The Book is the Book & the Show is the Show

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I’ve been hanging out on the CompuServe forums quite a bit lately, and have been seeing an interesting trend in the comments. My ‘take’ is that the majority of the forum are book lovers that watch the show based on their love of the books.

As a side note, this is a place where there are many opinions and much nit-picking, but done with courtesy and respect. It’s a nice breather from most of the social media out there.

What I see as a trend in the comments, all over social media, is the disappointment of the show cutting out wonderful bits of the story claiming there ‘just isn’t time’ yet inserting other things that are totally off book that take up time. If they can do that, why can’t they use the wonderful material provided for them right there in the books?!

Now, I don’t have a degree or even much study in TV production. I have read what was basically a text book about TV production (A book called “Inside Section One” about the making of the original La Femme Nikita series) which opened my eyes to many things about making a weekly TV show that would never have crossed my mind. In this post I am merely taking my minor experience with acting, doing theatre (both on stage and behind the curtain), having participated in a movie, reading that book and just my own thinking and formulating one possibility as to why the show is going the way it is. It is an opinion, nothing more – I have no idea if I am thinking correctly or not.

The Team has said from day one that this would be an adaptation that would adhere to the story of the books as closely as possible. They have also said, absolutely, that while they will do their best to satisfy the long-standing fans of the books, their first priority is to make good television.

The term ‘good television’ is, somewhat, subjective. I know some people that think good TV is 24/7 sports. Others, find good TV in blood/guts/gore. Some, think reality TV is the greatest. Comedy, drama, soaps and so on….everyone has their own idea of what is good or bad television. For the bean counters, it is a show that will include the biggest possible audience that will draw in advertisers and grow to keep making money. There is quite often a ‘target’ audience. I know with LFN the original ‘target’ was 18 – 35 year old males, hence Peta Wilson in the title role. However, as the show progressed, while the producers got that target audience, they were shocked to find their biggest most supportive audience was 18 to 65 year old women because of the lead male role of Michael played brilliantly by Roy Dupuis (who they didn’t want originally).

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I would say, JMHO, that for the particular show of Outlander, good television is meaning that it appeals to a fairly large audience (those interested in the books, Scotland, history, drama, and adventure with the added twist of time-travel). Good television has to capture an audience with EACH episode. One never knows when a viewer will stumble upon an episode having no idea the show exists or, never having watched it, and – lacking better options at that moment chooses to watch. So, there has to be tension, some comedy moments for relief, some conflict that can happen and be resolved in that timeframe while leaving a bigger thing hanging to draw viewers back to the next episode. A lot to balance.

Diana is a wordsmith of epic proportions – literally. Davina Porter reading the unabridged version of Voyager goes 42 hours and 50 minutes. The Team is trying to shoehorn this story into around 13 hours. Bloody YIKES!

Like all the Outlander books, Diana has woven a rich, thick, complicated tapestry of a story. Even many of the ‘secondary’ characters (Mr. Willoughby/Yi Tien Cho is a great example) have pages and pages dedicated to ‘their’ story. All these wonderful side bits and stories within stories that she can layer in because she has the time and space to do that – and while they are rich material, those bits might be far too complicated to get across in a one hour-ish episode with lots of other stuff going on.

So, here is my thinking. The team takes the important bits of the story that need to be kept in to keep cohesion (Jamie & Claire’s relationship, young Ian being kidnapped, going after Ian which takes them to Jamaica and beyond) and breaks those important elements into the 13 episodes they have been given to work with. Then they have to fill the time for those episodes in such a way to make it ‘good television’ (all the points I mentioned above) and keep the flow of the story. To me, this means inserting less complicated bits to hit all the notes they need to while keeping with the main push of the story and ending the episode in such a way people will want to come back.

I know many book people are disappointed with missing so much of the rich material that is in the books, but really, because it is so layered and nuanced, it is hard to give it any kind of justice in the time they have. Likely it is far easier to invent a simple bit of tension; the “Jonah” arc in “The Doldrums” episode rather than trying to actually explain the entire story behind Yi Tien Cho. It keeps to the overall story in plausibility without stripping a good piece of writing down to so little as to be meaningless and still be plausible within the frame of the original work.

