A FAN’S WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE…LOOKING BACK ON OUTLANDER SEASON 1   54 comments

Beth-Topper

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As Claire and her Jamie sail across the sea to Season 2, I thought it might be nice to take a look at how they got on the boat, figuratively speaking. That sweeping shot of them crossing the sea to influence The Bonnie Prince and save the Scots was a fitting end to a journey that started quite a while ago.  Some of us fans were there from the beginning. We were witness to the first steps taken in this epic adventure. Outlander was taken to the “stage” and we were all “players” more than willing to play our part in bringing this production to life.

THE BEGINNING: As fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, we were weary of waiting to see our beloved story told on a screen. It just didn’t seem like it was going to happen. We all understood. These were BIG books and a big story.  As Diana has often said, ” a lot of really talented” people had tried to make a two-hour movie script for Outlander and failed. And, even though we really wanted to see our beloved characters in the flesh, many of us were relieved no one had succeeded in chopping our book down to fit a two-hour movie. (excuse me while I shudder at the mere thought that it really could have happened). Then…I was visiting Diana’s website one day when I saw this!

Read the rest of the article after the jump!

My response was who is Ron Moore? ( I know you are second-hand embarrassed for me) I wanted to know just WHO had the power to screw with my book! Evidently,…according to this tweet I found,…I was concerned.

Yeah……Well…..let’s move on shall we? LET THE CASTING BEGIN!  Once we knew it was real, the excitement was everywhere in the fandom. At this point, I got all my info from Diana’s site and Compuserve where Diana was known to hang out.  Karen Henry’s Outlandish Observations site was my first experience with a fan site.  The “bumble bee herder” was a God send. She was on top of the latest news. The cast watches were birthed and I can remember telling folks I didn’t know how they were going to cast Jamie!  I couldn’t think of a single actor that would even come close to the age, height and hair color needed to fit the part!  We had only begun to speculate (people were still posting pics of  Chris Helmsworth) when this happened…

I would LOVE to say the fan base was thrilled that the role of Jamie had been filled, yeah…I’d love to say that…but…uhmmm….not so much. This guy didn’t LOOK like Jamie! My God! The fans lamented! What were they thinking! His hair wasn’t red, his nose wasn’t long enough and he was only 6’3″ not 6’4″ !  Diana had to get on social media to reassure everyone that she had seen the audition tape and within seconds the actor disappeared and Jamie was living and breathing right in front of her eyes.  The author said it was okay, so we all breathed a sigh of relief and fans let go of their concerns about hair color (If I was Pinocchio my nose would be soooo long right now).  It was rumored that Sam Heughan tweeted, so I felt compelled to open an account so I could tell him congratulations. My first tweet was to Sam and my love affair with Twitter was begun.  I started seeing people talking about Outlander and started following certain folk that seemed like-minded @susanfields was the first to welcome me then @kbuddyK @luWaynea and @Katblatt and the next thing I knew I was “talking” to people on a regular basis about our love of Outlander. Every time a new cast member was announced we rejoiced, but where was our Claire? What was taking so long? Finally, this…

Sigh….Caitriona Balfe…I remember thinking she was perfect and all was right with the world …we had our Claire. We couldn’t pronounce her name, but we had our Claire. FILMING BEGINS Things seemed to happen very rapidly or slowly after that depending on your point of view! Early into the filming, Diana and Ron were seated on a panel at the NYC Comic Con. We loved seeing them together and loved hearing that they were collaborating and that Ron’s biggest concern was not “screwing up my wife’s favorite book”! We loved hearing Diana tell the world that Ron’s idea for a TV version of Outlander was the first thing she’d read that didn’t make her ” turn white or burst into flames”.  We loved the brief message from Sam and Cait from “Bonny Scotland”. Our first time seeing them together! Basically,…we just loved it . They were filming! And…miracle of miracles the production folks were talking to us and sharing back stage stuff! And, we found out that some of the big players, Maril Davis and The Matt B. Roberts, were fans just like us! (well not just like us, but..)  We started to develop our own Outlander jargon like #squeee #JAMMF and enjoyed special insider treats like Matt’s “POTD” and Maril’s “heard on set”!  And, like Cher and Oprah, some folks only needed one name…Terry. Even the drivers got in on the act! Hey Guys! …

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We sopped up every picture Starz cared to show us and searched the net daily for interesting tidbits about cast and crew. And, then… this… http://youtu.be/qOR_8tLUMTo

My niece’s response…

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She is the voice of her generation.

