Year in Review: Our Staff’s Favorite Outlander Posts of 2017
A note from editors Ashley Crawley and Janet Reynolds:
We here at Outlander Cast are preparing our farewells to 2017 in likely the same manner as you. Yes, we’ve made plenty of time to eat, drink and be merry with our family and friends this holiday season. We’ve also balanced out all that family togetherness by sneaking off for that rare moment of solitude, one that we all likely devote to the same thing—Outlander. But we’ve also been reflecting back on the year that was, and all that’s in store for 2018.
It’s been a magical year at Outlander Cast—we finally got to enjoy the third season of our favorite show, added thousands of new members to our Outlander Cast Clan Gathering Facebook group, launched a new website, covered the red carpet of the Entertainment Weekly premiere of Season 3, attended numerous fan conventions (and even hosted some of our own), and so much more! From cast and crew interviews and live minute-by-minute recaps to thoughtful explorations of Season 3 themes, a series thanking the unsung heroes of the Outlander cast and crew and first-person experiences from fan events—whew! We’ve stayed mighty busy—just how we like it!
Before we say hello to 2018 (and a Season 4!), we wanted to take a focused look at the more than 100 posts we brought to you this year. Our staff did the impossible and picked their favorite—whether it was one they wrote or not. Their choices will have you re-visiting some of your all-time favorite posts or discovering new ones. Now, enjoy this ”best of the best” in the words of our talented staff…
Mary Larsen, Outlander Cast Host
FAITH, HOPE, AND LOSS: REFLECTIONS ON MISCARRIAGE THROUGH OUTLANDER’S FAITH
I’m at an age where many of my friends are currently pregnant, trying to get pregnant, grieving a miscarriage or are coming to grips with infertility. And Nikki’s post about her struggles helped shed so much light on miscarriage and loss because this subject matter isn’t always discussed in our society today. Of course, I understand why—it’s an incredibly hard and heartbreaking conversation. This post, with Nikki’s eyes, through the lens of Outlander, not only brings thats conversation to light, but it makes it real for all of our readers. And it treats the subject matter with the utmost respect and feeling that it deserves.
What really hit me about it is that as soon as I was done reading it, I involuntarily went up to my kids and hugged them. That’s when you know writing is great, when you leave the blog with lasting effects and emotionally gripping results.
Blake Larsen, Outlander Cast Host
OUTLANDISH THEORY: WILL RON D. MOORE STEP DOWN AS SHOWRUNNER?
Ok, yes, this is my article and I AM that vain. 🙂 My mantra with this blog has ALWAYS been “engagement, engagement, engagement.” My other mantra has been “there is no bad publicity.” And THIS article exemplified both the best and worst of those mantras. It doesn’t hurt that the latest news of Ron Moore taking the showrunner job of his new show for Apple is helping prove my Outlandish theory to be that much more correct either. Nevertheless, when this article was published, it caused a slightly big stir. People hated it. People LOVED it. People actually believed I had a scoop on RDM’s career.
Yes, I’m also proud of the research I did put in, and also some of the outside-of-the-box thinking that it took to reach some of the conclusions. Plus, I always enjoy writing about the business of television.
But what mattered most is that it got people talking, and talking, and talking. We had direct reactions from Terry Dresbach, Lynette Rice, indirect reactions from Ron Moore, and the reader engagement was through the roof. I had to quit Twitter officially because of this post—haha! But also, true story.
The more that people read, the more that the phrase “Outlander Cast” was on people’s tongues and that was what mattered so deeply to me. Beause, ultimately, this post helped me realize that everyone on the OC staff has worked so hard, and the fruits of that work had come to bear. People really reacted viscerally to this post and it actually mattered. It showed me that what we write here as a staff truly carries weight in the Outlander verse. Because if it didn’t, no one would have cared about my stupid Outlandish Theory.
So, we as a blog have a foothold in the Outlander psyche, and this post proves it. We have worked hard to get it, and we’ve earned it. I am so proud of it, but more importantly, I’m even more proud of the writers and our editors for doing everything within their power to help make that effect happen over the past year.
