Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

‘Outlander’ fans finally get what they want: TV show
Television » Series is based on Diana Gabaldon’s hugely popular novels.
First Published Aug 06 2014 08:11 am • Last Updated Aug 07 2014 02:37 pm

"Outlander" comes to television on Saturday, and fans of the book on which the show is based are going gaga. In a good way.

And there are quite a few of them. That’s obvious, given that the eight books in Diana Gabaldon’s series about Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a World War II nurse transported 200 years back in time to 1743 Scotland, have sold 25 million copies.

At a glance

On TV

“Outlander” premieres Saturday at 7, 8:10 and 9:20 p.m. on Starz.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"The fans have been incredibly supportive and really welcoming," Balfe said. "I don’t think I was aware of the magnitude of the fans and how enthusiastic they were, but yeah, it’s like a dream role."

And the Starz series is a dream come true for the devoted fans of the books.

"They have been dying for years and years and years to see this story in a visual form," Gabaldon said. "You can see in your mind’s eye what’s happening as you read, but this is not quite the same thing as seeing it physically. They are overjoyed.

"They identify with Claire. They want to be Claire. They sort of want to lick him," she said, referring to Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), the hunk Claire falls in love with in the 18th century. She’s got a husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies), she loves in the 20th century, but she’s thrown into a tempestuous romance with Jamie.

The TV version of "Outlander" (16 episodes in Season 1) was developed and produced by Ronald D. Moore. He was introduced to the books by his wife and his producing partner, and he immediately saw the story as a TV series.

"It’s this piece of historical fiction. It’s got a lot of detail of the period," Moore said. "There’s a lot of violence. There’s a lot of conflict. There’s politics of the era. And at the center of it is this modern, contemporary character, Claire, who is really your view into the past. She’s so smart and interesting and powerful that you’re really propelled into the tale along with her."

Gabaldon said readers often comment on the "strong women" she creates. "And I say, ‘Well, I don’t like stupid ones. Why would I write about them?’ "

Gabaldon isn’t shy about expressing her opinions. She laughed at the idea that she writes to please her readers.


story continues below
story continues below

"I often get asked, ‘Do you feel an obligation to do what your fans want?’ And the answer is — absolutely not," she said. "I am creating this and would hope that they like it, but my obligation is to the book and the book alone."

Moore knows a little bit about crazy, devoted fans from his time on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Deep Space Nine" and the "Battlestar Galactica" reboot — "passionate fan bases that will vie for the title of craziest, if you want to go there," he said.

"You still have to make the show for yourself and make the best that you can. It’s not a democracy. You can’t just like throw it out there and do what the fans want because they all want different things."

They’re both warning fans that the TV show isn’t the book.

"To do a literal page-by-page translation of the screening would just not be a very good TV show," Gabaldon said.

The author readily admits that "the book starts rather slowly." Whereas Moore’s plan was to "start with maybe a two-minute prologue … where we see Claire in a World War II field military hospital doing what she does, blood spurting, sewing people back together, being the very competent and resilient person that she is," Gabaldon said. "And I was going, ‘Yeah, yeah, sounds great.’ "

Moore said he wants to please the "dedicated" fans. I want to give them their story, but I do have to translate it into a different medium because there are differences of being a reader and being a member of an audience."

The fan base does include men.

"Yes, there are several," Gabaldon said with a smile. "But they tend not to stand out in the street with signs and T-shirts."

Moore said he’s run into a lot of men who say they were introduced to the books by their wives or girlfriends.

"So yes, the fan base and the readers are predominantly women, but they have proselytized quite a bit with boyfriends and husbands," he said. "And it’s a great page-turner. You’re sort of propelled into this big epic tale right from the get-go, and I think the show will be the same way."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.