It WAS good but this is the pic that busted my ovaries… (click to read the tweet, *snort)

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A COMMUNITY GROWS: The Outlander “fanmily” continued to grow. Fan groups were developed like the Caitriots and the Heughligans.  Social media was a buzz with a little thing called “Outlander Invades LA”.  This has to be one of my favorite moments in the whole journey. Finally, Diana, Ron, Cait, Sam and…the fans were together under one roof and it was a beautiful mutual love fest!  My heart warms just thinking of how blown away Sam and Cait were. They had no idea what they had gotten themselves into!  They were so damn cute together! She laughed at him like he was her geeky little brother. The group welcomed them warmly and I’m sure they felt the love… https://youtu.be/GFKLaULo6Vo And, then some little guy made his appearance and Starz introduced their community page. The Pocket Jamie photo contest commenced. I won a PJ and began to compete with other fans to take unique pictures of Pocket Jamie (wrote about it of course, here).

I took him to breakfast at Waffle House…

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To Cleveland…

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To school…

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I really think I should have won something…just sayin’…not that I’m still bitter or anything… This was also about the time my family began to be concerned…

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Somewhere during this time period, I started a blog to practice writing. I needed something to write about and Outlander seemed the obvious choice given my current and so far, enduring obsession. My nieces decided they needed to send one of my articles to Herself and the rest, as they say, is history. But, I wasn’t the only one getting their creative groove on! Wow, can Outlander fans do #EpicShit!  Fan events. Blogs. Charity drives. Memes. Art. Poetry. All inspired by our love of Outlander! We made t-shirts, learned Gàidhlig, increased Scottish tourism about a million percent, decorated cakes, made Outlander themed jewelry, tattoos and even matching JAMMF Jammies ,so we would be sure to have sweet dreams!

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Our connections to each other grew. We had Ooutlander Knitters, Outlander Bakers, Outlander Herbalists, Outlander Support Groups. Friends we met on-line became real-life friends from all over the world.  I met my Outlander twin when we attended an Emulsion screening to support Sam.

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We were amazed and proud of  the community we had created!

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OUR DREAM CAME TRUE.  Before we knew it the season’s filming was a wrap. They released the first few episodes to the media.  We started to read some reviews and critiques. We were not a happy lot. There seemed to be a general consensus that anything geared toward appealing to a female audience had to be flawed! Anyone remember this article in Vanity fair?

Does the New Outlander Series Have What It Takes to Be More than Just a Bodice-Ripper?

At Comic-Con this weekend, we got our first peek at what the immensely popular time-travel/romance book series Outlander will look like as a TV show. But does it have a chance to, like Game of Thrones, break out of the niche genre audience into the mainstream? All early signs point to no. Because in order to become a true hit, Outlander, a steamy, time-traveling romp through Scotland, is going to have to find a way to appeal to more than just your dear old mum. In other words, it can’tjust be Fifty Shades of Plaid.

We of course took umbrage and wrote scathing rebuttals!   Myself included! http://wp.me/p4mtBT-b6 Just you wait and see was our reply! This story is much more than you think!

In the meantime, some lucky folks were getting to go to the premier! They were very generous with their pictures and the panel was televised!  Some great stuff there! Including the infamous “you sir have one fine ass” line that continues to spark debate!  And, then… they got to watch the premiere!  One journalist covering the NYC premier said she’d never seen anything like it! The enthusiasm! She expected the biggest cheers to be for Sam when he walked on stage, but I was proud when she wrote that the biggest applause was reserved for the author.  That’s cuz Diana is a goddess…duh! The Episode was good. Fans were rapt. Fans wept. As we had hoped Ron and crew had done us proud!

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Lucky for us, Diana’s latest book, Written in my Heart’s Own Blood, hit the shelves ( and the best sellers list) while we were waiting for August to roll around. We planned premier parties, we figured out  how to make the show trend, we discussed how to get significant others to watch with us and when the day finally arrived I felt kinda like this!

