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!

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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!