Outlander on Starz
Fans of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon have been voicing rave reviews about the new series featured on Starz. The show itself has proved to be as difficult to categorize as the books, but no matter which genre it falls into, Outlander season one has already proven to be a hit. Perhaps the main reason that the books, as well as the new series, have been popular is that the story crosses a myriad of genres – fans of mystery, romance, historical fiction and science fiction will all find something to spark their interest in Outlander.
Another possible factor to Outlander’s success is that the show is being created under the watchful eye of it’s creator. Previously, Gabaldon had been notoriously against having her series adapted into a screen version. That is, until Ronald Moore, known for his work on Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica brought her his longer, faithful-to-the-books version. This was the first, according to Gabaldon, that did not make the author want to vomit.
However, no matter how carefully the series is produced, there are bound to be some difficulties to overcome. Casting was a huge consideration, as it often is when it comes to such a popular series. Moore and company did well in the casting of these characters – all seem believable and well fitting within the series, despite its multiple time periods. Gabaldon and Moore both agreed that the stars should be relative unknowns, and though Gabaldon originally appeared hesitant to cast Sam Heughan based on his IMDB pictures, after witnessing his audition she changed her tune, claiming that he was truly was the Jamie of her novels.
Finding the correct voice is also a concern when bringing a work of literature to television. In this case, producers and writers did well casting Caitriona Balfe and bringing Claire’s thoughts and experiences through her narration, interspersed throughout the dialog between the characters. This narration helps the viewer to delve more deeply into Claire’s mind and to feel connected with the storyline in the same way that the original stories did. For those who prefer less narration though, it’s rumored that Claire’s speaking parts lessen as the show progresses, once viewers have become more comfortable with the characters and their motives.
As the book series has already proven, Outlander appeals to a very wide audience, and the television series is no different. However, the show’s creators should be wary that the intricate detail may prove to be too much of a good thing. The series attempts to include every nuance of the book series, a daunting task that will prove very difficult to accomplish. So far, this has created a pacing that is slower than most viewers are used to.In the first episode, for example, the viewer only really gets acquainted with Claire in her original time. Her time travel and introduction to the other main characters in the story occur only at the very end of the first episode.
Also, remaining true to the book, there are several rather graphic sexual scenes. These scenes may maintain the integrity of the storyline and may be acceptable for cable TV – Outlander is only available with a Starz subscription through your cable provider (click here for more info) – but they take an otherwise PG13 rated show into a realm that is not appropriate for younger members of the family. Which is unfortunate, since there are many of aspects of the show that would draw in teenagers, and perhaps creating an even larger fan base. On the other hand, those who were intrigued with the romance and liberating sex scenes in the novels won’t be disappointed.
All in all, Outlander has been a hit across the board, and it seems that Diana Gabaldon’s patience and selectivity regarding whom she let produce her work has paid off. If season one continues to have such high ratings, viewers can be assured of multiple subsequent seasons – especially since the show has already been picked up for a second run. However, should viewership drop off, producers may be tempted to try to put their own spin on later seasons. Though that would be an entertaining fight between Starz and Gabaldon, we’d much prefer the Outlander show stay mostly true to its predecessor. Either way, we’re sure to remain captivated as we have been since Outlander was first published.