When I first heard this, I was sure it would be horrible. Then I heard that Ronald D. Moore was the creator and I thought, OK, maybe not. He’s the guy who brought us the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, which was a fabulous show until everyone including Ronald experienced some sort of mass insanity in the last season.
Now I’ve had the opportunity to see the Outlander panel at San Diego Comic-Con and some footage from the show, and guess what!
This show might not suck! I am cautiously excited, if you can picture such a contradictory state of mind.
Here’s my notes from the Outlander panel, which included Ronald D. Moore, Diana Gabaldon, Sam Heughan (Jamie), Lotte Verbeck (Geillis), Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Graham MacTavish (Dougal), and Tobias Menzies (Frank/Black Jack Randall):
The actor, who plays Jamie, Sam Heughan, is huge. I mean, he is a big guy. The actress who plays Claire has a great intensity and intelligence.
Ronald D. Moore said that it was important that the story be told from Claire’s point of view and that we share her sense of disorientation, so early on there are fairly long chunks of dialogue in Gaelic (which Claire does not speak) without subtitles.
Sam and Graham tried to explain the process of putting on a plaid (the older, more utilitarian style of kilt). You have to lie down on the fabric and wrap it around you. Sam (who I believe I mentioned is a big guy) said it’s quite a difficult process in a small trailer! Graham said that if he could he'd wear the old-style plaid every single day – he loves it. Lotte and Caitriona praised the high level of detail on their dresses although Lotte pointed out that Claire has to spend much of the first episodes in her shift.
When asked what they wanted the audience to grasp about their character, Caitriona said she wanted people to get Claire's strength, and her ability to recover from the loss of one life and accept a new one.
You aren't allowed to close off public land in Scotland while filming, so local people were often wandering onto the set. The show is filmed on location.
Ronald D. Moore is best known for his work on Battlestar and on Star Trek. When asked what it’s like to do a show that isn’t science fiction, he said that he always enjoys writing shows that do not have a contemporary reality. “I like taking a fictional world and making it as realistic as possible. Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica are period shows that just happen to take place in the future.
Diana stated that Outlander is a courtship story that can be classified as a romance, but that she wanted to keep the story going because “I had read many books about how two people can get married. I had seen none at all about two people can stay married for fifty years”.
- Diana wrote the first Outlander novel as practice – she figured that the best way to learn to write a novel was to write one. Accordingly, they're in a number of different genres, which is why the books are so hard to shelve – they incorporate fantasy, romance, historical fiction, adventure, horror, and, in extended sections at the end, nonfiction.
Outlander premieres on STARZ on August 9th, 2014. RedheadedGirl, Amanda, Elyse, and I will be sharing our impressions of the show each week – watch for details!
And, if you're curious – here's the trailer.