Tag Archives: Outlander

Outlander – The Book that prompted the Show

For those who have been enjoying the STARZ tv show Outlander, but have not yet read any of the books, or perhaps have only read the first one, today might be the day to fall off the fence, and go from being tempted to pick the novels up, to actually getting them.  Why?

Amazon.com has the first 7 novels on sale as eBooks for $1.99.  Here’s a link directly to the page:  The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone.

We do not know how long this sale will last — but 7 books for the price of 1 novella is certainly a price worth considering… and in our estimation, worth letting others be aware of.

Outlander – The Wedding

Chapters 14 and 15 of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander cover the wedding of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp (Caitriona Balfeand James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan) known to one and all by the nickname Jamie.

The wedding in the book was similar in many ways to the wedding on the show, though there were a few differences, such as the show choosing to present the events out of order as the couple discusses the day they have just been through.

In the book the greater difference was in the marriage of Claire and Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) and this is a case where I was glad the show chose to make not just minor changes, but major ones.  I understood why the author chose to write the book the way she did, and the emotions she was putting her character Claire through, but when I first read it, the passages struck me as a bit much.  I agreed that her wedding to Jamie would undoubtedly remind her at every turn about Frank, about her desire to return to 1945, and this is a tremendous fork or turning point in her life.

Is Claire giving up hope of returning to 1945?
Is Claire now accepting her life in the 1700s?
Is this a marriage of convenience or emotion?
Is this Claire simply doing what she must to make it through another day, or week, or does this marriage to Jamie mean something more?

The wedding is given an entire episode and I feel rightfully so because it means so much for Claire, and coming out of this day Claire is in a new position figuratively speaking.  Not because she is Mrs. Fraser so much as because she has made a permanent move in this time-frame instead of just treading water in an effort to find her way back to Frank.  That is a decision that should have emotional ramifications.

Sam Hueghan shows his acting abilities quite well in several of these scenes with Claire.  As she is reacting to her own thoughts and emotions in the wake of what she has done he is clearly noticing them, observing her and realizing there is something going on with this beautiful lass he has married.  The nuances to both his performance, and that of Caitriona Balfe were quite nice as they took the audience on an emotional roller coaster with them.

With only one more episode before a mid-season break that will take us into the new year, it will be interesting to see how much further into the novel the show carries us.  My hope when they first announced the divided season was that the show would take us to Part IV of the novel before the winter break… but we shall have to wait a week to find out, especially since the commercial for this coming week appeared to show some 1945 scenes that I do not recall from the book.


Outlander @ IMDB
Outlander @ Starz
Outlander @ Showcase

Legends – TNT

Legends Banner

TNT’s Legends, based on the Robert Littell novel of the same name (and with Robert Littell as a consultant on the show) has taken the conflict and intrigue of the novel and pulled it forward ten years while centering it predominantly in the United States.

WhoIsMartinOdumThe novel is a globe trotting adventure that encompasses several years as Martin Odum recalls several of his previous legends, while trying to figure out what is truly him, what was his true life, and what he drew from and altered to create the legends he used to successfully in his service to country.

Where the novel centers around a CIA agent who has retired after some injuries and become a Private Detective in New York, the television show takes the same basic character, equally well known for his ability to take on Deep Cover assignments, but he is an FBI agent still actively working for he bureau.

It is hard to tell which of the supporting characters on the show directly parallel, or are drawn from characters in the book, in part because some of the first names are kept but many of the surnames changed, but also across the board ages and descriptions are changed.

Len Barlow / Martin Odum

Len Barlow / Martin Odum

On the show Martin is presented in the pilot as an agent who trusts himself, relies on himself, and has typically built his own legends, and is now learning to be more of a team player.  In the book there is a committee that helps create the legends, and some of the conversations there are entertaining as the possibilities are tossed around for how various aspects of the character might have come to be, or how certain things might be explained.

Where the television show Outlander is doing such a great job taking the characters almost exactly as they appear in the book and translating them to the screen, Legends, like Cedar Cove, is taking a great many more liberties.  Lincoln Dittman is in the book as well as the television show, and while there are similarities to the characters, their backgrounds have a host of differences, from occupation to why they are disenchanted with the federal government.

Lincoln Dittman

Lincoln Dittman

While the various Legends / personas were clearly different and identifiable in the book, Sean Bean does an amazing job on the show of slipping between them, one moment sounding like Martin Odum, and the next his accent changes, his mannerism change, his smile has a different lilt, and before the audiences very eyes a new character appears on screen.

The novel Legends kept pulling out new twists, yet through it all I was always confident that Martin Odum was the good guy, and I believed those who knew him and worked with him had every confidence in that as well.  There are times in the television show when I think that could be clearer, or if they are taking a different tack I think it could be better shown / explained.  In the show he is more of a loose cannon who goes so deep under cover that he only makes contact when he needs something, and it has been implied that others find that hard to trust, but I feel like something more is being hinted at.