I have truly never minded the differences because I started out on the journey of the series expecting them. I can embrace them because I like being shown a different facet of the same story – seeing it from a different perspective that challenges my own thinking. Also, the books will always be there to drown in and enjoy in a way, no matter how much you might like the series, simply has no comparison.

Again, this is only MY opinion and thoughts.

Cheers!

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“King of Men” – really?

As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I go a different direction from most of the Outlander blogs. There are several exceptional bloggers out there that recap and discuss the various episodes so well that I wasn’t even going to try. I have read some fabulous takes on Ep306 and many of the comments following them were enlightening as well.
Looking back at my various posts; I can get preachy. Sorry. That really isn’t my intention when I’m writing (well ok sometimes it is). I just see something I really like or really hate and spout off about it. It’s just my personal take on things meant to give people a different perspective. Should be interesting to see where this post lands.

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Some people were disappointed with certain aspects of this episode. I can empathize with that, but not with how a few chose to express themselves about it. I already ranted about that – done – no worries. However, I saw and interesting comment on one of those many great blogs yesterday and it made me think, which prompted me to write something so here we go.

This brought some different perspective to me & helps me not hate the episode. But I still always get the feeling that the writers just don’t “get” Jamie & his larger than life personality as the “king of men”.

I paused over this for quite some time. First because I’m pretty sure it was in the writer’s room with RDM that this phrase first came into use. *Edit – I have had this confirmed by DG. Second – I’ve never seen Jamie that way.    *ducking*   Let me explain.
Part of what makes Jamie the ‘king of men’ is that he always says exactly the right thing (he doesn’t ALWAYS because he isn’t perfect, but way more often than not). He says all these ‘perfect’ things because he has an incredibly talented, witty and wise woman writing his lines for him. She also writes his actions and thoughts. The character may ‘talk’ to Diana – but it is still all in HER head.
Sam/Jamie has the same benefit with amazing writers and directors to help him out.

Jamie – contrary to often voiced opinion – is not perfect. He has a tendency to be arrogant. (Be honest with how full of himself he was taking over Lallybroch and how WAY out of his league he was). He can be a hot-head and not think through the possible repercussions of his actions; probably why it drives him so crazy when Claire does it. There is other smaller stuff, but those are the big things. I mean, some of what Jamie does – if it was anyone else (including your own partner for those that have one) you’d probably want to slap them silly.
Part of what made me fall in love with this story is that the characters were so ‘real’. They all have flaws, they screw up, they have moments of perfection and they slog their way through life like all mortals must. Perfect is plastic and very uninteresting.
Sam plays/portrays Jamie in a very physical – yet often subtle way. He so reminds me of one of my favorite actors – Roy Dupuis (I have a page dedicated to him here). Roy is a master at communicating a great deal with only his eyes and the tiniest of movements. If anyone has seen the original La Femme Nikita series and the character of Michael – you know exactly what I mean. Sam has a lot this same talent; the ability to let things just power out of his eyes and use of body language and movement to express things rather than words. The performances are all the more powerful for their subtleness. It also means when a line is delivered or big movement is used, they are that much more dramatic.
The actor and the character he/she portrays have a unique bond. Sam has made some choices in how Jamie acts and reacts based on the character that has been developed over the first two seasons and where he knows things are going. The ‘base’ of Jamie is the books – of course – but this Jamie is in the alternate reality of the TV series so, while still Jamie, there can and will be minor differences.
Maybe part of the reason I don’t get all wound up about the differences or even outright changes in the show from the book is I expect them. I’m not asking the show to be ‘perfect’ – I’m asking that it be good, well-done television that stays true to the characters and story (within the constraints episode numbers/time imposes). I believe ‘The Team’ has done this. The story – the important main artery of the story – is still there. The characters a still very real and relatable – not perfect.

