This year, I’ve been watching Outlander alongside Game of Thrones. The STARZ show is based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which is 90% historical fiction and 10% fantasy. It’s a tightly-focused character drama centering on Claire Randall, who is transported back in time to the Jacobite uprising centered around Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The advantage to Outlander is how focused it is. There are two main characters, Jamie and Claire. And that’s it. Oh sure, sometimes the show does scenes from other POVs, but it’s still just one story, as opposed to the six or seven in Game of Thrones. So for all you people hungering for in-depth politicking, drawn-out tension, and breathing room in general, go watch Outlander. The latest episode, “Prestonpans,” is a great example of the kind of battle episode that really works on TV.
Melisandre would have you believe that if an onion (or a show) is all bad, you should throw it out entirely. Samwell Tarly, though is perfectly happy to chop off the rot and enjoy the good bits of the onion. Let’s be more like Sam, when we talk about Game of Thrones. It’s not The Ultimate Television Show, but it also isn’t The Ultimate Betrayal. We move from one incredible scene to one baffling scene; great decision to questionable decision. And it’s those strong scenes that make the weak ones weaker. When you know how good this show can be -writing, directing, production – seeing it not be that good is even more disappointing/frustrating/whatever.
Alright, I think that’s enough of a spoiler shield. SPOILERS!
Fun fact: today, it’s two weeks until my birthday! I’ll be turning 23. Which means I am only three years older than A Game of Thrones. The series has been out for nearly 20 years – 20 years this August, in fact.
Tonight was a pretty big night in that 20-year-run.
Spoilers below the cut! Read at your peril! Filler text! Lorem…
Game of Thrones is far from the first show to have a cross-season cliffhanger. Way on back in the antediluvian age (1980), Dallas pushed the envelope for cross-season cliffhanger marketing with the “Who shot J.R?” craze. In the March 21 episode “A House Divided,” character J.R. Ewing was shot by an unseen assassin. The world had to wait eight whole months (can you imagine?) to find out that it was some character (who cares, right?) If you want a laugh, read this 1995 New York Times article on the effect of JR’s death fifteen years later. My favorite line:
WITH THE INCREASING use of multi-episode plot lines in one-hour dramas, producers must resolve many of them over the course of a season — but at the risk of confusing viewers who have missed several episodes.
Multi-episode plot lines? What’ll they think of next!