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CatMack

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  1. CatMack

    Casting: News & Wishlist

    Aunt Jocasta and Bonnet cast. Big fan of both actors. Spoilers for book/season 4 in the article. http://tvline.com/2017/10/11/outlander-season-4-maria-doyle-kennedy-aunt-jocasta/
  2. I feel like Voyager has a lot going on, but has the advantage that it's not all strictly speaking 100% necessary. Others may disagree of course, but I think of it like the Harry Potter books, in a way. There were whole subplots that never made it into the movies because they just weren't necessary to the main plot and while they gave info on the characters themselves and depth to the world, the story worked without them. But when it came time for the last book, there aren't really subplots, pretty much everything is directly important to the finale of the entire story the series has been building to, so they ended up splitting the book into two (a point that Hollywood seems to have missed when it keeps splitting other adaptations that really, really don't need that much room to unfold). Particularly when it comes to the voyage itself and Jamaica and the constant separating of Jamie and Claire - I think there's plenty they can cut out or at least streamline to help with pacing and not over cramming 13 episodes. It's been awhile since I read that book. There's a big enough hiatus that I may decide to read it again soon - there will be enough time for the details to fade so I won't get hung up on little things. But my predictions based on my vague remembrance of major plot points and on what I've seen Ron talk about for season 3... He seems really gungho about the ship stuff in season 3, so I honestly think the pace at the beginning will be pretty fast. I'm going to predict Claire goes back at the end of episode 1, 2 at the latest. We'll definitely get flashbacks to Jamie as they research, I think, and Claire has to set her affairs in order in the 60s - given that he plays a role later in the series I don't think they'll skip Joe. We don't have to see all of Jamie's flashbacks right away though, he and Claire both reminisce about their time apart once they reunite, there's plenty of time to fill in gaps as the series goes on, and I don't think they'll want to keep Jamie and Claire separated much longer than they have to. So I think the reunion will be in episode 3 at the latest. Back to Lallybroch and Loaghaire for episode 4, then on the water by episode 5 or 6 (I can't remember everything that happens before they set off so I don't know how long it will take to set up). Like I said I don't remember all the convoluted happenings in the second half of the book, aside from remembering I found ir convoluted, but IMO the plot points that are 100% necessary are meeting up with Lord John again, probably at least the separation where Claire goes with the sick ship, Fergus and Marsali getting married, all the stuff with Geillis, and winding up in America at the end. And like I said I expect we'll continue to get flashbacks to their 20 years apart throughout all this (heck, probably for the rest of the series if the writers think something is relevant). So that's kind of a lot but I think 7 or 8 episodes can cover it if they're on the sea by episode 5 or 6. Voyager just has so much that can be simplified IMO I'm not too worried about it, though I do think inconsistent pacing has been this shows Achilles heel so far.
  3. CatMack

    S02.E13: Dragonfly in Amber

    I think that's reading an awful lot if your own personal bias into his interview. He said in his TVLine interview that Richard and Sophie both nailed their auditions and that just like casting Sam and Cait once they saw the tapes of the actors the characters clicked for them. We've established I don't agree with a lot of people about Sophie's skills but I recognize that people have a right to their own opinions especially in things so subjective. But that doesn't mean that Ron or Gabaldon (as I saw someone in another site claim) shares the negative opinion of Sophie's talents.
  4. CatMack

    S02.E13: Dragonfly in Amber

    I may not agree with this personally but I can understand and respect this POV. It's the over the top "she's the worst she needs to be recast asap" reactions that are baffling to me. Go watch Kristin Cavillari on Veronica Mars sometime and then tell me Sophie is terrible. Hopefully she'll settle in and win people over, because I guarantee you they're not recasting.
  5. CatMack