I don’t feel Jamie is the ‘King of Men’ – I don’t like putting anyone on that much of a pedestal for them to fall from. I like him better being a good guy that still screws things up (people will understand, trying to be nice here to non-readers) yet is steadfast for his love, family and what he feels is right.

Well done.

Being Thankful

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So once again, there is angst and drama in the Outlander Clandom. The culprit this time is a deleted scene from S2 revolving around the death of Faith. Once again, my biggest frustration is that SOME of the ‘fans’ rather than being thankful went into full bitch mode.

I am working to accept the fact that there is a small contingency of people out there that are going to be nasty. Nothing I or anyone else can say or do is going to get them to realize that there is indeed a difference between critiquing something and criticizing it. These people are going to be loud, rude and nasty no matter what just because they feel entitled to. I can’t imagine how some of the fans who follow thousands of people and see this nastiness on a regular basis deal with that much negativity in their life. I have cut my SM time to bare minimum with only a specific list I’m following on Twitter until after the elections because I was upset and angry all the time.

Beth Wesson did an absolutely fabulous blog about all this with links to two really interesting articles about fandoms and some of the issues that are coming out with social media playing such a role in the arena now. Please click here to read FANS & CREATORS…DRAWING A LINE OF DECENCY IN THE SAND.

 

Another recent blog that I really liked can be found here: A RESPECTFUL NOTE TO YOU, RON, ABOUT JAMIE. The author let her readers know her frustration without being at all disrespectful, whiny or nasty. It was a wonderful read.

Instead of duplicating the efforts of other writers better than myself, I thought with Thanksgiving coming up (Canada having already had theirs) I’d list off some stuff I’m thankful for rather than grousing (too much) about stuff that is frustrating me. So here goes.

I’m thankful that the last job I had allowed me to spend my days around books. Being in a second hand store that processed and resold donations, I was exposed to a huge variety of tomes I might not have looked at otherwise. I had to have a good enough feel for the book to know where to shelve it, and so I found many authors I fell in love with while ‘working’. This is how I found Diana Gabaldon and Outlander.

I am thankful that a ‘movie’ was never made of Outlander. Huge parts of the book had to be left out with 16 hours to work with – a 2-3 hour movie wouldn’t have come close to doing it justice.

I’m thankful that Ronald D. Moore saw something gripping in the pages of these books and was willing to put in the effort to get it made right and on a channel that would allow the grittiness, sex and violence that is part of the story be told properly without having to water it down for viewers.

I’m supremely thankful that Ron and his team work with Diana to keep (usually) the story on track. I’ve seen many stories where the original author is cut out of the process completely.

I am thankful for a solid group of extremely talented actors who get the essence of these extremely layered and complex characters. Actors who work very hard to bring that to the screen. People who give up a lot of privacy to make, promote and give this story to the fans. While they get paid for their time, it has to get old to so constantly be in the spotlight with no life to call your own. I appreciate their willingness to interact with the fans and hope they won’t feel compelled to cease that because of a small minority that insist on being nasty.

  • I am thankful to ALL the people behind the scenes that work so hard to make Outlander such a great show.
  • Ron, the producers, writers and casting crew that give the show its frame and characters.
  • Jon and the production team that give the production its base and background.
  • Terry and her whole team that dress it up.
  • The dedicated drivers who get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there.
  • The directors who put those elements together for a compelling hour of drama.
  • Specialists like Àdhamh and Claire who make sure the unusual/special things are ‘right’.
  • All the support people that work hard to make it all happen.
  • Basically for every warm body that makes this show happen as I’m sure I missed some above.

I am thankful for all those people above that take the time and energy to interact with the show’s fans on social media and (so far) haven’t shut them all down due to the inability of a few to express themselves in a grown-up, dignified manner.

I am thankful that this team shoots way more footage than they will use in the hour so they have options to make each episode the best it can be. This also means that we get to see extra footage when the DVD’s come out that make it that much richer. These are the extra bits that keep us going through Droughtlander and give us special moments.

