First – I apologize. This is long again but it’s what I felt I needed to say.
I have made no secret of my thoughts about this show and the fandom surrounding it. Most of my blog posts have been observations about the Outlander fandom as it is the first and pretty much only fandom I’m really involved with. This fandom can and does do EPIC shit! The money that has been raised for extremely worthy charities, the hundreds of people that have gotten healthier thanks not only to Sam and his Peak Challenge in conjunction with Bear Strength – but the care and support of the fans for each other to strive to reach their fitness goals, support each other in times of trial, rejoice with each other in triumph. This is an amazing group of people and I feel blessed to be part of it – most of the time.
There is, however, a disturbing trend in this group to whine. Nothing, it seems, is ever quite good enough and simply must be complained about. When all this started – everyone was SO excited to just be finally getting it on the screen…..but then….Sam looked nothing like Jamie, Caitriona was too skinny, wrong eyes, Duncan should have hair, those are not the proper knits for the time period and on and on and on. I think for the most part people have settled with those early decisions and have moved on to other ‘issues’.
There is still a lot of ‘discussion’ _ahem_ about all that was done ‘wrong’ in Season 1 – even though all the complaining in the world won’t change it. I have suggested several times that people start discussions about Voyager – aka Season 3 – as that is not set yet. No one seems interested in this idea which is too bad, but if the value of expressing what the fans WANT to see in season 3 before it’s set can’t be grasped I’m not going to waste my time or energy trying to make people ‘get it’.
Today I saw slams against STARZ PR – they aren’t doing enough to promote the show. Over the last few months there have been load of complaints that WE (meaning Outlander) isn’t getting enough attention/press/episodes/hype/or giving the fans enough pictures or information.
Sorry, but I have to stand up and say STOP!
First, STARZ PR has been AWESOME to the fans of Outlander and, like it or not, OL is not their only popular show. All the giveaways they did in December weren’t for the fans?!. I happened to win a set of the posters. I was expecting little 8X10 promotional pictures and would have been perfectly happy with that but…..NO….these are full theatre size, high quality, absolutely awesome posters! Signed by Tobias, Catriona and Sam as appropriate.
STARZ PR got the show spotlighted at Comic Con and the PaleyFest when the show was barely going – amazing! The premiers that they have done are way above and beyond what they have done for other shows and we, as fans, have a lot of access to both the team and the stars. They did THREE premiers for the second half of the first season: LA, New York and the UK. That’s huge and bloody expensive I’m sure. No, not all fans can get to these events, but this is way more than what fans for other shows get.
Doing a bit of research, I picked five other STARZ shows and looked them up. These are shows that even I have heard about and they seem to be fairly popular. Here is what I found.
DaVinci’s Demons: Season 1 had 8 episodes / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 = 10 Eps
Ash vs Evil Dead: S1 = 10 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps
Survivor’s Remorse: S1 = 6 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 = 3 Eps?!
Torchwood: S1 = 13 Eps / S2 = 13 Eps / S3 = 5 Eps / S4 = 10 Eps (older series)
Black Sails: another favorite of mine and a fairly popular show that doesn’t get anywhere near the PR shine that OL does from what I’ve seen: S1 = 8 Eps / S2 = 10 Eps / S3 =10 Eps
So, realistically in comparison…for its very first, untried season Outlander was given two seasons worth of episodes! Other series get 10 episodes for their second season and OL / the fans got 13! Yet all the fans seem to do is complain that we are getting ripped off! I’m sure that is not how everyone feels, but this is the opinion that seems to be the most vocal – I’m really hoping the positive feelings will be expressed more prominently as time goes on.
STARZ put together an amazing team. Ron Moore has been in this business a long time and is very successful in it. So are the members of his team. They have a vision and know way better than we do the constraints they have to work under to bring in a good show under a contract. We as fans are NOT THERE. We don’t sit in on all the meetings with the accountants and suits and have to please both the fans and the guys that sign the checks. My perspectives are different and while I may not LIKE the way some specific thing was done – I can appreciate the difference in vision and wait to see where it goes. I trust them to do what is right for the series to make it a long-term deal. I’m not qualified to judge or make comments about Ron’s job because I have never done anything close to it! Same for Matt Roberts and the exceptional team of writers, Bear McCreary with his haunting/beautiful music and Jon Gary Steele and all those other marvelous people that give us such a fabulous show – including the PR staff!
I have acted a little and done some production work. I have done some costume work and I am in absolute awe of Terry Dresbach! If I could afford the trip I’d go work for her for free for a season just to learn a tiny bit of what she knows. None of this ‘experience’ makes me even remotely qualified to judge what any of these people do and have done on a daily basis for years. There is no way I would have the temerity to say they are ‘wrong’ about any decision they make for this or any other show they work on.
I’m sure I have a few people fairly steamed right now so let me qualify and clarify. No one is going to ‘like’ every single thing done on the OL show. (ah…I imagine that includes the people working on it). There is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing that opinion and why you would have liked to have seen something different. I encourage this – I always have. What I don’t like and wish people would stop doing is judging something they are not qualified to judge (i.e. STARZ PR is not capitalizing on the GG buzz enough, wasting opportunities…etc) and doing it in such a way as to be all negative. Unless you WORK or have worked in a particular field – you simply do not have enough information to ‘judge’ it. We as civilians to that have no idea what all STARZ is doing to promote the show – I’m pretty sure it isn’t all just what you see as an ad on TV/cable. This is true of any aspect of production.
STARZ has been really great to the fans of Outlander – in my opinion. Yes I won the posters which is cool but it is very unusual for me to win stuff. They have done lots of giveaways, lots of promotion, lots of ‘fan events’ – so many things that other shows aren’t getting and yet what I see most often is negative thrown at them. Why should they keep doing all they do if all they get is crap in return.
There is an idea being generated right now about kindness. Being kind to each other as fans; being kind to the actors to that work so hard to bring these characters to life; being kind to all the production team that does so much to make OL the great show that it is. Let’s include STARZ in that and be kind and grateful for all they have given us.
There is an old saying that you get more flies with honey than vinegar. People are perfectly within their rights to express disappointment with something – but it can still be done in a positive way. I hope more and more fans start expressing, loudly, all that we like and appreciate about this great show and the marvelous people that get it on the screen for us.
A final tidbit to mull over. If the loudest expressions about the show on social media are negative (this was wrong, that was wrong, hated this or that, Ron/writers/STARZ is ruining the story, etc.) why would anyone checking the show out want to watch it? I encourage all fans to start tweeting, facebooking, tumblering (whatever your preferred SM platform is) all the stuff you love about the show. Counter a negative/judgmental comment with something positive. DO NOT attack the person! DO NOT attack the opinion – simply balance it with something positive.