4 posts tagged TDHNExclusive
Monday night’s screening and Q&A hosted by the 92nd Y was a chance for fans on the East Coast to see what Starz has in store for Outlander. The official premiere is Saturday, August 9th at 9pm.
[From left to right: Leslie Yaizel (moderator), Tobias Menzies (Frank Randall/Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Catriona Baife (Claire Randall), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series author), Ronald D. Moore (Executive Producer)]
Here’s five insights from the discussion fans will appreciate. As a note, only minor spoilers are included in this article as a courtesy to first time viewers or those who are not caught up with the first book in the series:
1) Episode Hints: Overall the audience reaction was very positive. In my opinion,the episode did a very good job of setting up the beginning of an epic adventure. A more detailed review will be posted after the premiere. For now here’s four details from the novel fans should look out for in the episode: ghosts, Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, Gaelic, Battle wounds. Those who are new to Outlander should not be intimidated. The episode is framed in a way to also impart information for new viewers.
2) Role Duplicity: Menzies noted although Frank and Black Jack are incredibly dissimilar, they have a key element in common: “Both are shaped by war”. Baife notes she doesn’t see the Claire of the 1940’s and the Claire of 18th Century as separate entities. Many elements of her personality remain the same and they inform her time traveling experiences. Claire’s point of view is the audience’s view of a time far removed from modern experience.
3) Censorship & Exaggeration: Moore assures fans that Starz isn’t meddling with the scripts. They’re not pushing for hyped up controversial material and they’re also not calling for cuts. Scenes of sex, violence, and medical gore are treated in the same fashion the book series handles these subjects.
4)Scotland As A Character: The natural beauty in the Highlands is a prominent feature in the series. Historical accuracy goes hand in hand with the scenery. Researching 18th Century Scotland was a top priority for the producers and set designers. Props such as woven baskets, weapons, and other materials were made by Scottish artisans. Heughan notes that the show is a celebration of a culture that is almost extinct.
5) The Author’s View: Speculation about the possibility of an Outlander series or movie has gone on for many years. Fans were worried about how much scripts would alter plot points or the tone of the original. Gabaldon acts as a consultant to the production. She believes the show is translating the pages to the screen in an effective fashion. She had a “very visceral” reaction to an upcoming scene involving the tension between Jamie and Claire.
After viewing the first episode, I’m even more excited for the rest of the season. Outlander fans, let us know what you’re looking forward to!
Exactly a week ago, the Paley Center in Manhattan featured a panel with the cast of Mad Men. Fans and the media filled in every sold out seat in the main theatre and the second floor. Despite seeing the festivities through a screen, this was one of the best panels I have ever attended anywhere.
Mad Men’s ensemble cast and crew was represented by the creator Matthew Weiner as well as actors Jon Hamm, Jessica Paré, John Slattery, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser and Kiernan Shipka. Brian Williams, best known for anchoring NBC Nightly News), shed his serious side and showed his fanboy colors as moderator. Very few secrets for future episodes were revealed, but here are the questions and comments fans will be most interested in:
"White men in suits did just fine"
This quote from Weiner stuck with me long after the discussion turned away from the way 1968 will be protrayed this coming season. The social unrest, anxiety over the future of the country, and the growing anti Vietnam sentiment will be important themes in the rest of Season 6. Most of the characters will be insulated from the worst of the social turmoil, but they will still feel the anxiety of the times.
Pete the Skunk
Kartheiser tried very hard to defend the indefensible parts of Pete’s personality and actions. He believes Pete is seeing behind the curtain of Don’s work habits. This season for him is more about controlling Don than becoming Don or exceeding his achievements.
The End Of Mad Men
Don’t Rank The Mistresses
Jon Hamm refused again to answer which of the many women Don has had affairs with was the best or the favorite. He believes Don himself doesn’t even have the ability to judge his experiences in that way. Hamm did point out that many people believe Rachel Menken from Season 1 was different from the rest. Rachel was the only one who did not know Don was married.