Mostly, I am thankful that the responsibility for deciding what goes into each episode to be aired is not my responsibility. I may not love every minute of every episode – but it is a series that has done a damn fine job of portraying good drama. Not just a love story – though that is a huge part of it; not just a history – though that is its base. An excellent story brought out in a difficult medium with gobs of competition and doing well enough that it is getting to be ‘known’.

For the scene that many seem upset about – I’m thankful it was filmed at all and we got to see it. We as fans do NOT have a clue what all goes into these decisions. Yes it was a wonderful, well-acted scene that I enjoyed very much – but I didn’t miss it at the time the show aired. Expressing disappointment that it wasn’t included in the actual episode isn’t and never will be the problem I have with the fandom; the problem is a few, very vocal ‘entitled fans’ crucifying on social media the people that work so hard to bring us this show. There are days I honestly shake my head in wonder that Ron and the team don’t throw up their hands in disgust at being attacked yet again and say “fine – since we can’t make everyone happy we just won’t do the show at all.”

I’m very, very thankful that the cast, crew and all the wonderful folks who bring us Outlander are all sane, sensible people who are too professional to let immaturity from others dictate their actions.

 

Differing Opinions: Books vs TV Series

I have said many times and will keep saying it: I love discussion. Differing opinions and asking questions is what helps us all come to better understanding of any given topic. Being able to grasp another’s point of view gives us new insight and expands our thinking. This is good.

What I get frustrated with is complaining/whining/griping/bashing. There is a big difference and it’s all in how it’s presented and, going forward, discussed. A topic came up on social media today that really brought this into focus for me. It’s happened before but I managed to catch this one from the beginning and, for a change, am not mulling it for days before writing. The idea came easily how to present this so here I am.

Now, I am not saying what branch of social media this came on, nor will I name any names as I’m not trying to get people in trouble or start a war. If they want to make themselves known that is their prerogative. 

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This is what the discussion was about. The fact that ‘The Team’ chose not to include this scene in the television production. What sort of set me back was the original post which I will quote here:

“Still irritated they did not cut there initials _ rather Claire gives Jamie a big amber rock instead”

My first thought was, “Why STILL irritated?” The decision was made, filmed and it’s long passed. It can’t be changed, why complain about it now? And – to me – making the statement this way IS a complaint. There is no question trying to understand why this decision was made, no discussion for options; just irritation. My alternative to this might be. “Too bad they felt this couldn’t be filmed. Perhaps it could be incorporated in the future. Fans love it!” 

Please understand, like most fans of the books this is a favorite segment of mine! It’s something I might do myself and it comes across as so raw and real. This is also something that comes up over and over in through the life of the story. It’s a poetic and beautiful thing woven into the fabric of Jamie & Claire’s love story.

However, I can also look at it from the perspective of it being a great enhancement, a special touch whenever it comes up, it is not a critical piece to move the story forward. Given the time constraints of the series versus the books, I can easily understand the decision to leave this bit aside. Here are my thoughts on why the decision went as it did. Maybe. I have no inside info, just experience in theatre and my own thinking with some common sense.

The initial filming would have taken a great deal of time. Camera angles, how to make sure the ‘cuts’ are consistent over multiple takes. How to do the blood to be consistent and not mess anything up between times. If I remember right (and I may not) filming was already going long because of weather issues.

It also would have been time consuming as the series progresses due to make-up issues. If they had decided to do this scene, it would be two more scars that need to be consistently applied any time they ‘might’ be in the camera view. They would be on the actors’ hands, which tend to be on camera a lot and noticed. They would have to be consistent in each scene. Hands are not the easiest place to ‘stick’ something and have it stay where you want it due to movement and constantly touching/brushing against things.

The argument was made that, these were small cuts and not often visible so they wouldn’t have to keep doing them. Yet, if they had chosen to do this scene with all the implications, there would be fans furious if they didn’t continue to see these scars on camera. It’s a no win in the long run.

