Category Archives: Television

OUTLANDER Season Two, Will You Be Watching? …#springiscoming

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

It’s no secret that I’m an avid fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, as well as,  Ron D. Moore’s adaptation of the story for television found on the STARZ network in the U.S. and on Showcase here in Canada.

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What probably impressed me the most about Outlander’s first season was how the show’s creators manage to find two actors who were able to step into the roles of Jamie and Claire so effortlessly. I’m sure that was a concern for many fans, as we all had our own visions of Jamie and Claire, and getting the casting right was key if the show was going to get off the ground.

 

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The show’s outstanding scenery, music and the contributions from supporting cast members all came together to make Outlander’s inaugural season a huge success.

Outlander’s story is a long one as those of us who are still reading the series, it has been eight novels and the story is still not over. It’s filled with romance, adventure, and the harsh reality of living in the 18th century which includes a far amount of violence. Near the conclusion of Outlander, the first novel, readers and television viewers alike were presented with a particularly horrific act that for readers of the novel will not soon forget.

As Season 1 came to an end, we all knew what was coming as Jamie was left in the hands of Black Jack Randall in Wentworth Prison. From a pure production point of view, it was an incredibly difficult episode to pull off, the show’s creators did an amazing job. That said, I fear that there are images forever burned into my mind that I will never be able to erase! Okay, perhaps that’s being a little melodramatic, but I’m sure that there are others out there who agree with me.

After many discussions around the proverbial “water-cooler”, I think that despite the rawness of the season finale, most people that I’ve talked with will be tuning into Season 2. I know that I certainly will be, and from the looks of the first trailer for Season 2, the production values certainly appear to be of the highest quality once again. I also have a soft-spot for Dragonfly in Amber, the second novel in the series and as a history major, 18th century Paris was my favourite time period to study.

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So, the question is, will you be watching?

 

 

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#Droughtlander is Over…Finally! GUEST POST

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

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I think that for all of us who are fans of Outlander, the television series, we can all agree that the return of Outlander couldn’t have come soon enough. The second half of the series kicked off with a bang as we were brought right back to where we left off, at the garrison of Fort William where Claire was being held captive by Captain “Black Jack” Randall. This episode, named “The Reckoning”, was different from the first half of the season because there is a change in narration. The episode is told exclusively from Jamie’s point of view. It was a real treat to hear Jamie’s voice as the central focus since the novels are primarily written from Claire’s perspective. All along I’ve really enjoyed the changes that the show’s writers have made because I strongly feel like they have only served to enhance and improve on the storytelling. These changes have given a voice to the thoughts and actions of the other characters in the story. Whether it’s additional scenes, dialogue or even just a lingering focus on a character’s facial expression, the creativity of the show’s writers has filled out the story in new and wonderfully, unexpected ways.

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If you have read the book, then you are well aware that there are some traumatic events to come, and I know that I am eagerly waiting in anticipation to see how the show will deal with the developments between Claire, Jamie and of course, Captain Randall.  One sensitive issue was the spanking scene, which caused much speculation between die-hard fans.  In the book, Jamie had to deliver corporal punishment to his wife for putting all of the Mackenzie men at risk by disobeying his instructions to stay put when he left to confront a deserter from British army who might be able to help clear his name. When the Mackenzie men mounted the attack to rescue Claire from the clutches of Randall, she put everyone’s lives at risk. The show kept very close to the original plot line and I thought that both Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe did a fantastic job pulling off what must have been a difficult scene to navigate.

In Episode 10, “By The Pricking of My Thumbs”, we begin the lead up to a significant twist in the plot that changes the course for Jamie and Claire. There were some excellent scenes and dialogue added that were the perfect complement to the story, such as Dougal’s drunken meltdown upon hearing of his wife’s passing or Laoghaire’s stubborn refusal to accept Jamie’s marriage when Claire confronted her about the ill-wish. There’s also a scene where Claire stumbled upon Geilles conducting a very similar pagan ritual dance that she witnessed at Craigh na Dun the night before she disappeared from Inverness in 1945. We also finally understand how Jamie became involved in a duel, an event that does not occur in Outlander (but does happen later on in in the series). This scene had been in the previews for the second half of the season and it left me wondering how the duel actually came to be.

