I have read a great many books and of those there are a select few that have become a part of my heart. You know what I mean, right? Those books that get read and re-read until you feel like the characters are friends or family. When well meaning people take these beloved books and make them into films or in today's world, episodic television, the results widely vary. The fact that the book is always (and I do mean always) better than the film pretty much goes without saying, but the visual experience has it's merits. Personally, I can binge watch every version of a Jane Austen book over and over and have come to love specific versions and moments. I know that a good majority are Colin Firth purists, but I prefer the Matthew Macfadyen version or Pride and Prejudice. That scene in the rain where he's being a complete jerk, but in the best possible way?
And there there is Sense and Sensibility where Colonel Brandon stands outside Marianne's sick room and says, "Give me an occupation or I shall run mad."
Alan Rickman WAS Colonel Brandon. And Jane, hearing Mr. Rochester's voice in the wind calling her name and she calls back,"I hear you! Wait for me!"
The 2006 version is my favorite. And that is Charlotte Bronte, not Austen, but anyway, the point here is the chance to have these little visual moments from well loved books is not such a bad thing most of the time. I mean, there are some real stinkers, but it's never the books fault. The book is the heart of it all.
Which brings me to Outlander. Sigh. The first Outlander book was published in 1991 and I fell into that book like a rock into a lake. I went right to the bottom and didn't surface until the last page was turned. It was/is everything I needed a book to be. Romantic, historic, exciting, romantic and each book in the series has been exactly the same. Some more than others, but I am nothing if not faithful. I have read them, re-read them, listened to them on audio, most more than once. I KNOW these people. On bad days when I worked at the library I would take my break in the stacks and pull down a copy of Voyager (book 3) and turn right to the scene in the print shop and my day immediately got better. Claire and Jamie....it doesn't get better then Claire and Jamie. For years there has been conversation about a film or mini-series or whatever and for the most part I ignored it because there was nobody who could be Jamie and Claire. Until now.
When word came out that Starz would be producing the television version of Outlander my heart broke a little. Starz? Starz known for blood and boobs? Not that aren't plenty of both in the Outlander books, but Starz? Then more details surfaced on producers and cast and the wholehearted approval from Herself (Diana Gabaldon) and I tried to be positive.
The night the first episode aired I almost couldn't watch it. What if it was horrible? It wasn't horrible. I confess that it took me a few episodes to really feel the hook sink in. Strangely, it was Jamie that I had the hardest time with. Claire was perfection, but Jamie? I couldn't find him in the actor. Now I can. Now I am there. Now I am officially obsessed.
There is no question that these are some fantastic looking people, but it's more than that. As each episode moves the story forward, these two actors move toward each other in exactly the right way.
The costuming is amazing. (I've knit that cowl around Claire's neck about 10 times.) Yes, they occasionally deviate from the book and yes, I get all "What?!" when it happens, but for the most part they have made changes that work with the story. The next and final episodes of book one will be the most challenging and difficult to watch and I'll be there glued to the largest tv in the house taking it all in.
It was picked for a second season after the second episode, which is somewhat unheard of in the world of episodic television, and I'm thrilled. The story just gets better from here and if they keep doing what they are doing now I see a long run. Thank goodness, I love it.
Yesterday I ordered Outlander themed magnets for the fridge. I think this officially makes me a fangirl. I'm good with that.