Thoughts on Outlander’s Two-Season Renewal

OutlanderStarz announced yesterday that they’ve renewed hit show Outlander for both seasons three and four. Multi-season renewals seem to be getting more common recently, and I don’t always think they’re the best idea, but here I think it makes a lot of sense. In a show of this scope, especially, knowing that the end of given season (here season three) will not possibly have to serve as an ending for the show as a whole opens up new storytelling possibilities.

And, of course, there’s plenty of source material. The press release specifically states that seasons three and four will be based on books three and four – Voyager and Drums of Autumn – but I do wonder how closely the show will stick to the books as it goes on, and if it even should. Things work differently on the screen than on the page, and I’d hope they’d allow themselves the freedom to tell the story in the way that best suits this format. In any case, there are eight main books so far, which both a book nine and a prequel supposedly in the works, as well as a related mystery series, so they’re not running out of story any time soon.

Daily Read (5/23/16)

Showrunner Ronald D. Moore on How ‘Outlander’ Avoids Formulaic Sex Scenes

Huh. Author Chuck Palahniuk (with collaborators) is crowdfunding a movie based on his novel Lullaby. There are only a few authors with the online followings (of the correct demographics) to pull that off; I’m curious to see how it works out for him.

Showrunner Frank Spotnitz has left The Man in the High Castle.

James Urbaniak has been cast in Wonderstruck.

Daily Read (4/22/16)

Outlander puppy!!!

It’s now official that Robert Downey Jr. will be in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which I think is news that sounds familiar both because I’d heard the rumors and because I just kind of assume he’s in all the Marvel movies.

Thrones Are No Game: A Brief History of Chairs and Power

Millicent Simmonds will star in the movie based on Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck.

Interesting: ‘The Jungle Book’ Becomes Highest-Grossing Hollywood Release Ever In India

Daily Read (4/14/16)

Quick takes from the world of adaptations.

New expanded Game of Thrones credits! The 360/VR version is nifty and also might make you seasick.

I am skeptical of both Benedict Cumberbatch hysteria AND the need for a new Grinch movie, but I actually think he’s an interesting choice to voice that character.

Speaking of movies we don’t need: another Peter Pan? Really???

The Fug Girls are now recapping Outlander!

Make sure you don’t miss Caroline Framke’s lovely piece on Bridget Jones.

Outlander Look Ahead Featurette

OutlanderDespite the silly #4Droughtlander hashtag – Tobias Menzies’s apology as he said it was delightful – this little featurette with Ronald D. Moore, Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish, and Laura Donnelly definitely upped my interest in the second half of Outlander‘s first season! I enjoyed the first half more than expected, but it looks like the second might be even better. Balfe said that, as far as the Claire/Jamie relationship, these episodes focus on “what it means for the two of them to stay together, rather than get together,” and I’m always happy to see those themes dealt with. And there’s the promise of more politics! Whee! Outlander returns on April 4th.

Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: Both Sides Now

Outlander[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MIDSEASON FINALE OF OUTLANDER]

The first half of Outlander‘s first season came to a close this weekend – it will be back for another eight episodes starting in April – and while “Both Sides Now” was a perfectly good midseason finale, much of the hour felt a bit anticlimactic after last week’s wedding episode.

The modern story has a quicker pace and more urgency for the first part of the episode. We pick back up with Frank, who is, of course, frantic with worry for his wife and convinced the police aren’t trying hard enough to find her. But I was actually impressed by how much it seemed the police had done, since there was no real evidence of foul play and they clearly thought Claire had run off. And of course people would try to take advantage of the reward Frank offered to rob him; a show less concerned with presenting both Jamie and Frank as viable, attractive options would have just let Frank be beaten up, but here he gets the better of his attackers.

Of course, that leads Rev. Wakefield to express his concern about what the search for Claire is doing to Frank’s moral compass, and also to opine a bit on the nature of good and evil, and the war they’ve just all fought: “Evil has but one cup. [The Nazis] drank long and deep. Yours was but a sip.” He wants Frank to accept that Claire has left him and move on with his life, but before Frank can be convinced, Mrs. Graham finally tells him about the stories of Craigh na Dun and that the people who go through the stones often come back. Frank scoffs at the superstition and says he’s leaving anyway – but he first heads for the stones. This whole question of whether Claire left him is an interesting one, because obviously that wasn’t her intention, but she is having feelings for another man.

Meanwhile, marriage has made Jamie even more concerned with getting the price off his head, but while meeting a supposed witness who could clear him, he and Claire walk into a trap. (Or, okay, the trap walks into them while they’re having sex in a meadow. Whatever.) Luckily, the Highlanders have been teaching Claire to defend herself, and she stabs the Redcoat who tries to rape her, while Jamie gets the better of the one holding him. Confession: at this point my notes say “aw, killing people together!” because I clearly have problems. In the aftermath of the attack, Claire’s in shock and mad at herself for forgetting her own plan to get back to Craigh na Dun, but winds up there anyway – and has to decide whether to try to get back to her own time. “The question was, who did I want to be?”