I would imagine, because – while a wonderful enhancement to the story – the scars aren’t a driving component, ‘The Team’ chose to leave this out allowing time (both in front of and behind the camera) for other things.

In listening to / watching many interviews and panels, something that Ron Moore has said many times really resonates with me. He, and ‘The Team’ are trying to make the best TELEVISION they can. It isn’t a book – it has completely different constraints and driving points. Ron likes the material, but ‘sees’ it differently than anyone else because he is using a different set of eyes. He is looking as someone who has worked – very successfully – in making television shows for many years. Producing / show-running good stories that play well on screen and will last. So far, he and ‘The Team’ have done a damn fine job! IMHO

Have I been disappointed in some things with the show?    YES

Have I wished something could have been added that wasn’t?    YES

Were there things the show did that made me say WTF?!     YES

Have I had some interesting, stimulating discussions about all these things? Some – unfortunately on SM it tends to dissolve into argument and I don’t enjoy that.

I’ll probably get bashed for this post by people saying they have every right to disagree and ‘discuss’ opinions about the show. I totally agree. What gets old is the ‘angry’ people that bash and complain; that get ‘irritated’ by a difference and slam the show and Ron and whoever else rather than actually discussing the idea and why it went as it did on screen. I feel sorry for them. Discussing means listening to the POV of others and weighing that against your own ideas.

A last thought…..I can guarantee that there will be X number of people that love something with an equal number that hated it. Every ‘fan’ has their own special things that absolutely should have been on screen – there is simply no way to accomplish that with the time they have. Every single fan is right – for themselves. In the end, ‘The Team’ does the best they can to make good TELEVISION (not a reproduction of a book on screen) and Ron works to keep it faithful to the overall story, while appealing to a television audience.

Let’s be courteous to each other when voicing opinions, asking questions and having discussions. We all have our special bits from the books that are important to us, but we all view the story differently from our own perspectives, history and experience. I really enjoy ^most^ of the differences as it gives me a different view/perspective of the story and so makes it bigger and more rounded for me.

OH! And this discussion today did stay courteous and was indeed a ‘discussion’ as it progressed! The exchange just gave me a clear idea of how I wanted to explain this.

Cheers!

 

Outlander: The Series

The last blog gave readers a chance to find out a little bit about me and my background. The idea was to let people in my head a bit for why I say some of the stuff I do. Of course, there is a lot more to it all – how I was raised, by whom, when, life experiences. All this figures in to how every person views things, makes decisions about them, likes them or not. What I like, others might not and that is ok. That is great in fact because, if we all liked the same things it would be a very boring place.

Anything I write – like any other writer out there – comes from a compound of all we do and know. Taking all the bits we’ve learned from infancy to now; school, reading, meeting people, listening to the news, deeper research into something that is of more keen interest and, in more recent years, surfing the web. No one dictates to me what I do or don’t like – including my life-mate. I don’t want to be (but likely will be) called a kiss ass, suck up, puppet or anything else suggesting my opinion is not my own. I also don’t want to be called bad names if I point out something I don’t like. My opinion is my own, not dictated to me by someone else to be regurgitated. I think for myself and write what I think. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it……………………though reading differing opinions can stimulate interesting discussion.

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With that thought in mind, this is what I think of the series Outlander adapted from the books by Diana Gabaldon.

 Bloody brilliant!!!!!!!!

 I could stop there – but just a short explanation.

Ronald D. Moore, the writers, Maril and the other producers, the entire crew (Jon Gary Steele and his team, Terry D and her team, set dressers, animal handlers, the people that have to schlep gear all over the Scottish countryside, and all those I’m missing)…henceforth known as “THE TEAM” – these people are taking a huge, many layered, rich, profound story of history, love, intrigue, politics plus much more and trying to cram it into being a television show. TV – generally speaking – isn’t all that deep. There are some great stories out there, and things that are fun to watch, but television is entertainment first and foremost. There is no way to cram thirty nine hours of book (audio book time is 39 hours 6 minutes for DiA) into just under twelve hours of television and make everyone happy.

