I don't know if you watch Outlander or even if you've ever heard of it. It's a series of books by Diana Gabaldon, made into a bunch of little mini-series TV shows on the Starz channel and it's kind of a big deal. And tragically, the 4th season finale was this past Sunday. Now we all have to wait for season 5. And wait and wait and wait.
The Outlander community, which is worldwide by the way, even has a word for the time between seasons. They call it "Droughtlander". We are all kind of drifting aimlessly now, waiting for the next season.
Clearly, I am a fan. But then, I was a fan before it was on TV. The first book came out in 1991. But oddly, I didn't hear about it then. In fact, I didn't know these books even existed until there were already 3 of them. In my family book exchange the first three books showed up in one of my care packages of books when we lived in Colorado with a number of other, much smaller, books. I read all of the smaller books first, then began to tackle the huge Outlander books.
Seriously, the Outlander books are massive. Each book is at least 600 pages, usually more. But once I started reading them, I flew through. The writing is just so dang good! The author's writing skill is only outclassed by her detailed research. These aren't just good stories, she breathed life into her characters. They feel like real people who lived incredible lives and we, the readers, were allowed to come along for the ride. Genuinely great writing is unmistakable. Even by people who generally don't enjoy reading.
Both the books and the show are exciting and dramatic and sweet and historic and exciting and frightening and romantic and science fictionish and, and, and......well it's hard to categorize. It's beloved by both men and women, young, old and in between. It appeals on so many different levels across the board.
Often when a book is turned into a movie, or in this case a television show, egregious errors are made and the film is an atrocity compared to the book. But in this case, such loving care has been taken with each transition of book to film, that the television version is even more popular than the books. And that is saying something because these books have been translated into more than twenty different languages and is read around the world.
So okay, we have established that for once, I am doing something in vogue. It's a rare occurrence that I get on the bandwagon of something trendy. But here I am.
I'm not the biggest fan of TV in general. There are some shows that I will watch if I walk into the family room and the TV is already on and even occasions when I am the one with the clicker in my hand. But I have no idea what day, what channel or what time any of these shows that I kind of like air. Which shows you my lack of dedication to them.
There have been very few shows that I actively sought out. That I read about. That I talked to other people about. That I remember well and kind of miss now that they are no longer on air. So few in fact that I can list them:
If I think back, probably Bonanza was my first big TV show favourite. I don't remember ever reading about the show, but I looked forward to watching it every week and in fact Hoss Cartwright was my first celebrity crush. I think it started on TV when I was about 7 or 8 years old.
"The Monkees" was the teenaged TV show adoration for me. Oh yes, I was crazy about those wacky boys and their shenanigans and their music. I watched the show faithfully every week, I watched reruns and I read about them in every magazine I could find and I talked about them when my friends. Yes, I was a big fan.
Then there while I certainly watched other shows and even liked some of them, there weren't any other shows that I really cared big time about until "Quantum Leap". For some reason that show really caught my attention. I sat in rapt attention for every episode and while I didn't know anyone else who cared to discuss it, I remember thinking about it between episodes. I still watch reruns of it when I come across it on Very late night TV.
Next up was "X-Files". Oh yeah. Big Time Fan. Watched the shows, read the magazines, bought tickets to see the films. I was a huge X-files fan. Even when other people began drifting away from it, I loyally hung on and continued watching it and loving it and then missed it after it went off the air. Sigh.
Then there was quite a spell of nothing. While I certainly watched TV in the evenings with Tim and even liked a show here or there, there was nothing that I really connected with. Here is the indicator. Tim generally watches multiple shows at one time. The clicker, clicks. A lot. I prefer to watch one show at a time. But the fact that I wasn't bothered by the constantly changing shows while watching is an indication of how unconnected I actually was from 99.9% of what we were watching.
Until Outlander came to TV. There is one and only one show being watched while Outlander is on. I am not just watching the show, I am part of the show. I know other people who watch it and we talk about it between episodes. I have watched panels and interviews with the principles on You Tube. I have read about the show in magazines. And I continue to read the story as the books are still being written. Book 9 is supposed to be released sometime this year. So exciting.
That is the most difficult part for me actually. Since I have read the books and most of the people that I talk to about the show have not, it's so hard to not reveal what is going to happen next. But if nothing else, I can keep a secret like nobody's business. Sometimes I nearly implode from the stress of holding the knowledge in during a conversation where other's ideas of what will happen next are being batted around. But the important part is, that I do NOT tell. Never.
So what to do during Droughtlander. Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I'll probably read the books again while awaiting the release of Book 9. Then like many other people, just before Season 5 arrives, I will binge watch seasons 1-4 to gear up for the exciting new season.
Anyone would think that because I've already read the books, which means I know what's going to happen, I would not be interested in seeing the show. They would be wrong. There is the book, there is the visual in my head from reading the book and then there is the show. All of them are good. Really good. But honestly, I love them all.
That's me. Outlander geek. Big Fan. Say what you will, I don't care. If you don't like the show, you are allowed to not like it but, much like the characters in the story, "I dinna ken why".
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.