The episode wraps up with Claire being swept up in the drama surrounding Geilles Duncan, and so once again, Claire’s life is in peril because she didn’t listen to her husband’s advice to stay away from Geilles. Oh the would-have, should-have, could-haves that plague Claire! Even though, I’m well familiar with what is to come, I find myself waiting with great anticipation for the last half of the season to unfold.

Bitten: The TV Series – Summer Replay

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

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This review was originally posted back in January, when Bitten first aired on the Space Channel in Canada and the Syfy channel in the United States.  As the show’s storyline unfolded, I eagerly followed along, writing my reviews along the way. I’m re-posting my first review now as CTV in Canada is replaying the first season of the show which has just been renewed for a second season to air in 2015. If you haven’t caught the series yet, you can find it on CTV, Saturdays at 10:00 pm. I’m very excited for the return of this show, as it truly has become it’s own story separate from the novels, which might put some fans off, but I think it makes for an interesting re-imagining of the story.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/22/bitten-renewed-season-2_n_5373055.html

When I read that Bitten, the novel by New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong, was coming to television, I was super-excited. This is one of my all time favourite books, and when I thought about how the story unfolds, I thought that there was definitely enough plot-line to carry a season. Now that we are into the first four episodes of the show, I’m still holding out hope that the show will continue to grow and develop into something really good. For the most part, the show’s creators have done a good job with the casting and setting, although I think in my own mind, Antonio and Jeremy were older and it is difficult to get around Clay’s lack of a southern accent, but that’s just me nit-picking.

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As for the plot, my verdict is still out. There are some places where they have almost taken the story and dialogue word for word from the novel and then in other places completely changed it. I know that this is inevitable, so I’m trying to keep an open mind about those changes. One of these changes is having Logan living in the same city as Elena. In the book, Elena is on her own in Toronto and you get a real sense of her isolation and loneliness being separated from her pack. I suspect that this story change was made to demonstrate the closeness between Logan and Elena, which is really told through Elena’s reflections in the novel.

bitten-tv-showElena is living in Toronto to escape her guilt over killing a human who was threatening to expose the existence of werewolves to the world. She’s forced to make a split second decision and blames the “animal” side of her for decision to kill. Elena’s struggle to be human rather than wolf colours every choice that she makes from that point on in her life, including her attempt to leave her pack family behind for good. For the most part, this is all conveyed over the course of the first two episodes. In the first episode, you get to see the life that Elena has tried to build for herself during her self-imposed exile. She has a job, an apartment, and a live-in boyfriend, while she increasingly struggles to hide the wolf side of her.  In the second episode, you learn the history of the pack, and who is in it and the different relationship dynamics that Elena has with each of her pack brothers. By episodes three and four, the danger to the pack has escalated quite dramatically and I certainly hope that the show’s creators can build on this momentum.

Recently I read a review by Kaitlin Thomas for www.tv.com, which I thinks does an excellent job of summing up what isn’t quite right with the story-line: Kaitlin Thomas www.tv.com  Jan. 14, 2014, “there’s nothing inherently bad about Bitten. Fans of genre shows will probably enjoy the series and its mysteries just fine, especially if the story picks up as the show progresses, but overall, Bitten isn’t adding anything new to a television slate that’s slowly becoming overrun with supernatural and fantasy shows. If the series wants to make a name for itself (especially in the U.S.), it’s going to need to step up its game by developing its characters, adding more action, and giving the pack members some distinguishing characteristics and personalities. ” http://www.tv.com/m/shows/bitten-2013/community/post/bitten-series-premiere-review-summons-season-1-episode-1-138946732922/

What I think is the missing piece to the show is Elena’s narration. In the book, most of the story is from her “inside voice”, and it is that personal recount that creates context for how the other characters interact with her, as well as the fills in the story-line more fully. Although somewhat unrelated, an example of a recent excellent film adaptation of a story where the majority of the inner dialogue of the protagonist plays an important part of the movie was Warm Bodies. In this depiction R’s narration was so skillfully incorporated that the film in my opinion was better than the book.

 

I will stick with the show until the end of the season, for better or for worse, but I’m hoping that it lives up to its potential. Bitten is the first book in Armstrong’s “Otherworld” series, where each subsequent book focuses on different characters and their stories. As a fan of Clay and Elena’s story, I’ve always wanted more of it.