Diana Gabaldon has woven so many enchanting, laugh inducing, tear spilling scenes into her books that are wonderful to read and enrich the story – but aren’t necessarily fundamental to the plot. These very scenes are often fan favorites that would be great to see, but there simply isn’t time to have them all.

For instance: the scene of Jamie avoiding some nasty guys intent to do him harm where he grabs a rather large, hard sausage as a weapon and ends up ducking into a brothel to avoid detection. Sam would have made this an absolute treat to watch and I would have loved seeing it – but I totally understand why it wasn’t in the show. The scene simply did not advance the story in any meaningful way and so the space was given to other things that did.

There are fans that say some of the scenes don’t have anything to do with the books and why are they there…they are a waste of time! This other ‘junk’ is taking away from Jamie & Claire and their ‘relationship’ (a note on that in a minute). It may not have anything to do with the BOOKS, but it may have a great deal to do with the STORY that is being told on screen that we as viewers don’t KNOW yet. Have patience. Have a little faith.

There have been many complaints about J & C not getting enough screen time for their ‘relationship’ (SEX). I disagree. I see a much deeper connection between them now than when they were burning up the screen. The intimacy is definitely there and sex isn’t necessary to drive the overall story right now – there are other things that need to be seen. I enjoy a good sex scene as  much as the next person, and while Sam & Caitriona are beautiful people that have explosive chemistry on screen making such scenes a joy to watch, I think it would have been distracting given the complexity and gravity of the time and place they find themselves and how compacted the storyline needs to be to get through the entire book. It’s obvious they ARE intimate – every look, touch, interaction lets you see that. It isn’t necessary to play it out on the screen. Of course – that is just MY opinion and I doubt it will be a popular one.

Overall, I love what THE TEAM is doing and will continue to watch and support the series however I can. Does this mean I totally agree with EVERY decision they make? Nope. But I trust that they are making a great television show based on some favorite novels. I like the differences, the points of view contrasting my own to give me new and broader perspective on the story as a whole. What would be the point of keeping it exactly the same? If I wanted exactly the same story, I’d turn off the TV and curl back up with the books.

Please share with all involved doing the show as I know I’ll miss people when I do my tweet! THANKS!!!

Cheers!

To Ransom a Fan’s Soul

No….not a misspelling. I’m not even going to attempt to recap or overview the Outlander series finale. There many really good articles already out for this and no doubt there will be more. This blog/rant/observation is about me as a fan and what I see in and experience from, other fans.

First, I see a lot of bashing out there. Every fan has something that is vitally important to THEM and when that thing is not included in the series it bothers them. They have every right to express that. While I personally think eye color, hair being THIS shade of red over THAT shade of red or which hand gets smashed by the hammer are very minor things to get in a snit about, they matter to others. I have a request for both sides of this issue no matter what the specific in question is. For the person that couldn’t care less – be kind. Every single fan has the right to voice their frustrations. For those of you voicing frustrations – STOP WHINING! Please tell us how you think and feel and why it’s important, but please don’t subject the rest of the fandom to what comes across as a toddlers temper tantrum or a teens moaning about how unfair life is.

Next, I continue to be utterly amazed by this show and the unprecedented access we have to it as fans. We’ve been invited in since the very beginning – the players interact with us, STARZ listens to us, and we make a difference as fans. This is a very new experience for me and I’m excited by it – and also very frustrated. Something I accepted going into this is that it wouldn’t be like the books. The story can’t be like the books because they are two very different mediums. How you get things across is very different, how the arcs have to go, how much you can do with only 16 or 13 hours to do it in.

I just don’t get people that think chewing on Ron or anyone else on the team about something you saw in the last few weeks will DO anything. Too much of this, not enough of that. The stuff you saw the last two weeks were filmed seven months ago. People are just digging into DiA and discussing it – problem is, the episodes are already mapped out for Season 2. If you really want to make suggestions, you should already be discussing Voyager. At the end of the day, WE aren’t writing this show. We as fans don’t see the vision that Ron and the writers have. We can’t see where they are going.

