Saturday, March 12, 2016

Outlander (2014 TV show) + books vs. video?

What to say? What to say about a show that has overwhelmed me. Overwhelmed me with grand storytelling at its best. I've read great books, read this book. Loved it, lived it, felt it. But in this era of great television shows, great productions of unsurpassed quality in all facets, in this era, the show has actually surpassed the book! I didn't think I'd ever say that! It made me live and feel an experience greater than the book. I'm... hmm.. almost bewildered to realize that?! I'm hesitant to say that. Why? I think coz books have been the paragon of all entertainment for me. Nothing came close to rivaling that experience. Especially longer books... they sucked you into a world, a life, and you got to learn and feel it all!! You can get so fully immersed, it was the ultimate entertainment, the ultimate experience.

So I've read many, many great novels. Had so many, many great experiences. But what's always been so wonderful about books is that there are so many, and hence there are a lot that I love and enjoy sooo much!! As a lover of sci-fi/fantasy/historical genres I was ever grateful to how many great novels there were. But when it came to genre movies and TV shows... I gotta say... almost all were always so disappointing. :( I think partly coz movies were the only ones with enough budget to tackle genre stories and 1.5-3h is frankly never enough to tackle a 500-1000 page book! There is no way to do it anything resembling justice!! And although there is original content being made for movies, content that fits the scope, it's rare.

But now we have high production value TV shows. And they are beginning to rival the experience a book can give you. I once realized that one way a movie or show can be better than a book is the soundtrack! Music adds sooo much to the experience! And Bear McCreary is an amazing composer!! He has done sooo many great genre TV shows! I first noticed him on the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, loved it and since have loved his work on Black Sails and now Outlander!

So now after watching Outlander... I wonder if live action video is by nature a better experience than books? Up until this show I would never have said so, but I'm now realizing that was coz there were so many unequal aspects of the two media, length of time the viewer/reader spent was the biggest. The ability (and budget) to tell the scale of story found in books, especially genre ones. And those two aspects have only recently changed! TV shows, at 16 hours long for Outlander, can start to approach the time needed to give you a similar experience as the book. And TV shows now have higher production value so can tell those genre stories. And enough budget and commitment from producers to make sure the writing and acting is fantastic!

So with some of those things being equal, can you get more immersed in a good show vs. a good book? In this case, for me, yeah! The book was amazing but not the greatest I've read. So it was a great but not mind-blowing experience. This show was mind-blowingly awesome! It's funny... for me it's always been "that's a good story for a movie" or "that's a good story for a show". Having to give concessions for the medium, but always comparing it to books, and having movies and shows fall short. I think coz of length of time, movies will always fail to compare favorably to books. But like short stories, length doesn't stop movies from being great in their own right. (Just watched Sicario... that was beyond amazing!!!)

So I bid au revoir to Outlander and some of the most amazing 16h of my life spent! :) I loved watching Jamie and Claire. Jamie was so perfectly cast, Claire I had some reservations about (she's so much more waif-ish then I pictured) but grew to like her too. But one thing that was again different than the book... I really loved the other characters!! And I'm gonna miss them so much!! Coz although the they're making a 2nd season, we're leaving Scotland behind and all the awesomes like Dougal MacKenzie (damn he was cool!), and Rupert & Angus (what a hilarious pair!). And Tobias Menzies... man was he impressive!! I've seen him in other stuff (most recently Game of Thrones) and I would never have pictured him doing such a terrific portrayal of such an evil beast of a man like Jack Randall!

And I'm just so glad shows are now becoming a full 60 minutes and not edited for commercial breaks. I'm rewatching Buffy right now and realize how jarring commercial breaks are even when you watch the DVD and how they reduce the immersion you can experience! I started noticing that with Brit shows.. that 60 minutes felt like a feature film sometimes!

Ok enough for now! Outlander I will miss you. Hoping next season will be as good! Although it'll be missing one aspect I loved the most... gorgeous shots of the beauty of Scotland!! I enjoy the setting of some shows almost equal to the other aspects! Anyways. Farewell.