    S02.E13: Dragonfly in Amber

    Yeah the level of hate she's getting *as an actress* is exactly what I was referring to. At the end of the day it's always going to come down to mileage varies but I really do think it's ridiculous. Like I said if y'all think Sophie is terrible than I envy you never having to watch someone who actually has no talent. And frankly the fact that the book fandom has hated Bree for decades for displaying traits that they adore in their male characters makes it hard for me to see the level of vitriol the character and actress are both receiving without raising an eyebrow.
  6. CatMack

    S02.E13: Dragonfly in Amber

    Honestly the level of hate Sophie is getting is ridiculous. Maybe it's just because I spent the last 6 months heavily involved in local community theater, but if y'all think Sophie is really "terrible" than I feel envious that you have never had to actually sit and watch someone who truly has no talent whatsoever. I'd like to address the complaints more directly but honestly I am completely baffled to the point where I don't even know what you all are talking about to try to come up with a rebuttal. The only scene that felt awkward at all to me was her very first scene, meeting Roger, and honestly for me that was 50% awkward writing and 50% the scene was supposed to be slightly awkward because they're having a meet cute and a flirt in the middle of a wake it's an inherently awkward situation. In fact I did a rewatch specifically focusing on Sophie to try to maybe see why people have such a problem with her but it just made me love her more. She has great facial expressions and other non verbal acting ticks. I already liked her in this episode and I can't wait to see her have more time to settle into the role even more.
  7. CatMack