The Big Mistake
Mad Men’s writers rarely make factual errors, but a throwaway line in ta recent episode ended up making headine news. Joan tells a friend she will make reservations at Le Cirque, but the iconic Manhattan restarant did not exist until 1974. Weiner apologized profusely for the error and also noted that the reaction shows how much of an impact Mad Men has on current pop culture.
“Why Did Lane Have To Die?”
This was the first question from the audience, and it is by far my favorite because it was the same question I would asked Weiner if I had the chance. He revealed that Lane’s tragic suicide at the end of last season fit with his cultural background. British expatriates were under enormous pressure from family and others to suceed in whatever venture they pursued. Failure was unacceptable, and those who failed could not go back. Lane chose death before facing the consequences of his mistakes and dealing with expectations that that did not match the results.
Sunday’s episode already highlighted some of the trends mentioned at the panel. I’m defnitely looking forward to the rest of Season 6 as well as to the next major Paley Center event.
I’ll be live tweeting/live blogging the awesome happenings at Gallifrey One in Los Angeles this weekend. This convention is one of the largest Doctor Who specific cons in America. count.
Follow our Twitter and track the hashtag #TDHNGally1Diary. These posts will be a fan’s eye view at the panels, special guests, cosplay, and other events. Keep checking our site for long form posts as well. If you’re going to be at Gally and you want to find me, leave a message in the general ask box.
Last week, NYC’s Strand Bookstore celebrated the release of the second companion book to the series The Chronicles of Downton Abbey. Author Jessica Fellowes was interviewed by Carol Wallace, whose book To Marry An English Lord inspired Downton Abbey.
Chronicles is the sequel to the book The World of Downton Abbey. Both books were written at the same time as filming. While World focused on the overall history and behind the scenes action, Chronicles focuses heavily on the characters. Each chapter focuses on the back stories and history of one or two characters. [As a note, both Chronicles as well as the rest of this article does not contain any Series 3 spoilers.]
Throughout the evening, many behind the scenes filming details were dished out. On the set, the actors pretend to eat in the dining hall scenes because the food is real but often congealed after several hours of filming. Highclere (where the upstairs scenes are filmed) is also incredibly drafty. Once the cameras are off coats are put on.
There was also plenty of insight into the writing process. Julian Fellowes based every character on the premise that people are naturally good natured. Some of the characters are based on the Fellowes family history while others are compilations of people from the period. As an example, O’Brien was based off a maid who was “polite as a courtier and manipulative” to the point of driving away all of her mistresses’ family. Robert’s resistance to change was very typical of those in his position at the time.
Several hints were dropped of what was to come in Series 3. The economic challenges of running Downton after World War I will form a major plot point. Chronicles foreshadows this by including a map of the estate. The new society required people with skills and business sense, not just a force of nature and inherited leadership. Cora’s bailout of the state is no longer enough to keep Downton viable. Some of the great houses survived through changes in business practices but others fell into disrepair. Some old homes were saved by the newly rich wishing to appear just like the old aristocracy. In some ways, Jessica Fellowes noted Downton has some apparels with modern society adjusting to rapidly changing technology.
Along with economic changes, Series 3 will also deal with shifts in expectations and roles. Upper class women like Edith wished to do more than household management. Middle and working class women are no longer content with domestic service and childrearing and were moving into the workplace. More women are also earning degrees. For the lower classes, more career options opened up after the war. Thousands left domestic service to pursue a wide variety of career options. In addition, more people were gaining access to education. Anything was possible, and this will be reflected in the storylines of Edith and Daisy in particular.
The Q&A portion of the evening raised several additional points of interest:
- Audience concern over the lack of racial/ethnic diversity has been noted and a new minority character will appear in Series 4. Details are still hazy.
- I asked if fans will see a tiny piece of the Jazz Age/flapper action in Series 3. Unfortunately, it is a few years too early for the trends the 20’s are most remembered for.
- Matthew becomes “magisterial” in upcoming episodes.
- Downton has remained in tact from the first drafts of the script all the way to the pilot. Executive meddling was not a factor in production.
- Whether the injured soldier really was Patrick Crawley or an impostor is a purposeful mystery. No one knows if he will come back in a future episode.
The event was a great way to kick off the final countdown until the Series 3 premiere. Can it be January 6th now?