To read more posts by Blake, go here.
Ashley Crawley, Editor-in-Chief
DEAR OUTLANDER CREW: THANK YOU TONI GRAPHIA AND MATTHEW B. ROBERTS FOR THAT DYLAN SONG
As one of the editors for Outlander Cast, trying to pick a favorite really is as cruel as trying to pick your favorite child. Janet and I have the wonderful opportunity to work with the talented team of writers on each and every single post dreamed up, written and published on this site. Because of this, they ALL feel like my babies—and my favorite! Some might say we already live in a world where everyone gets a trophy, so I’ll try my best to spare you that approach here and just note that I am incredibly proud of and inspired by my fellow colleagues and humbled to serve as an editor who helps bring their work to life.
But I like to write, too! I get immense, snarky joy in bringing you the weekly minute-by-minute recaps for each episode—especially when I get to do them alongside Nikki, who makes me look so much better than I actually am. But on a last-minute whim, I ended up writing a thank you post to Matt Roberts and Toni Graphia for something I never imagined thanking them (and not Bear McCreary) for—their choice of music. Episode 4, “Of Lost Things,” ended with an emotional sucker punch for me thanks to that dynamic duo’s choice to include a cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.” I’ve always had an old soul when it comes to music (Dylan is, indeed, a favorite) and been an easy target for a well-placed montage set to powerful music. I just never fathomed falling prey to one during my favorite show, which happens to be a historical drama. So to get to use the words “Outlander” and “Bob Dylan” in the same sentence was a wonderfully unexpected moment of kismet—often the best kind. The Walk Off The Earth cover is now in the daily rotation of my commute playlist and I can’t listen without thinking of Claire glaring out that plane window or Jamie riding off solemnly on that horse. And I hope my tiny nod of thanks validated the bold, but appreciated choice Matt and Toni made.
To read more posts by Ashley, go here.
Janet Reynolds, Associate Editor
BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT: THE USE OF BREATH IN “THE BATTLE JOINED”
As a career journalist, I love getting a good interview for the blog. Our top grab was by our colleague, Jayne Coleman, who interviewed Diana Gabaldon herself when she visited Africa. WOW! I may never get over my envy. 🙂 But of the interviews I did this year, talking to Davina Porter, the voice for Outlander audio books topped my list. Absolutely delightful woman who lives, I kid you not, on Fraser Road.
Of the posts where I just took an idea and ran with it, I pick the one I wrote on the first episode of Season 3 and Sam Heughan’s gut-wrenching, mostly wordless performance. He was indeed a ghost of himself and it set the tone for the quality of his acting for the whole season.
To read more posts by Janet, go here.
Anne Gavin, News Editor & Senior Writer
FREEDOM & WHISKY – THE *REAL* STORY BEHIND OUTLANDER’S EPISODE 3.05 TITLE
It was REALLY hard for me to come up with my absolute fave contribution to the Outlander Cast Blog this year. Because, every_single_post I write is a joy and even more when it is shared and commented on by all of our fabulous readers around the world. So many wonderful memories in posts I shared about my second trip to Scotland in 2017 as part of the “Scotland Diaries.” I loved the feedback received from all those posts and knowing that I may have helped plan others’ trips to some of the amazing places I visited in bonnie Scotland. Which brings me to my favorite post (if I must choose) and that is the post I wrote after Episode 3.05 aired (“Freedom and Whisky”) titled “The Real Story Behind Outlander Episode 3.05’s Title.”
A big part of what draws me to Outlander is that—for the most part—the story is set in Scotland. Since I started reading and watching Outlander, I have made two trips to Scotland and am planning a third in Spring 2018. The country has captivated me. But, more importantly, the history of this place is endlessly fascinating and sparked something deep inside that makes me want to explore all facets of Scotland’s complicated and nuanced past. When I can combine my interest and love for Scottish history with Outlander, then all the better. In my post, I explored how the brilliant Diana Gabaldon and equally brilliant writers at Outlander, were able to weave a very famous Robert Burns poem into the story of how Claire came to find Jamie once again. It’s a lovely tribute to the bard but also to a time in Scottish history that further illuminates the still ongoing strife between the English and the Scots. Episode 3.05 is one of my favorite episodes of Season 3, so it’s fitting that the post I wrote about it remains one of my favorite things published on Outlander Cast in 2017! Sláinte!