Dante Auerbach

Dante Auerbach

Either way, the show is shaping up to be more compelling, and more self-contained within each episode than I originally dared to hope for, and the over-all arc for the season looks like it has strong potential, especially if it is in keeping with the main arc of the novel, which I found thought-provoking and interesting.

The first episode was darker and more conspiracy driven than I prefer, and the sense of conspiracy crops up from time to time, but not so much that it overwhelms the show or its characters.  Rather it has come to feel like a puzzle being solved as one man seeks to remember who he was, and what he was like, before he started slipping into these Legends so often and easily.

The novel:

Martin Odum is a one-time CIA field agent turned private detective in Brooklyn, struggling his way through a labyrinth of memories and past identities- “legends” in Agency parlance. But who is Martin Odum? Is he a creation of the Legend Committee at the CIA’s Langley headquarters? Is he suffering from multiple personality disorder, brainwashing, or simply exhaustion?

vs the show:

Sean Bean Stars as an Undercover Agent with One Hell of an Identity Crisis

An undercover agent is plunged into a terrifying mystery over his own identity in TNT‘s intense new drama series Legends, starring Screen Actors Guild Award® winner Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, Troy). Based on the award-winning book by master spy novelist Robert Littell,

In Legends, Bean plays Martin Odum, an undercover agent working for the FBI’s Deep Cover Operations (DCO) division. Martin has the uncanny ability to transform himself into a completely different person for each job. But he begins to question his own identity when a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn’t the man he believes himself to be.

Legends also stars Ali Larter (Heroes) as Crystal McGuire, a fellow operative who has a history with Martin; Morris Chestnut (American Horror Story, Nurse Jackie) as Tony Rice, a smart, quick-witted and charming DCO agent; Tina Majorino (Grey’s Anatomy, Veronica Mars, True Blood) as Maggie Harris, the newest member of the DCO team; Steve Harris (The Practice, Awake) as Nelson Gates, the director of the DCO Task Force; and Amber Valletta (Revenge) as Sonya Odum, Martin’s ex-wife; and Mason Cook (The Lone Ranger) as Martin’s pre-teen son, Aiden.

As Martin tries to find answers to the questions about his identity, he must also continue his primary job as an undercover operative, taking on such roles as a Serbian extremist, a Scottish soccer club executive, a corrupt Chicago police officer, British special forces colonel and a legendary computer hacker. There are many times, however, when he must choose between the demands of his job and his desperate desire to solve the mystery of his own identity. And he doesn’t always make the right choice.

Legends airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT

Connect with TNT’s Legends

Website: http://LegendsTNT.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LegendsTNT
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LegendsTNT

Outlander – The Garrison Commander

Lt. Foster, Claire and Dougal

Lt. Foster, Claire and Dougal

The sixth episode of Starz Outlander, The Garrison Commander, covers more of the events in Chapters 10 through 21, again changing a lot of the story line, adding characters, and recrafting events in intriguing and fascinating ways.

From the moment I first started reading the book the character Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) fascinated me.  In most current Romance novels his alpha character introduction would have signaled his being a major player, and male interest for our female lead.  Because I knew I was reading the book in anticipation of the television series, and at the recommendation of a friend, I had opted not to read the back cover text about the novel.  As a result I entered the story blind, not knowing who was a major player in the story, and who was minor.

As a result, when Claire (Caitriona Balfe) first met Dougal (Graham McTavish) I was both intrigued and curious.  Who was this man, and what role would he play in Claire’s attempt to survive life in the 1700s?  Dougal (Graham McTavish), as portrayed in the telvision show, is slightly different than in the book, the nuances to his character fascinate me.  His loyalty to clan and country and never in question, but his motivations, and what he is seeing and how he will act on it is constantly of interest.

I assumed Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) would be the Garrison Commander for whom this episode was named, in part because he was the highest ranking Red Coat we were familiar with thus far.  I expected him to be the predominant face of the British troops, and thought I understood a great deal about the scenes that would unfold in this weeks episode.

As has happened so often in this series, the episode contained some scenes directly from the book, and portions from the book shifted to other characters and other positions.

I said last week that it was best to have read up through Chapter 21, and while I now realize that does cover into the next episode (The Wedding), I think some of those scenes have been merged and shifted into this week’s episode, and last week’s.  For instance, one character from this week’s episode is at the very end of chapter 20 (Corporal Hawkins).

Where the first episode of Outlander felt almost like an abridged presentation of the book, each episode since has felt less and less bound to the novel, and yet they have maintained the spirit and spark of the prose so well, that it can be difficult to fully recognize while you are watching the show which parts are created from scratch for the series, and where dialogue has been pulled from Dougal speaking to Claire beside the spring in Chapter 13 and given to Black Jack Randall in episode 6.  Hard to believe, and yet, so well done that each scene plays well, conveys the same scene with great power, and presents two different perspectives on the same scene and gives Claire very important knowledge about the world she is now surviving in, and the people around her.

Starz Outlander Wedding Invite