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AND IT WAS GOOD AND THE PEOPLE REJOICED It was a show to be proud of and it only got better.  The series brought new fans to the fold and the fandom grew and changed like the living breathing thing it is.  We had many more firsts, creativity, and Outlander to discuss and fangurl/guy over. I now find it hard to remember  what the characters in my head looked like because the actors so embodied what Diana wrote.  When I read about Jamie being a leader, I see Sam. When I read of Claire healing again, I see Cait.  I’m so proud to be a fan of this show. They fulfilled the promise of bringing these wonderful characters, their struggles, and… love to life. And, …we love them all for it even when we nitpick, or squabble or worry that Sam is only 6’3″.

Because Diana wrote a book….and Ron read it… Thanks for one of the greatest experiences of my life!

– A fan

54 responses to “A FAN’S WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE…LOOKING BACK ON OUTLANDER SEASON 1

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  1. Thank you for this lovely retrospective. I had not heard of the books until my sister, who had just finished reading Book 7, alerted me that STARZ was doing a series on the first book and knowing my love for historical drama, SciFi and romance, she recommended I give it a try. I watched the first episode and promptly downloaded the entire series to iBooks and started reading. In just one year I have read all the books including the Lord John series and novellas in the sequence recommended by Diana twice and I am currently in my third read in the middle of “Fiery Cross”. I have never been this obsessive about a book series or TV series. I can’t get enough of seeing the episodes, reading the articles, listening to the podcasts and watching the videos on YouTube of interviews and fan videos. I just don’t want to leave the world or Outlander. The casting has been superb. Although I don’t agree with some of the sacrifices made for adaptation, I have never seen a book series translated to film as well as Outlander has been. The attention to every detail for authenticity, the wonderful music, Terry’s amazing costumes, the locations they chose and the sets they built make you forget that you are watching fiction. These characters and the environment in which we see the story unfold are REAL and we care about these characters and the wonderful actors who play them. After the season finale I could not help but be concerned about the effect it had on Sam in particular. He was pushed to his limits and had to get drunk and climb the hills of Scotland alone for days to shake it off. I am so glad he had that Indy film to work on during the hiatus. He seems like such a sweet man. If this show doesn’t get recognized at the Emmy’s in a big way, the fandom will rise up and raise hell.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I too read and re read, watch and re watch. I’m in love with whole thing!

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    • I’m with both of you as I believe millions of fans are. I have never been so engulfed in a book or TV series. I too have been a fan for over 20 years. As deep as these actors went, I hope they surfaced from the depths of the dark. It was so hard to watch the last two episodes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great walk down memory lane ♥ I believe that is good thing to do. I had not read the books but was excited to see what Outlander, the series was going to be about and watched last August. I was hooked immediately and went online for all the updates, and information I could get… It has been an incredible journey for me as well and I am finishing the first book, moving on to DIA. No series has ever moved me like this. We are so fortunate that today fans can actually communicate with the stars via FB and Twitter and even help spread the word on media sites, vote in polls multiple times, go to events, premiers, connect with new Outlander friends from around the world. What a great way to immerse yourself in something you love so dearly. You really feel you are sharing this journey with the whole production team and the stars… it is a grand adventure for sure!

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  3. This is great – I was watching some of this but was so new to social media I didn’t really get involved till this last fall! There are a lot worse obsessions to have than Outlander or great books in general. It has been quite a ride so far and, hopefully, will be for a long time to come. Great look back as we excitedly look forward!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for writing this retrospective. I, too, am an Outlander Obsessive, and have “influenced” many a new reader within my clientele!. Sometimes, though, I do get disappointed with some of the “sacrifices made for adaptation” (as a previous comment states very well!), and sometimes even downright righteous:), I love MY Books. The CD’s with Devinia Porter are a constant in my car, and I hear new things in these stories every day. The characters are endearing, even after all these years. You have very sweetly brought it back into perspective, having me realize why they and the fans are so special. Thank you for that!

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  5. Reblogged this on Ana Fraser Lallybroch Blog.