To read more posts by Anne, go here.
Nikki Gastineau, Staff Writer
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE VASE AND OTHER OUTLANDER LIFE LESSONS
Where has the time gone and how is it possible that I’m contributing to my second year-end post? It seems like only yesterday when I was flipping through the channels waiting for the moving van to arrive and I stumbled upon Outlander. It was my very own through the stones moment and, not unlike Claire, I’ve had one unforeseen adventure after another. Also, like Claire, I found a clan (all ya’ll) who took me in and made me one of their own and that means the world to me. Luckily I’ve not had to repair any dislocated shoulders or found myself at the center of a witch trial—not yet anyway.
Because the year has been filled with so many Outlander-related adventures, it’s tough to pick a favorite. My recaps with Ashley have by far been the most fun posts to write because, for two of them, we got to sit in the same room and take turns cracking each other up whilst watching the episode (much to the chagrin of our fellow OC staffers). The post that meant the most to me from an emotional point of view is “It’s Not About the Vase and Other Outlander Life Lessons” because it cuts to the heart of why I love Outlander. I’ve had so many moments reading the books and watching the show where I was able to strip away the elements of fantasy, fiction and costume and focus on the relationships, the struggles, the joys and the sorrows that are as relevant today as they were in 1743 or 1948. Finding these little nuggets of inspiration tucked inside a historical drama (or is it science fiction or romance?) are what keep me coming back to Diana Gabaldon’s story and her characters again and again.
To read more posts by Nikki, go here.
Holly Richter-White, Senior Writer
BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT: THE USE OF BREATH IN “THE BATTLE JOINED”
Too funny, but I realize now that this is more my “ode to Janet Reynolds” than anything else. I picked two things of which she was a major part.
First, I LOVED the recognition we received from STARZ, which got us our most-watched red carpet interviews with Sam and Cait. And we knocked it out the park! It was she who appeared calm, cool and collected when asking our questions! (Propped up by our editor-in-chief, Ashley). She offered interesting questions which captured WHO THEY ARE—no one else did that! It made me, and a whole lotta fans, realize that there’s a huge GAP in the thoughtful, engaging aspects fans yearn to know AND the bubble-gum questions/games interviewers are asking.
Second, for me, as a screenwriter, I had hoped every Season 3 episode would build on the brilliance of the first, written by Ron D. Moore. Some came close, but nothing captivated me the same way as Episode 3.01. Originally, I had wished it to be told linearly to capture the battle in its short entirety with the no-quarter order by the wicked Cumberland. But I realized afterwards, and with the help of Janet’s post on the simple use of breath, that it was only through the use of flashbacks, which enabled it to be a character story, not a battle story—and this more than filled my #droughtlander void.
“Outlander fans expecting the full-on screams and gun shots of battle after the last strains of the “Skye Boat Song” died away instead were met in the opening episode of Season 3 with silence. Utter, breathtaking, heart-wrenching silence. As the camera scrolled past the body parts and dead men piled up like so many rag dolls in an abandoned heap, the only sound—and a faint one at that—was that of the wind. It was so eerily quiet, in fact, that when a Redcoat soldier carelessly tossed a flag on a cart, it pierced like cannon shot, its contrast to the void was that startling.”
And of course, many kudos to Caitriona’s acting skills, but this episode won me over to Sam. Turns out, when given the same type of emotionally vulnerable material (and not edited out—hint to an upcoming article), he is able to emote similarly to his much awarded co-star.
To read more posts by Holly, go here.
Denise Stewart, Senior Writer
THE CLAIRE DEBATE: IS CLAIRE A BAD MOTHER FOR CHOOSING JAMIE OVER BREE? (and more!)
