Outlander is coming back April 9th, and from what I hear, I’m not the only one excited about it!
I’m Meg, I’m your new contributor for all things Outlander from now until the end of time. I love this show, and I love the books. I have for years and they have very special, personal meaning to me. I will literally tell any and everyone I know to read the books and watch the show, and I once flew halfway across the country to spend an afternoon with Herself, listening to Q&A panels with both Diana Gabaldon and Starz executives, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, Diana is brilliant and lovely. I want you to know this, dear readers, so you know that I will be honest about what I loved (or didn’t love so much) about each episode. I feel like Claire and Jamie are my friends, and I can’t wait to visit them again. I can’t wait to spaz and cry and laugh with all of you, either!
I’ll be doing weekly reviews of Season 2 once it begins. This will be a spoiler-free review in that I will not talk about what I know will happen in the future (ahem, Claire). BUT- if it happened in this week’s episode, it’s fair game, and I’m assuming anyone who is reading this has seen season one. If you want to talk about the juicy spoiler-y bits, or speculate on which actor will be cast in what roles… I have a twitter and a tumblr and will fangirl and go nuts with you. But before then, I thought I’d write a little post introducing myself and my love for this show and these books:
Now, these books, the first one in particular, have been bought and sold and optioned to be made into movies for year. It’s with sheer terror that I think about how an 800+ page book could be condensed into a two, or even three hour movie. Shudder When I heard Starz had bought it, and was going to make a 16 part first season based on the first book… I started out cautiously optimistic. I was still concerned, after all, the book is ALWAYS BETTER, right? But then I heard that Ron Moore, of Battlestar Gallactica was announced as showrunner. I heard that Herself, Diana Gabaldon, was excited and eagerly anticipating the adaptation… and my nerdy heart started to pick up pace. I remember reading comments on every picture of the cast from unhappy readers who can’t let go of the book and enjoy the show, complaining that Caitriona Balfe’s eyes weren’t brown, and Sam Heughan didn’t look like the bodybuilding behemoth that exists in some people’s minds. I found myself getting defensive of this show and it’s stars, sight unseen. No one sees the same thing in their mind’s eye, why couldn’t people just get on board?? In my mind, if it was good enough for Diana, it was good enough for me. Also Fun Fact: Sam Heughan’s physical training has been done to mimic what his body would look like if he were a farmer in Scotland, used to manual labor. They didn’t have Planet Fitness in the 18th century.
So I also want to take a quick minute to talk about our three stars and their fantastic performances all around. Tobias Menzies as Frank (snore, sorry but Frank is like wet cardboard to me) and Black Jack is amazing, and I forget they’re played by the same man. The chilling, and yet almost sexual, loving way in which he talks about whipping Jamie WAAAAY back in S1E6 “The Garrison Commander” is such a perfect embodiment of what makes Black Jack so terrifying. Claire learns this pretty quickly, and we see the fruition of this darkness by the end of the season.
Tobias has gotten a lot of well-deserved kudos for his dual performances, but I feel like a quiet, maybe underappreciated hero of this series is Sam Heughan. Leading up to the release of Season 1, and actually well into it, Sam (and Jamie) was referred to simply as the “Scottish hunk Claire has an affair with.” This assessment pisses me off on several levels. It negates both Jamie as a complex, three dimensional character that we’ve really only just begun to get to know, and it somehow makes Sam’s performance, and his importance on the show seem less. A lot of this frustration, I think, comes from the fact that I’ve read all the books, and know a lot more about Jamie than the average viewer I sometimes need to step back and remember that Jamie wasn’t very important for most of book one, either. This is, after all, Claire’s story.
Now this brings us to Caitriona Balfe, who brought one of my all-time favorite characters to life on the screen in such a way that I forgot the image in my head and she became the embodiment of Claire. One of my favorite things about this show is also one of the things I was really worried about before it aired. They cast relatively unknown actors for the leads (well, except Tobias, but still, he’s a character actor who tends to just become his character and you forget he’s HIM). I had no idea who Caitriona Balfe was, and I was terrified that she was going to fuck up portraying someone I want to both have a whisky with (Claire would fucking drink me under the table though) and slap silly. In fact, she was in the “slush pile” of video auditions initially rejected, and it wasn’t until they had disqualified everyont that they found her. Thank God they did, so all my fears were unfounded and all three of my leads are fucking fantabulous.
In short, I can’t wait to talk to you about this show. These books got me through the death of someone i love very much, and the birth of my first child. I spent many nights reading in the semi-dark, while feeding my daughter or simply soothing her to sleep. Jamie and Claire are real to me. I”m so happy with the way that they, and all my other friends, or enemies, have been brought to life by this amazing cast. The costumes are amazing, and HOLY FUCK, I cannot wait to see the costumes this season! I hope you’re as excited as I am to be getting more Outlander!!