Some comments I saw looking through various articles/stories today that really show this.

“Too many side stories – not enough Jamie & Claire – THEY are what is important not all this other stuff!”

“Way too much focus on BJR and the rape / torture. Far more important to show J & C and healing.”

“Jamie is being emasculated just to make Claire look stronger. He’s a shadow of the character we know and love, a child rather than the mature man he is.”

“Too much sex/violence/nudity – I know what happens I don’t need it in my face. Focus on the important part – J & C’s relationship”

ALL these comments – are from book readers. As herself said in a post recently “PUT THE BOOK DOWN.” Seriously………………there are a lot of viewers out there who have never read the books. This show isn’t just for the longtime fans of the books – though Ron and the team are doing their best to make it as good as possible for those longtime, dedicated fans and still be a visual medium. STARZ Outlander is also for brand new fans that are being introduced to this story by the series. It HAS to stand on its own. The relationship is there, people who haven’t read the books comment often on how intense it is; how much ‘more’ it is than most television out there. All that is going on around them and the people close to them are part of their relationship and need to be shown too – unfortunately Ron and team doesn’t have an hour per chapter to do all that we’d like to see.

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Was 116 hard for me to watch – HELL yes. Was it too much – in my personal opinion, no. Ron did it right. This is such a pivotal point in the entire story. This one event haunts Jamie through all the books to come and shapes him in ways that make him the great man/character we are all so crazy about. In order for that to work down the line, the audience (the ones that don’t have all that background and thousands of words in the book) needed to really be there with Jamie, feel what he felt, break like he did. It was necessary and very, very well done. What I was thinking as I watched was – ‘wow – the torture is there, but you don’t SEE it as such. The initial forced rape – the branding, the rest is all creepy tenderness. It’s still a violation as it’s against Jamie’s will – but it’s what it does to the viewer’s mind – much like Jamie’s. How could we as an audience possibly understand and appreciate what Jamie becomes if we don’t taste it ourselves? Jamie was naked – but did you ever actually SEE anything? BJR walks naked from the bed, totally in character and what would have happened. How much of the uncomfortableness is what was shown to you – and how much was where your own head took you.

Same argument as above for the sex/nudity/violence etc. I have never felt (and most of the comments I’ve seen agree) that the show has been gratuitous. The book people know these parts of the story and don’t ‘need’ them – but the series only people do. There is no possible way to take one of Diana’s books and condense it down under 16 hours and keep everything. If the show focused on ONLY J & C – we’d have lost the series only fans a long time ago. The series is a facet on a larger gem – the idea is to get people wound up with that facet so they want to experience the whole gem.

As far as Jamie being emasculated………….I just can’t get this. Yes, I have read the series, a few times. In reading Outlander I saw Jamie as fairly mature but far from perfect. He makes mistakes, he has a temper he doesn’t control at times; he acts rashly and doesn’t always think things through. He is still doing that (though not as often to be sure) in MOBY. Emasculated? It takes a very strong man to deal with Claire. He doesn’t cow before her, he is her equal, her match. He doesn’t just bow to her will, he thinks through who she is (even before he really knew) and makes decisions that are good and right, not just in line with what he’s always known and tradition. That takes huge strength of character. He has Claire’s devotion, love and respect – a weak man wouldn’t have those things. I didn’t start seeing the Jamie everyone raves about until he had spent some time around his cousin Jared in Paris and had to start dealing with Charles. After he lived through the fire of BJR and Wentworth. AFTER he wanted to give up on life and take the easy way out. AFTER he was battered, bruised and broken beyond redemption in his own mind.

Gods I always go long on these. Eh……won’t say ‘sorry’ – but I hope I at least keep it interesting.

