TV News

Prepare for Historical Romance with a Sci-Fi Twist – Starz Orders Full Season of Ronald D. Moore’s Outlander

It’s been just over 23 years since the first novel in author Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series was published, but at long last it has finally become a television show.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cable network Starz has ordered 16 full episodes of a television adaptation of Outlander from Battlestar Galactica guru Ronald D. Moore.  Author Gabaldon let the news slip 3 weeks ago (as reported by Deadline.com), but it’s now been officially confirmed.  Yay!

[In a quiet whisper….Okay.  I admit it – I’m just happy to see Ronald D. Moore back.  However, I have never actually heard of these books before.  So, enlighten me – what the hell is Outlander?]

2012-07-22-outlander_series
Apparently, people still read books.  Also, is it just me or do several of these titles sound as if they could be titles to A Song of Fire and Ice books?

Outlander is a series of seven books with an eighth due out this Fall which is basically historical romance (you lost me) with a sci-fi twit (and I’m back).  In the first installment, Claire Randall is a married combat nurse in 1945 who goes on a second honeymoon with her history professor husband to Scotland where he can continue his research into his own family history.  After observing a pagan ritual being performed by the locals one day, Claire is somehow sent back in time – sans husband – to 1743 where she instantly meets her husband’s ancestor from that time.  The series charts Claire’s eventual romance with a Scottish highlander named Jamie Fraser and the subsequent travels back to the future and then to back to the past.

Here’s the obvious observation – Ronald D. Moore is a brilliant, Peabody Award-winning writer who, by his own admission, tends to just make up his stories as he goes along as opposed to following an intricately thought-out story outline.  Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, upon which Moore worked as a writer after having started his career writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation, frequently wrote itself into corners and then said “magic aliens fixed it.”

Damar_prophet
You knew they were magic because they talked through other people’s mouths and every time they were around the screen would get all fuzzy.

That was nothing, though, compared to Battlestar Galactica which consistently throughout its entire run revealed amazing new twists which actually contradicted earlier story lines thus necessitating hastily written and ultimately unsatisfying explanations.  Although, they did give us crazy new curse words:

But Outlander? There are 7 books with an 8th on the way meaning somebody else did the story outlines for him.

Moore formed his own production company, Tall Ship Productions, in 2009, and signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop shows for them through Tall Ship.  Unfortunately, every single one of the shows (a couple of westerns, a couple of sci-fi shows, and a naval military show) he had developed up until this point had failed. Charlie Jane Anders at io9.com detailed this failure to launch in 2011.  Then, in March of this year the SyFy channel bypassed the pilot stage and order 13 full episodes of Helix, about a group of Arctic scientists trying to stop the spread of a plague.  Moore is to serve as an Executive Producer on the show.  Now, Starz has picked up Outlander, upon which Moore will also serve as Executive Producer.

What does an Executive Producer do?  See our earlier article on the topic for an explanation.

It’s not entirely clear to me how involved Moore will be with either project.  It’s kind of like how ABC’s upcoming Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is thought of a Joss Whedon show even though Whedon did the pilot and is  now leaving show-running and writing duties up to Jed Whedon (his brother) and Maurissa Tancharoen (his sister-in-law).  Moore helped develop both, but will he be as involved with both as he was with BSG?  Probably not with Helix, which has Steven Maeda (Lost) as its showrunner.  Outlander?  I don’t know.  However, after being away from our television screens for far too long it’s great to see Moore have two shows to juggle as opposed to having none.

Either way, here is what Moore had to say about Outlander:

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to bring these books to life.  Diana’s created a rich and textured world filled with intriguing characters, and I believe that Starz is the perfect home for her story. I think we’ll make something that the millions of fans of these books will enjoy and recognize as Outlander.”

So, you know what this all means, right?  There is a new show about to go into production that will be largely set in 1700s Scotland.  Ginger actors  of the world unite – Ronald D. Moore wants to see your sizzle reel asap.  Also, can we start work immediately on a Outlander/Highlander crossover where Claire Randall runs into either Connor or Duncan MacLeoud?

Words – I’ve said some few.  Now, it’s your turn.  Take to the comments section if the mood strikes you just right.

[Source: via The Hollywood Reporter]

4 comments

  1. Both the Outlander books and the Battlestar Galactica tv series have been thrilling and enjoyable. I am excited to have this to look forward to.

    1. As I indicated in the post, I have to be honest that until this news broke I had never heard of the Outlander books. However, they sound pretty interesting and could make for a very interesting TV show.

      Ever since BSG went off the air there have been so many potential Ronald D. Moore shows you’d read about that ultimately went nowhere. So, it’s nice to see him on his feet again with not one but two new shows. Plus, it’s cool that Out lander and Helix are not just so different from one another but also very different than BSG meaning we don’t have to worry about carbon copies of BSG.

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