Outlander Does Something Pretty Remarkable (With Bonus Ron Moore)

Sunday nights my PVR almost overheat from the shows I record. The Walking Dead has finished, but Mad Men shows its final episodes on AMC, Game of Thrones continues its intrigue on Movie Central, while Outlander captivates on Showcase after breaking for nearly six months. Watching The Walking Dead as people try to outwit humans, while not ending up as breakfast, lunch, or dinner, made me forget some characters have sex.

I am not kidding. I credit Andrew Lincoln’s foray as a member of the *cravat brigade for giving the peck on the cheek this season some sizzle. The outstanding sizzle winner goes to James Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser for showing ways to think outside the…er…box?(Hint: Fireside chats take on a whole new thing.) Naughty jokes aside, Outlander did show something redeeming all the dumb commercials we Canadians sit through. I sat through Showcase’s  ‘meh’ offerings as it pumped it own productions , a commercial for Ashley Madison (yes, the adultery site), until finally a commercial for the books themselves.

Yes, the books.

Someone at Chapters Indigo has the budget, but most importantly the intelligence, to buy air time for their two-for-$15 dollar deal on the Outlander novels. That deal has done on for a long time, every time Diana Gabaldon releases a new book in the series. The show just pushed the books into something a little bigger. I say good for Ms. Gabaldon, and good for the book readers with their dog-eared copies as their faith has paid off big time.

I mean look at these two:

OUTLANDER

It’s almost like the book muses waited patiently for the right bodies for these characters to incarnate. They also seem to wait for the right person to bring this world properly to life.

Earlier this month, I watched a documentary called Showrunners: the art of running a tv show on Netflix. This Irish-made documentary looked at the men and women developing, writing, and in some cases advocating, for some of the best shows on television. One story made me punch the air. No surprise this story involved Ron Moore.

I like Ron Moore. When I began to pay attention to television writers, Ron Moore connected with the Star Trek: TNG episodes I liked, and began to wonder why. It’s one thing to passively watch a show, it’s quite another to wonder about engaging in why. Before he helped fulfill Battlestar Galactica’s potential, he nearly brought Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series to television. If anyone thinks the Outlander fans have waited a long time, you haven’t spoken to her fans yet. These are sprawling epics taking place on a far away planet WITH DRAGONS!  Technology can only carry a dragon so far in telling a story, and not far if a story does not exist. Mr. Moore advocated for an intelligent adaptation of the show, but the networks during the 90’s, and into parts of the 2000’s, believed drama only happens on the ‘real’ shows. (You know the ones with doctors, lawyers, and walking-and-talking politicians.)

Long story short, after spending millions in development on the Pern series, Ron Moore walked away and not compromise the books’ integrity. The series never happened beyond that stage. (They are still trying depending on the article.) As attitudes towards genre shows change comes more chances on a decent translation to screen. Outlander may have romance, but it’s still about the relationship between two people, just as much as people (*sob*) tune in to watch Meredith and Derek on Grey’s Anatomy. Between Game of Thrones presence at the Emmys, and now the commercial for Outlander, the book is not dead.

The book has never looked better.

*Cravat Brigade: The army of British actors in period dress, mostly 19th century. Notable members include Colin Firth (founding member), Richard Armitage (making an undone cravat denote both character development, and neck sexiness), and newest member Aidan Turner in Poldark (taking it to a whole new level of shirtlessness). Andrew Lincoln was in Wuthering Heights.

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