Finally – I want, as a fan, to redeem myself of any bad behavior, unkind words or abject stupidity that I have fallen to since the beginning of this adventure. I want to do this by trying, however inadequately, to give some praise and thanks.

Nope. Can’t do it. Too long and either will detract from the other. I want the “THANK YOU” section to be done right…not hurried or thrown out. So that will come a bit later.

Costume Design – with addendum 2 June 2015

outlander-costume-display        Picture from costume display –                         @OutlanderFYC

I wrote this early on in the Outlander process and VERY early in my blogging experience. I wrote what is below as a ‘thank you’ to Terry and in appreciation for all she and her team do. We’ve seen Season 1 now – we’ve seen just what she and her team can accomplish and can look forward with delight at what is to come.

Nowhere in the description of ‘Costume Designer’ does it say ‘share vision with fans’ or ‘spend precious time interacting with fans’ or ‘put up with what are supposed to be fans of the show attacking the lead visionary that also happens to be my mate’. Fans have every right to express their opinion, excitement or disappointment – not to attack and be nasty. If all a person can do is be cruel, whine, stomp their feet verbally and just attack everything – I can only see them as  a petulant child (I don’t care how ‘old’ they are) and not a ‘fan’ at all. It’s not the opinion – it’s how you express it and portray yourself that tends to be the problem.

So here is a little blast from the past – my way of telling Terry that she is awesome!

 

The very talented Terry Dresbach, costume designer extraordinaire, asked a rather interesting question on Twitter this evening. Unfortunately, 140 characters is simply not enough to answer such a question adequately and I still need to learn to use the Tweet Longer function. Herself uses it often so it is something to aspire to. Now…the question was posed thus:  Terry  @OutlanderCostum (aka Terry Dresbach @draiochta14) Okay, here is a question for today. I would like to know what you think a costume designer does? What is the job?

So… COSTUME –  A style of dress, including garments, accessories, and hairstyle, especially as characteristic of a particular country, period, or people. (seems a good definition – though I bet most didn’t think hairstyle as part of the gig eh?) DESIGNER – One that produces designs

By these definitions, the ‘costume designer’ would render the designs of what the costumes would look like to be created for a particular production – in this case Outlander. Now…I did costumes for theatre in college. Well, I did a little bit of EVERYTHING (except directing) for theatre in college but I enjoyed costume a LOT. Doing it for a movie/TV show with a much bigger budget might be vastly different than what we did then, but Terry strikes me as a very hands on personality that really, REALLY wants this to be right! (of course the executive producer might have SOMETHING to do with that! *GRIN*) Yes, designing the ‘look’ for each character – not just for the period but for the personality of the character. Not just the clothes, but the ‘bits’ that make it pop or blend in. Picking something in period but that will still make the character look good and be appropriate for station or craft. So much research so it is all in your head when you need to draw on it. So that when you are walking past a ‘junk shop’ or second hand store and see the absolute perfect bauble for that incredibly difficult character you can snatch it up because you KNOW!

DETAIL            DETAIL        DETAIL! Knowing that while THAT plaid is perfect….all the lights will totally wash it out so you need something deeper or brighter. Realizing that some fabrics weren’t around so can’t be used no matter how great the costume might look (in my case it was a person just starting that did a whole costume in acetate which really does NOT hold up well to live theatre lighting so probably didn’t live past the one production – pity as the costume turned out looking awesome and could have been used again easily). Finding a team of driven, dedicated, talented people to help in this tremendous undertaking and working with all the other ‘leads’ in production to make sure costume is ready when and where it needs to be. Knowing the characters and really seeing in your head what the director wants….and sometimes having to argue that it just isn’t quite right! I guess, what I want to say is….costume is tough, demanding and SO rewarding. Terry or anyone else that does this full time are an integral and vital part of the whole. One of the (often) unsung heroes of a production. Having said that….the same goes for props, set design/dressing, lighting, sound, and so on. We all SEE the actors and they are crucial…but without the support system of costume and the rest….there wouldn’t be much of a show no matter how good they are. Cheers!