If you’re a fan of Outlander (if . . . he he), you know the Season 2 on-air premiere is fast approaching. Given that, I decided to rev up my blogging engine following a wonderful Tribute to Outlander in Beverly Hills at the Writer’s Guild Theater Thursday evening with executive show runner Ron Moore, co-executive producer Maril Davis, producer/ writer Matt Roberts, co-executive producer/ writer Anne Kenney, co-executive producer/ writer Toni Graphia, and a couple of other folks who may interest you – Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies and . . . oh, who else was there? . . . thinking . . . thinking . . . duh . . . Sam Heughan. That’s right. How could I forget? Sadly, co-executive producer/ writer Ira Stephen Behr was unable to attend for reasons not given. Also absent from the panel (and definitely missed) was best-selling novelist Diana Gabaldon due to the fact she is one of the busiest people in the world and cannot be in two places at once.
At the start of the event, we were asked not to take pictures during the panel discussion. I respected the request and only snapped a few mediocre shots during the allotted 30 seconds given, but there are several high quality pictures floating about which I’m sure you’ve seen. A rep from Outlander Starz live-tweeted the event, so I will not recap the questions and answers. Instead I’ll focus on the mood in the theater. It was, in one word, electrifying. It was a thrilling honor to be part of the first official Season 2 event and might have been a tad more exciting for me personally because I’ve chosen not to read or watch anything regarding Season 2 since the start of 2015. I’ve not viewed the latest trailers. I have taken a peek at a few of the pictures. I have not read any interviews or articles. I’m heading into Season 2 fresh and blissfully ignorant. Quite a different feeling from the build up to Season 1.
As I’ve stated in the past, I’m greatly looking forward to this season’s adaptation: the changes and additions to the complex storyline(s) – especially the handling of 1960s Scotland; the costumes, Costumes, COSTUMES – designer Terry Dresbach‘s rich and vibrant contributions; the new cast/character introductions – too many to single out; and Diana’s debut script – is there nothing this woman cannot do?
Back to the Tribute. I particularly enjoyed the overall format, being a writer myself, where members of the panel centered the discussion around the writing and adapting of the novel, both from a writer’s perspective and an actor’s. There is definitely a symbiotic relationship between the actors, writers and directors, resulting in what Ron Moore rightfully claims is a television series without a single “cliché episode.”
Throughout the evening everyone on stage exuded an enormous amount of pride (except for Tobias who seemed to be wondering “What the heck am I doing here?” Yes, that’s a joke), having all been instrumental in the production of a show hailed by fans and critics alike. I wondered many things during the discussion. One question which popped into my head which I did not attempt to ask was/is: Did Ron, Maril and company ever experience a microsecond of doubt the show would not be well received? Did they ever have the fleeting thought: What if the audience doesn’t like it? Most, if not all artists, ask themselves that question – unless they honestly do not care or they are Diana Gabaldon. Yes, another joke. If any of them did feel that feeling early on, at what point did it dissipate? Perhaps it was after the first day of filming? Maybe even as early as the first read-through. Or maybe, just maybe, the doubt never niggled into any of their minds.
The success of a television show is not completely dependent on how good it is or how superbly made it is or how many people like it. It’s unfortunately plagued with a number of considerations from politics to finances to numbers, even to personal scrutiny. Luckily for us, Outlander survived the gauntlet of production and network obstacles. And with the success of each season, we are tantalized for more. Thursday night, Caitriona and Sam reiterated their willingness to continue portraying the beloved characters of Jamie and Claire as long as the show endures. Whether future circumstances allow, only time will tell.
My favorite aspect of the evening was the members’ even distribution of participation – except Tobias who seemed to be wondering, “What the heck am I doing here?” <insert chuckle> Despite his shy-like presence, he shared the most endearing childhood story of the evening involving a bathroom break during The Wind and the Willows and a companionable badger taking a piss. You had to be there. Of all the stars on the show, Mr. Menzies is the one I’d most love to sit across from to discuss life, literature, sex, acting and anything else he’d care to talk about with me. His dry wit and charming stage manner is simply captivating. He seems very natural and genuine. Working on a handful of movies myself, I’ve personally witnessed a wide range of actors’ demeanors. Most exhibit two sides – their public face and their real face. It takes a lot of energy to keep up a public face, especially on set where the hours are long. They can either leave set immediately to relax in their trailer or let their guard down (a bit) and interact with the crew. My experience has taught me actors tend to let their guards down more than actresses (in general . . . in general . . . in general). It makes sense because film and television crews are primarily staffed by men. The actions of an actress chumming around with the crew can easily be misinterpreted. Often being one of the few women on set put me in an interesting position in that some actresses were more willing to interact with me than the men. But now I’m rambling. Sam, Caitriona and Tobias seem to be lovely people. Being on such a long and grueling show, I’m sure they are all quite comfortable and chummy with the crew.
And now back to the evening . . .
After the Tribute ended, I headed over to Saks Fifth Avenue to gaze upon a few of the Season 2 costumes. As I couldn’t determine a way to break through the glass to get my grubby, little hands on Claire’s gorgeous yellow cloak and violet embroidered jacket without setting off the alarms, I satisfied myself with taking pictures. Thought I’d share them with those of you not able to ogle them yourself in-person.
In two days I head to New York for the red carpet premiere of Outlander Season 2, Episode 1: THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY. I’ll be tweeting and taking pictures and sharing the experience as much as possible. Until then, feel free to revisit my Season 1 recaps and Jamie’s Top 30 Looks. And stay tuned for my Season 2 goodies.