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    anafraserlallybroch
  6. thank you for sharing this! Funny how when I read the books now, I too see Jamie looking like just like Sam, and Claire looking like Caitriona. I loved these books and I am now rereading then 20 years later. I still find it hard to not compare the books to the series, and I want them to include all of the little nuances that I loved about the books. Your insight has helped me to realize that my expectations are ridiculous and to try to trust these people that have brought the books so eloquently to life. I am soooo excited for season 2!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! A great tribute to Outlander’s first season! I’m obsessed with it too! It has been a long time since I read a book and now I can’t stop reading them. I started reading book one after I started watching the series, so to me, Sam was Jamie. He is perfect or the role as is Cait is perfect for Claire!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Beth

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi my name is Alice and I’m addicted to Outlander. No, I don’t wish to recover from this addiction, I want to rope lots of other folks into it as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, my name is Linda and I’m addicted to Outlander. I am also addicted to your blog, no wait! No! I don’t want cured! I just want to walk through the stones….I mean REALLY walk through the stones, but if I can’t then I’m going to continue to get lost in the show and the books.

    Yes, My name is Linda and I’m addicted to Outlander!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/sherlock-boomer

    Liked by 1 person

  10. For a new fan this is AMAZING! Thank you for taking me back on this journey through time, this post felt to me like a particular set of stones. I’m also engaging more on twitter and everyone is so nice and sweet. I AM addicted to Outlander! 🙂

    PS: That video of Sam saying Sassenach. I believe I had the same reaction as your niece. I am as red as a tomato!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I knew of Ron Moore from watching Battlestar Galactica and following his podcasts so imagine how excited I was when I found out he would be doing the Outlander series. I have been thrilled and love the community and fandom. What a ride this has been and I am happy to be tagging along 🙂

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  12. As I’ve said before, I love reading your posts. I too am a fan of everything Outlander. I came to the books late, but I have loved every word of them. I just wish I had known about them sooner. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and I am looking forward to you next posts and of course Season 2!!

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  13. It was by accident that I found out Outlander was to be made into a series. Thank you Beth for the retrospective of the beginnings. Long time to April 2016, but more time to enjoy season 1a and b.

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  14. Beth I really enjoy your posts so much.I find you put into words what I;m thinking and feeling.Thank you so much for this walk down memory lane .I have found alot of the inside news that I missed. I am obessed with Outlander and have been since I first met Jamie and Claire in 1992.I was introduced by my daughter .I’m a little ashamed to say I am much more involved than she .anyway thank you again I am looking to read many more of your blogs and can’t wait for our show to return. Have to re-read the books again

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ROFL, the owl. How true!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beth… I think you are able to beautifully reflect the thoughts of most of the “Oldlander” community! I reached my limit of Eric Stoltz pictures being posted and had walked away years ago- quietly reading my books and staying away from the online fray. A reader since 1991, I developed the first reading group at AOL in 1995 and shared many wonderful times with about a thousand devoted readers and a very engaged “Herself” who even included us in her first Outlandish Companion. But, the technology of those days around 2000 was limiting, online businesses changed, and it was a long wait beyond Drums of Autumn. I could barely support the thought of a two hr movie doing any justice; knowing DG had optioned her property. Online discussions changed from being about the books to a constant barrage of the latest red headed actor and why he should be Jamie and everyone thought Clair HAD to be Alex Kingsley! I honestly got tired of the whole thing…luckily life intervened and I simply shut things down…and quietly went back to just waiting and reading my favorite books.
    I was fine…I had my obsession over these books under control. And THEN…Facebook! Diana’s FB page announced the series from Ron Moore. THE Ron Moore who gave me Roswell, Star Trek, and OMG- Battlestar Galactica! It had to be a dream! The thought of THAT show gave me hope as I adjusted to retirement and our move to Arizona (No…I’m not a stalker!). As I survived a bout with cancer and worried…will I be around to see the series and future books play themselves out??? What was a joke with DG in the 90’s became a completely different issue with MOBY and Starz. That 1″ difference of Sam Heughan is nothing compared to the infinite size of his talent, and especially, his heart and soul. This wonderful actor created amazing spin off communities with his My Peak Challenge during Droutlander1. I went from couch potato to Peak Warrior…transforming myself and inspiring other cancer survivors, shocking all my friends with weight loss, daily exercise and a healthier lifestyle! That’s been the power of Outlander to me!
    I simply couldn’t be happier! Timing IS everything!!! If it’s a dream, don’t wake me up! The show is beyond awesome- Production, Cast and Crew!!! I drank Outlandish koolaid long ago when I started my journey 24 years ago. I’m so glad I don’t have to monitor the board communities since those of us who know the history KNOW how disappointed we could have been;) But…life is good and the show is in great hands…and we have wonderful bloggers who communicate this so much better than I!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you communicated your thoughts and feelings very well! I’m so glad you like the show and when I get picky about what’s changed or left out, I try and remind myself what could have been! I wonder if Sam truly knows how many lives his Peak Challenge changed? TY!

