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What Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series and Battlestar Galactica Have in Common

Their transition to television is backed by Star Trek alumni Ron Moore. Obviously, Battlestar Galactica has already made it through its run, but word on the street is Moore is shopping a television version of Diana Gabaldon‘s successful book series. The seven books in the Outlander series are hard to pin down to a single genre: romance? historical fiction? science fiction? fantasy? military history? But with True Blood and Game of Thrones both on the air, it seems like it might be a pretty interesting experiment for networks, and one that could be spun in any number of ways depending on who picks it up.

What do I mean? Well, lets talk about what Outlander is about.

The first book in the series opens on Claire Randall, a British Army nurse, and her husband Frank, a history professor, on their second honeymoon in Scotland. In 1945. Frank is a bit obsessed with tracking down his family lineage; Claire, not so much, and during one of her wanderings in the highlands, she comes upon a circle of standing stones, steps through, and is transported to 1743. She runs into Frank’s ancestor (a British Captain and not a particularly nice guy), but is taken from him by a group of Scots. Thus follows Claire’s introduction to the historical politics of the time: the British and the Scotts are not really getting along well, and because she is so clearly neither (mostly by virtue of being out of time) she’s suspected as a spy at worst, an unattached (not necessarily meaning that she’s unmarried, but that there’s no family to give her political connections, no friends to call on, and certainly no money) woman at best. The Scots she’s made friends with are obligated to turn her over to the British for brutal questioning… unless they make her a legal Scotswoman by marriage. Claire, of course, wants to get back to her own time and her own husband, but has no idea how to, and accepts Jamie Fraser’s hand.

Aaand at this point I’m about half way through the Wikipedia plot summary of the first of seven books. With Ron Moore at the helm, it’s easy to see how the time travel aspects of the story might be highlighted, and probably Gabaldon wouldn’t mind, being most familiar with all the different ways of pitching her genre blurring story. All I can say is: China would not approve.

(via Digital Spy.)

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  • Heather H

    As an Outlander fan fram waaaay back, the announcement earlier this week had me squeeing like none other.  If they get the cast right, this could be outfuckingstanding

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Heather, if they get the casting right, this could be AWESOME. I hope “they” do as good a job on it as they’ve done with Game of Thrones, which is another book series I’m a fan of. This could be really awesome. Also, if you have not read the books. YOU NEED TO READ THE BOOKS.

  • Alana Beltzer

    So who do people want to see cast as Jamie and Claire? I’ve heard Chris Hemsworth mentioned for Jamie and, while not a terrible choice, he seems slightly too young to me but that might be because the later books are fresher in my mind. As for Claire, I’m thinking Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil from Downtown Abbey), especially if they go with someone Chris’s age as Jamie. Anyone else with casting ideas?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve avoided this series. There’s a lot of ‘consensual’ raping going on…or at least more than I care to have in my romance reading.

  • Angela Martin

    This has me so exited if they can do justice to the Outlander books like Game of Thrones, I will be one happy nerd!

  • Ali

    Actually Hemsworth is older than Jamie is at the beginning of Outlander, I can’t remember exactly but Jamie is 20 or so when he first meets Claire (Hemsworth is 28). Claire is older, maybe 29 or 30.

  • Carol Simpson McClain

    Love Love the series.  Obsessed with Jamie. I truely hope they keep Diana in the loop.  In fact I hope they make her in charge!

  • Anonymous

    I listened to the first one as an audiobook. For some reason I haven’t continued the series yet……Do I NEED to? 

  • Anonymous

    I personally think it’s awesome. Though a lot of people don’t like book 2 as much as the others. It starts slow, but it’s worth it in the end.

  • Anonymous

    Jamie and Claire spend a lot more time in their 50s than they do in their 20s so really there needs to be actors that can pull off both ages IMO. Diana has done “fantasy casting” on her FB page, basically “this means nothing but let’s have fun” and there’s been some interesting choices.

  • Anonymous

    I have been bouncing off the walls since she made the announcement!!!

  • Anonymous

    the books are such a huge commitment so many of my friends are kind of hesitant, but every single person i know who has picked them up cannot put them down!

  • Anonymous

     Fiery Cross is the one I like the least.

  • Anonymous

     there is an awful lot of rape in the books…

  • Anonymous

     and I can’t see Chris Hemworth hopping onto TV for this.

  • Angel S.

    *One* rape in any book I am considering reading anymore is one too many.  I’ll pass, and thanks for the heads up. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always pictured Alex Kingston as Claire…it would be difficult to get my head around someone else in the role.

  • Anonymous

    Hm. Scots are Brits, in 17th C you’re not distinguishing eg Picts from Mercians anymore, unless you’re only talking about Scots Irish.

  • Stephanie

    I couldn’t finish the first one thanks to the rape and threatened rape. And the beatings. And the torture and execution of a woman suspected of witchcraft. And the demonizing of homosexuality. 

    I wanted so much to like it; it had great potential, but in the words of someone else on the internet, Gabaldon rides the rape train a little to much for the purposes of plot development.

  • Stephanie

    I am really hesitant about this. There is SO MUCH rape and attempted rape and all kinds of other terrible things that ruin an otherwise engaging romance story. If they cut all that out for TV, there really isn’t much plot left.

  • Anonymous

    “the British and the Scotts are not really getting along well”

    I think you must mean the English and the Scots: British refers to any inhabitant of the British Isles, which includes the Scots.  In any case, since this is clearly about the Jacobite uprisings, it’s more a case of a certain group of Scots and the rest of the British not really getting along well.

    I’m a Scot, so I’m pedantic about stuff like this.

  • Vicky Rowe

    Well, life in those days could be pretty brutal, especially for women. I’ve always seen the Outlander series not as a romance series, but as a *life* series. Yeah, there is a lot of it, but there was a lot of in history. The romance is great, but frankly I think that *just* the romance would make it just another ‘bodice ripper’ and not worth reading. It’s the whole thing, violence and all, that make the Outlander series such a gripping read, IMO.  Diana really did a lot of homework to give a lifelike portrayal of the ‘little things’ happening to people in day-to-day life, as well as the scary things about living in the 18th century. And I love the way she’s brought the history to life through the eyes of Jamie, Claire, Bree, Roger and the rest of the characters.

  • Karen

    My picks for Claire are Madeleine Stowe (Last of the Mohicans) and Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives), because they play strong characters in the parts they do play. I don’t think too many actresses can do Claire justice. I haven’t come to a conclusion on Jamie yet. He’s a tough one….For Brianna, would like to see Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman or Julianne Moore.