After January's Television Critics Association press tour panel for Starz's adaptation of “Outlander,” I lamented that we hadn't been given copies of Diana Gabaldon”s bestselling novel for background.
I arrived home a day later and a copy of “Outlander” had arrived at my door, appearing from nowhere as if it had made contact with a mysterious standing stone circle after and even more mysterious pagan ritual.
Doer of due diligence that I am, I promptly made my way through the book, which sometimes impressed me with its historical depth and sometimes perplexed me with harlequin-style kinkiness. That is to say: I get why the “Outlander” series is as darned popular as it is, but I can't say that I'm planning on continuing with reading the series. But maybe I will? I'm certainly curious as to how Ronald D. Moore is planning on adapting “Outlander,” both the aforementioned kinkiness — lines between BDSM and assault are blurred in ways that aren't so much my flavor of romance — and also in terms of plotting that is rather “deliberate” to use a kind word — an awful lot of time is spent on horses marching between locations, making full use of the slower pace of the world circa 1743.
Starz released the first full “Outlander” trailer on Friday (May 2) and it offered only limited clarity. For one thing, the 1:15 trailer is half-set in 1945, giving a skewed perspective for people who don't know that that part of the story will probably be done within 30 minutes of the pilot, unless Moore wants fans to get really impatient. And fans will get really impatient, because having only seen a little footage and having seen him in person, I think fans are going to be very, very happy with Sam Heughan as Jamie, though it's possible audiences are going to be looking for more than rugged ginger swagger and a Scottish accent. I also think I'm down with Caitriona Balfe, though I have to admit that I had less of a sense of who Claire Randall is after reading the book, largely because Diana Gabaldon is much much more interested in having Claire talk about Jamie and his burliness than get especially introspective about herself.
The trailer, if I'm being honest, kinda makes “Outlander” look a bit like “Turn” and since it's nothing like “Turn,” that's probably not ideal. I can't tell if that's part of Starz's attempt to convince men that they might still want to watch? Pushing Ronald Moore's name a bit harder might help there, but I'm not sure if even that's the ticket.
Of course, there's already a core audience that knows “Outlander” isn't “Turn” and they'll have made the most of those seconds of yearning glimpses between Jamie and Claire, but I'd like to think I speak for EVERY “Outlander” reader when I say: Would it have killed them to include Sam Heughan calling Claire “Sassanach” at least once? Because I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that 95% of the success or failure of “Outlander” is going to rest on whether or not Heughan sounds ridiculous saying “Sassanach.”
Am I wrong?
Thus far, all we know about “Outlander” is that it's premiering on Starz this summer.
Check out the trailer:
What'd you think of the trailer? And do I need to read any of the subsequent books?