First of all, it’s so difficult to think that a year has gone by, but here we are! When asked to pick a favorite piece, how does one do it? I mean it’s lik
e picking your favorite child, or niece/nephew (if choosing another writer’s post). So, I am taking the liberty of throwing a few titles out there for all of you to go back and enjoy. I had the pleasure of spending a cold, rainy afternoon in May smack in the middle of the Pittsburgh suburbs at Hartwood Acres for an Outlander event. It was a great time, and the weather even cooperated with us to give us the full Scotland experience. The attention to detail was beyond my imagination! Have a look back at the event and look for some gatherings that may be in your own backyard. There is something about sharing even a few hours with others who share your own love of Outlander.
I also look forward to the live minute-by-minute recaps done by Ashley and Nikki. They are great posts to accompany the second, third, etc. viewing of our favorite show!
Finally, the most emotional post for me to write this year was a collaboration I did with Janet. After the publishing of “The Claire Debate: Is Claire a Bad Mother for Choosing Jamie Over Bree?” there was much engagement with so many within the Clan Gathering and beyond. The greatest part of that was the reaction from those who know us as to which of us took which side! It is very invigorating to see the interaction between so many readers knowing that there is no right or wrong answer to that question. Ultimately, our decisions are our own, as was Claire’s. I have enjoyed sharing this year of, first, no Outlander and, then, Season 3 with all of you immensely! Here’s to a shorter Droughtlander in 2018!
To read more posts by Denise, go here.
Teddie Potter, Staff Writer
I STAND WITH CLAIRE: WHY OUTLANDER FANS NEED TO CUT CLAIRE A BREAK
Courageous Claire wins my heart every time, on the page or on screen. The title of this piece may mislead the reader to think that sides must be taken. Not so; Claire’s orbit intersects the paths of both Frank and Jamie, and cosmic stuff ensues. Go, Claire!
To read more posts by Teddie, go here.
Jayne Coleman, Staff Writer
OUTLANDER CAST BLOG EXCLUSIVE: AN INTERVIEW WITH DIANA GABALDON IN SOUTH AFRICA
It’s been a hell of a year personally as I lost both my parents within six weeks of each other. But, the highlight for 2017 has to be the opportunity I had to interview Diana Gabaldon. It was scary, nerve-wracking, intense—Oh My God, I’m talking to Diana Gabaldon!!!—but at the same time, it was also funny, intriguing, challenging and enjoyable. In fact, all the things I’ve felt reading her books. It came out of the blue when I had really given up hope and I had 24 hours to prep. I’ve learned in 2017 that the unexpected can happen at any time, both good and bad. The other thing I learned this year was how kind and caring most people are. When you need them, they step up and help out. A very big thank you to Mary and Blake for the chance to go to Cape Town and their generous support in so many other ways. Anne, Ashley, Janet—you ladies are superstars. The rest of the Outlander Cast team—every quirky, interesting and talented one—have become part of my extended family and support network. Sláinte mhath!
To read more posts by Jayne, go here.
A WALK IN THE WOODS: ONTO THE TRAIL OF OUTLANDER SEASON 4 FILMING
To read more posts by Andrée, go here.
THE MEANING BEHIND OUTLANDER’S SIGNS AND SYMBOLS
My fave 2017 post was one by guest blogger Laura Miller. The iconic A. Malcolm “Print Shop” sign is packed with symbolism and Laura did an exceptional job of identifying and explaining it all. Some of the symbols are personally meaningful to me, particularly the Freemason’s square and compass because my Dad and other family members are Masons. Thank you, Laura, for this post!
A final note from the entire team: Most importantly, we want to thank YOU for your loyal readership (and listener-ship, via the podcast) throughout this past year. Like you, we are just fans who love (LOVE!) to gab about our shared obsession and greatly appreciate you nestling in our safe, humble corner of this giant Outlander universe to gab right along with us. We raise a glass and offer a cheers to you and yours for a very healthy and happy 2018!