Outlander – Sassenach

Have you read the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon?  Are you reading Outlander now, excited about the new TV show starting up tonight on STARZ?  Are you just now picking up the novel and wondering if it is too late to start?  Or has it been a decade (or more) since you read the first book in the popular series and you want to refresh your memory?

Starz Outlander Season 1

STARZ Outlander Season 1 Promotional Photo

As I’ve mentioned before, Outlander did not hit my radar as a novel when it first came out.  When the show was announced I was interested, from the moment it was mentioned I was curious since I enjoy time travel and love stories that rely on the characters to get the audience caught up in the action and the drama.

A friend convinced me the books are worth the page count (the copy I have at hand of Outlander right now is 850 pages) and I totally agree.  The book fills those pages with story, scenes I get caught up in… and yes, want to see fill my tv screen.

Here at PopArtsPlace we avoid giving away plot points in our PopArtsPlace.com/now articles… we like to talk about the general concepts, tempt you into getting caught up in shows, point you in the direction of what we are loving, highlight the strengths and draw your attention to places where we feel entertainment is excelling.

I am toying with the idea of doing a separate page discussing changes made to the story and characters in the Outlander series ‘along the way’, if there is interest, and if I feel I have something valuable to offer that would make such a page worth being made.

With the joint podcasts we do with ComicBookPage’s John Mayo we do include spoilers, after warnings, labels, and cautions that listeners should turn off the podcast if they are not prepared to listen to a spoiler filled discussion.  That is where we dive into the details, discussing characters that have been merged, or removed from stories, plot points that have been dramatically changed, endings that have been altered between one medium and another, that kind of thing.  Our Podcasts about tv shows are typically done at the end of a season, right before a season begins, or after a major turning point — in other words when something significant has happened and there is a decisive ‘reason’ to talk about the show.

It can be fascinating to talk with authors and discover that they considered from the moment an idea first occurred to them that it was “too big” in some way for the screen, that it had too many characters, too many threads, too much of something for them to feel they could contain it in a two hour movie, and so they turned to the format of a novel.  Other times you might hear that the visual impact of a movie screen or the episodic nature of a television show simply felt like the right medium in which to tell a story.  That a novel would not have the impact, or even a series of novels would not allow them to explore the life of the characters in the way they wanted to.

As a result I do not find it surprising when a story moves between mediums that characters disappear, that minor (or sometimes seemingly major) plot points fall away, rather I am often intrigued to see what held so much power and strength, what resonated so strongly with every collaborator in the project, that it remains in tact from one incarnation to the next.

Because I do not expect the STARZ series to be a word for word adaptation or following of the novel(s) I do not feel my experience of the show is spoiled by having read Outlander.  If, however, you want to have no idea what is going to happen in the first episode, do not pick up the book before you watch it!

If you want to keep in step with the episodes, the plan here is simple —  post an article an episode letting viewers know where in the book the show has progressed to.

Season One Episode One of Outlander, titled Sassenach, covers the first three chapters of the book Outlander.  (Technically the episode ends about a page and a half into Chapter Four.)

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9 PM ET/PT on STARZ.   Love the books and show?  Share that love with other fans on the Starz Outlander Facebook Page

A few links that may prove useful:
Outlander on IMDB
 Outlander on Goodreads
  Outlander Series on DianaGabaldon.com