win an Oscar. The show that wins and the actors, directors, writers, etc. definitely benefit from the notoriety winning the award brings.  More jobs and money for everybody!

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I just thought this looked like a pretty satisfied smile <g>.

 

Outlander is up for best TV Drama series.  A recent article in the Los Angeles Envelope analyzed how and why they think Outlander will get the nod:

Analysis: HFPA voters like to beat the Emmys to the punch by rewarding first-year shows. There’s no shortage of choices this year, but we suspect they might circle back to “Outlander,” the popular time-travel romantic fantasy series that gained momentum during the second half of its initial season.

Glenn Whipp, LA Envelope

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/la-en-gold-standard-golden-globe-contenders-20151124-story.html

A recent article by CarterMatt had this to say about about why Tobias Menzies should be considered for best supporting actor.

Tobias Menzies, “Outlander” (Starz) – Probably the most terrifying, hardened, and shocking performance of the year. We’ve said it before, but it takes something astounding to inspire hatred for a character. Black Jack Randall was a character who qualified for that and then some, and in the hands of a lesser actor we’re not sure that his scenes with Sam Heughan would’ve had the same impact. From Menzies’ approach to his delivery, the final episodes of season 1 in particular were so chilling that they will be impossible to forget.

CarterMatt, Nov. 2015 http://cartermatt.com/186916/2016-golden-globes-christopher-eccleston-tobias-menzies-supporting-hopefuls/

I totally agree.  Tobias’ frightenly good portrayal of Black Jack Randall made us squimishly uncomfortable.  Actors need someone to act against, play off of and I can imagine that Tobias performance did impact how deeply and wonderfully disturbing those scenes involving Black Jack ended up being.  I think Sam Heughan, Jamie, even said Tobias’ portrayal of Jack was “scary”. In those last two episodes of season 1,  I wanted to look away and found I couldn’t.  It was truly emotionally unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I was as staggered by the acting as I was by the visceral story that was unfolding on my screen.

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I’m happy to say that although Tobias’ portrayal of Black Jack was perfectly perverse those final episodes were truly and rightfully about Jamie. Sam let us see Jamie thinking and feeling. His ability to emote continues to astound. I felt the tension in his body, the pain and the shame. Although there were wonderful lines spoken, they were “no but weak words” when compared to the story we SAW. There were images on my TV  that night that will not likely be forgotten. Jamie’s absent face as he lay on the pallet reminding BJR of his promise to kill him and his devastation following his orgasm at the hands of his rapist. The prison scenes truly exceeded my expectations and I cannot say enough about the dedication to their craft exhibited by everyone involved. Ground-breaking. It was a brutally honest portrayal of rape and its aftermath.

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I’ve read what critics and other’s who have seen the finale said about their reaction to these particular scenes. They were sobbing with a gut wrenching connection to characters on a TV show, something they had never experienced before. I believe them. They were beautifully filmed and acted episodes.

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Caitriona Balfe’s performance perfectly portrayed our frustratingly principled Claire.  The series’ success fell heavily upon the shoulders of this actress who had to make us believe this had really happened to her.  She fell through time and had to find a way to survive long enough to find a way back.  Caitriona’s Claire was believable.  She allowed the TV audience to truly care about this character.  We could put ourselves in her place, we could feel her anxiety, fear, and confusion.  How refreshing was it to watch an actress portray a woman who was neither a stereotype nor a sex object, but a woman who knew her own worth and expected to be treated as the capable woman she knew herself to be.  Cait’s performance embodied the strong, pragmatic, smart, and kind woman the book readers fell in love with and as a result, so did the viewers.  She was a kick-ass, brave heroine.  Acting in almost every scene, for 16 episodes, is a long time to maintain a performance.  She only got better.  Her chemistry with Sam Heughan was a joy to behold (that river scene!).

The show its self was ground breaking on so many levels.  They weren’t afraid to go there whether it was showing sex in its innocence and depravity, its joy and its horror or  the challenges of male and female expectations of 200 years ago.  They showed us women who could save the day, be heroines, face the unimaginable, pick themselves up  and still care about the people around them (just like women do everyday). They showed us men with integrity and emotional intelligence.  I think for me that was the most groundbreaking thing Starz and Tallships Production did.  They weren’t afraid to tell a story of people who wrestle with choices and choose kindness, honor, truth and self-sacrifice.

Somewhere, in TV and maybe our real-life culture, the idea of self-sacrifice as being a noble action has fallen away to the need for self-fulfillment at any cost.  I’m happy there is a production on TV that isn’t afraid to tell another kind of story. It’s  wonderfully full of redeeming characters who don’t always have to be right or have their own way.

So, if I had the power, I’d give them all a Golden Globe!  But, instead, I’ll be anxiously waiting to hear that our beloved show got the notice it deserves.

 

 

 

If you haven’t watched Outlander yet…why not?

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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.  

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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.

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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!

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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.

And….the sex!

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.

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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.

 

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