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    • I’ve found the best part of Outlander (besides the books:) is the wonderful fellowship it has inspired. I, too am a follower since the start. I can remember going to a book signing in Braintree, MA over 20 years ago, just so I could meet HER. While I was standing in line that wrapped around the mall, I found so many others who felt as I do about the books (although back then it was the Promo for Drums!). Like yourself, technology was not something I had embraced, and they were talking about going “ON THE WEB” to learn more. Oh Discovery! And it’s gotten better and better–so many new friends and addicts to The Cause.

      Best to you in your Fight with Cancer. May you slay that enemy once and for all. Think “broad sword!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Absolutely luv the blog. Made me smile and giggle a wee bit. Season 2 is anticipated and with all the BTS pics we can “almost” figure what’s being filmed. (Knowing my luck it will all wind up on the cutting room floor cuz I’m on the wrong page of DIA) Anyway, thank you, Droughtlander is tough but with blogs like this it will pass a bit easier.. not shorter but easier.

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    jjm112950@comcast.net
  18. Like I told you on twitter this was a blast to read!! I too am obsessed(addicted) to everything Outlander..I know my friends and family worry about me! Ha Ha in a good way though I think??!! Anyway, even though the season has wrapped I do hope you intend on delighting us with your blog posts of anything Outlander. I canna wait for season 2 to begin…So much material to cover and the addition of Stanley Webber, ohhhh what he could do with le Comte St. Germain!! and getting to meet Robert Cavanah as Jared Fraser….more gorgeousnes to behold!! Please write on, write on…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you Beth for writing the recap/chronology of waiting for It to happen! I can remember wY back in 1994 when I first started reading the books thinking ‘wow, what a great movie this would make but how could it happen.’ And then would try to search somewhere/anywhere for any Intel on whether or not this would ever happen. I remember seeing a few things on early internet that were kind of crazy so am really glad it took until now so that Sam and Cait and everyone else became available – or even grew up! Love your posts. Please keep on keeping on!

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  20. Hi Beth. I only discovered your blogs recently when I became a twitterer to follow Outlander, but your blogs always encapsulate my feelings and thoughts. I’m not very techno and didn’t know about the Outlander TV series until about 3 months ago when my daughter mentioned that the books I had been obsessed with when she was young had been made into a TV series and it was on Lightbox (NZ streamed TV). A bit surprised my daughter remembered this – she was very young when I started reading the books, but I have to admit I WAS seriously obsessed at the time. I just loved the books and… I had totally and completely fallen in love with Jamie. I often thought the story would make a great TV series, but doubted they’d ever find a Jamie to match the book boyfriend I had in my head. Many years had passed since my initial obsession with Outlander, but when I discovered the TV series it was like a dream come true. The TV series has been wonderful – in some ways not as good as the book – in other ways better! Buy overall SUPERB! And… Sam IS the perfect Jamie, Cait is amazing too, but Jamie… well as I said I fell in love with him… so he’s kind of important. So after a hiatus of almost 20 years since my first obsession, I am now totally obsessed with the TV series. Please keep your blogs going through Droughtlander. Thank You So Much.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Outlander is, by far, the best addiction to have! I am in love, totally obsessed, and hope that I am never cured! As always, thanks for the great fun and write-up!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. That hyperventilating owl! Yes, I know the feeling! So great….
    What a fabulous fan summary…and what a great community that has grown from the experience! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Beth, thanks for sharing your memories and your involvement from before day 1 of Starz involvement, really enjoyed seeing some of the older stuff, and that vid from Sam on Sassenach was to die for! I just found your blog about two months ago, and am loving everything you write! Keep it up for us during Droughtlander#2.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi Beth, interesting to read of the first wave of fans. I joined the fandom in midseason, before the last drought & have become obsessed over the series. I haven’t felt this interested in any show since I was a kid. And along the way I have found & relished the wonderful creativity & thoughtful expressions of so many fans online which add to my day, especially now that we’re back to a longer drought. Thank you for your love for OL. I am hoping continued success to all involved in the tv series.

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