For now, at least, she wants to be Claire Randall, so we have Claire and Frank both running for the stones from opposite sides, and here is where I thought the episode picked up and started feeling like a finale. They’re yelling at each others’ names, but while Claire can hear Frank, Frank can’t hear Claire – or maybe his brain transposes her cries into bird songs, because he doesn’t really believe in the myths. I wasn’t looking at the clock and thought for a moment that the episode might end with Claire launching herself at the stone – that would have been a decent cliffhanger – but no, the Redcoats capture her and take her back to the other Randall at Fort William.

Claire is handed back over to Jack Randall, but at least the ride there has given her time to formulate a strategy: She once again uses information from Frank’s history lectures, as she guesses that Randall’s powerful patron is the Duke of Sandringham and tries to play him by implying that she’s a spy working on the same side. And it’s a testament to her intelligence and quick thinking that she almost gets away with it. But Randall figures out she’s lying, and clearly he’s not going to let her get away a second time. “What gentleman keeps a rope in his desk?” But Jamie shows up just in time: “I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife.” With a gun! Randall’s response? He laughs. And that was a delightfully chilling moment on which to end this run of episodes.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “Is it always so between a man and a woman?” “It’s often something like this . . . No, this isn’t usual.” Aw, she tried so hard to lie.
  • On Christmas: “Don’t suppose you hang stockings by the fire.” “To dry them off, you mean.” Hee.
  • Loved Wakefield quoting Sherlock Holmes.
  • “Now I know why the Church calls it a sacrament.” “Why?” “Because I feel like God himself when I’m inside you.”
  • Loved the news bulletin about the death of Patton on Frank’s car radio.
  • “I doubt you have a sentimental bone in your body.”
  • “You are going to regret this.” “I doubt it.”

What did you think of the finale? Are you eager for the show to come back in the spring?

Outlander Return Date & Midseason Finale Clips

OutlanderWe’ve known from the beginning that Outlander‘s first season would be split into two eight-episode sections – the midseason finale, “Both Sides Now,” airs tomorrow – but now we know exactly when that second set of eight episodes will begin on Starz: April 4th. (And to clear up any confusion, the show has already been renewed for a second season, which will be after these first sixteen episodes. The second eight aren’t the second season.)


So, that’s a bit of a wait, but about what I expected. How about a few clips from tomorrow’s “Both Sides Now” to tide you over?

Be Here When I Get Back:

Removing the Price on My Head:

Outlander Thoughts & Open Thread: The Wedding

Outlander[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF OUTLANDER]

(Sorry this post is so late this week! I’ve been writing about all the new show premieres over at TheTelevixen.com and that has eaten all my time.)

So! The wedding episode of Outlander! The circumstances were different from the book, but I thought it was a lovely episode and made perfect sense in the context of the show’s plot. And the format here was a bit unexpected – we start with some of Claire’s modern wedding to Frank, and then jump right to the end of her wedding with Jamie. I found it slightly bewildering at first that they showed so little of the wedding, but, of course, they showed more of it in flashbacks later, and it all makes sense when we find out that Claire was drunk and doesn’t actually remember much of it. And, you know, fair enough: She’s completely torn about this wedding because she obviously likes Jamie and understands the need to marry him in order to survive, but she’s already married. (And it’s nice of Jamie not to be upset that she had to get drunk to marry him.) Claire feeling guilty about her sort-of bigamy is a theme throughout the episode, so it’s interesting that at the beginning, her modern, “real” wedding is made to look very casual and unserious compared to the ritual and tradition of her marriage of convenience to Jamie. (And speaking of the ritual, did they warn her that she’d have to speak Scottish? And that there were knives involved? Poor thing.)

And then, of course, we’re on to the wedding night; they need to consummate the marriage (or at least convince everyone) so Claire can be sure of Jamie and his clan’s protection. They’re both adorably awkward and nervous and stall a lot, mainly by telling stories about their pasts and their families. And really, it’s great that they got a chance to actually get to know each other better, though I’m impressed and slightly suspicious that Claire was able to talk about her family for hours without messing up and giving anything away. Jamie is incredibly sweet throughout this whole thing, and he gives Claire his mother’s pearls, even. How long until Claire figures out that he’s actually in love with her, I realize? And how long until she tells him the truth about herself? I am very curious to see whether the show follows the book in that regard.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “Eventually you forget what the pearls even look like. At least you try.”
  • “You’re a regular Bob Hope.” “Is he a funny man?”
  • “I said I was a virgin, not a monk.”
  • “I said I was completely under your power and happy to be there.” Swoon.
  • “Do you think my mother would have approved?” “Do I look like a gypsy to you? Able to commune with the spirits?”
  • “Christ, it would be easier if I kill you both.”
  • What do we think the key Jamie had Claire’s wedding ring made from is for? Interesting that he avoided telling her.
  • “I remember every moment. Every second.” SWOON again.
  • “It was as if I stepped outside on a cloudy day and suddenly the sun came out.” OKAY, Jamie, you’re killing us here.
  • “Take off your shirt. I want to look at you.” In which Claire speaks for much of the audience.
  • Dougal, I’m not sure you’re supposed to hit on brides on their wedding nights.