Bringing characters to life: Outlander vs. Scorpion


Once seen, never forgotten: Beauteous Scotland. Image courtesy of jclk8888, Morguefile.

I’ve just finished a book called “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. It contains an interesting premise: A 1940s woman, Claire Beauchamp Randall, is on a honeymoon in Scotland with her husband, Frank. She visits a mysterious stone circle on a hill, touches one of the stones and is whirled back in time to 1743 Scotland.

It’s a tough introduction to that era. She immediately has to run away from people with guns and the first person she meets is Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, the ancestor and spitting image of her 1940s husband. He reveals himself to be VERY evil; let’s just put it that way without giving away too much of the plot.

So what do you do when you’re shot back in time about 200 years, you’re having problems believing that it happened at all, and you don’t know anyone to help you? Luckily, Claire adapts. Her skills as a medical professional help, as does her meeting with Jamie Fraser.

Starz has made it into a series. I’m seriously in love with the evocative opening music.

From what I’ve seen of the YouTube videos, it looks like a pretty faithful adaptation. I’d give both the book and series content an R-rating (be advised) but it is fun to see how the actors have interpreted their complex characters. I haven’t seen the series yet due to lack of time.

This is what I enjoy about watching actors bring literary characters to life. They convey so much meaning about what a character is thinking through a facial expression (even down to the way they move or don’t move their eyes) or a way of walking.

The TV show “Scorpion”, which I’ve watched lately, is even more intriguing. Walter O’Brien is a super-genius leading a group of other geniuses who rescue people in trouble. He is aided by a Homeland Security agent, almost a father figure, and a local waitress who needs help with her genius son. They are an equally complex set of characters, superbly played by the actors and actresses.

The writing for this show is amazing. I’ve only seen the pilot episode so far (it started in 2014), but I can’t wait to view the rest. I like how the characters interact with one another, plus there’s some derring-do to keep the episode lively.

For your viewing pleasure: two YouTube trailers videos of these shows, from Starz and CBS.




Filed under Writing

18 responses to “Bringing characters to life: Outlander vs. Scorpion

  1. I saw the pilot for Scorpion–it does look intriguing.

  2. I read Outlander and a few of the sequels. I loved it at the beginning and loved it less with each sequel. Scorpion, on the other hand, I enjoyed it. I don’t think it has been renewed for another season. I kind of hate the stereotypical portrayal of “genius” as socially inept and totally lacking in humanity … but the show was interesting anyway.

  3. Jaclyn

    I read the first six Outlander books, starting when I was in law school. They’re addictive for sure! I haven’t watched the series. I don’t do well with visual violence – I can skim in a book but I get very upset by seeing violence depicted on a screen. So I probably won’t watch the Starz series, although most people who have seen it seem to like it. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the book and the adaptation! (Oh, and I completely agree with you that Scotland’s beauty is unforgettable.)

  4. I’ve read the Outlander series (earliest books in the series seemed better than the later ones), but was underwhelmed by the Starz TV version. Music is nice, but really could have been done better.
    Will check out the Scorpion series.
    To me few TV /movies are as good as the books

    • It depends upon the script and the writer. I’m happy if the movie is reasonably close to the book.

      I’ve only read the first Outlander book so far. Guess I’ll have to continue to at least see if Claire makes it back to her original time period. I can’t help wondering if Jamie went into the future, too.

  5. I read the outlander books a few years ago and I like them very much. The series has begun in Germany in Mai and the film adaption is very good. Nearby the book and the characters are credible. The flogging and sex scenes are not easy for everybody 🙂

  6. I’ve been slowly catching up on the TV series. I think I am up to episode 4 now. Wife and I are enjoying it.


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