    S02.E13: Dragonfly in Amber

    Bree is, at most, going into her sophomore year of college. Even with highly intelligent parents raising her I wouldn't expect any 20 year old who's only been to college one year to have the gravitas of a highly educated young woman. She's just barely graduated from teenager to young adult, and I think she's acting pretty age appropriate. I have no problem with Sophie's portrayal and I think Bree and Roger are adorable. I liked Bree quite a lot actually, but then in the books I get annoyed at Jamie more often than I get annoyed at Bree so I'm clearly a fandom outlier. I have to run to work but I'll probably post more thoughts later. Fast impression was excellent.
  8. It's always going to be mileage varies when it comes to adaptations. I haven't had any problems with the level of Jamie/Claire this season and it won't bother me at all if they don't adapt every intimate scene for the next episode. In fact I'd frankly prefer if the show continues to cut some of the more ridiculous sex scenes from the books (the post almost rape sex from last season being cut was good, I'd be perfectly happy if they don't have last minute shove it in her while the redcoats are nearby sex when Claire goes back, and the Jamie's back is hurt and they're stranded in a blizzard but lets have sex under this bush sex from later in the series - those are the three off the top of my head that made me roll my eyes when reading). Don't get me wrong I want intimacy and love and drama from their final moments together, but how it happened in the book isn't the only way to show that and I don't expect them to keep all the details the same. If they fail to deliver the emotion then that's a valid criticism, but if they make us feel that love and that pain and they do so in a different way than the books did, then that's just fine with me too. I'm not going to judge an episode we haven't seen yet just because we know there will be changes from the book. That being said I do find Gabaldon's post to be condescending even though I mostly agree with her stance on adaptations. But then, I often find her to be condescending and in general think her personality would clash horribly with mine were we to ever interact in real life, and that's a big part of the reason I try to avoid reading her interviews or posts, lest the series be ruined for me because I can't separate my dislike of the author from her work.
  9. They've fleshed out a lot of side characters from the books, which is why I have hopes for a lot of the upcoming side characters who were iffy in the books.
  10. The one time I liked Willoughby was at the end, when he actually acted like a real person with his own motives. Revealing he betrayed Jamie essentially because of Jamie's racism (giving him a white name, treating him with condescension and a lack of respect). It's one of the few times racism has consequences for the people perpetuating it. If they can write him as an actual person for his entire run, instead of relying on racist stereotypes for most of it, then I'm much happier with them keeping him and fixing the problems with his character, rather than cutting one of the very few non white characters from the books who actually gets to affect the story and do more than make Claire feel horrified and guilty.
  11. I roll my eyes every time I read the scene where Bree tells Jamie about the Trail of Tears and what happens to the Native Americans. Jamie and Claire tried and failed to change a big event, and he went through the loss of his culture. It's basically perfectly set up for his reaction to be sadness and horror but also resignation that there's nothing he can do. Instead his reaction is basically to shrug. Gabaldon apparently thinks empathy is anachronistic. As for how the show will translate things, I don't want them to sanitize the books, I want them to improve on Diana's shortcomings as a writer (because she does have them) and the limitations of a book format with, in the beginning at least, a limited number of POV characters (because if you're going to adapt something to another medium, use the difference in medium to do something meaningful). I don't want Mr. Willoughby cut, I want him to be written as more than a caricature and I want the racism he faces to be portrayed with nuance. I don't want Jocasta to suddenly not own a plantation, I want the black slaves to be portrayed as actual people with personalities and motives and not props for the white characters to occasionally feel guilty about when it doesn't get in the way of the plot. I want them to do more with it, not less.
  12. I have mixed feelings about her handling of slavery and Native Americans. She makes an effort, I will give her credit for that. But it's inconsistent and leads to unfortunate implications. She has a few major examples of the horrors of slavery, but then she kind of lets it fade into the background and while Jamie and Claire both disapprove of Jocasta's slave owning, that fact is the narrative by and large treats Jocasta like a "good" slave owner, wherein yes it's bad to own slaves but at least Jocasta isn't abusing her slaves left and right like those *other* slave owners. And don't even get me started on the only "major" recurring black character in the entire series being a slave who's in love with his owner. Yikes. Likewise with Native Americans, she's clearly making an effort. The fact that she acknowledges the existing and complex politics and differences between NA tribes, instead of treating them like a homogeneous group, is already way more than a lot of media bothers with, but there's still a tendency to fall back on racist stereotypes. At the end of the day part of the problem is wanting to touch on these issues for the sake of historical accuracy, but not wanting to actually spend a lot of time with any of these characters because they aren't part of the main family group. And I get it to an extent. Some media focuses on secondary and even tertiary characters quite a bit, some focuses more on a limited group of main characters. Both are valid options. But if you're only going to focus on your core group of characters and not flesh out anyone else, then maybe don't make one of your recurring locations a slave plantation. Because one of the unintended side effects of Gabaldon's refusal to spend any time or nuance fleshing out these non white characters is that people of color become props to her white characters. That is their only purpose. The slave who is injured horrifically when Claire and Jamie first arrive? What is his name, motivation, literally any fact about him? We don't know, because he's not actually a person, he's a prop so that Claire can feel the appropriate amount of horror and white guilt. That's the extent of the role black people play in the story. Native Americans fair a bit better (their part in the war has actually been acknowledged, hurray!) but not enough to avoid a lot of cringe worthy moments. As for the argument that it was the 18th century and we shouldn't view it with a modern lens, here's the problem with that - these are still modern problems. Black people face horrendous racism and by and large are still dealing with the financial and educational ramifications of generations of slavery and segregation. Native American tribes are still actively being screwed over by the government - treaties are still being broken and land that's supposed to be theirs is still being given away (not that you'd know it reading most newspapers - if we don't talk about it, it's not happening, right?). Writers should absolutely write what they want, and shouldn't gloss over the ugly parts of history, but if you're not going to actually put the work into understanding the modern implications of history you're probably going to unintentionally write some pretty racist shit. Especially if you're a white woman who doesn't have to live with those implications as part of your every day life.
  13. CatMack

    Casting: News & Wishlist

    Taking the discussion about Mr. Willoughby to the Book vs Show thread, since it's not really on topic here.
  14. There was a discussion happening in the Casting thread about Mr. Willoughby and how he'll be portrayed and how other characters act towards him. I am responding here since it was getting off topic there. Two points I want to make: As long as there has been racism there have been people willing to call it out as wrong. There were abolitionists in this time period. Making your characters behave in racist ways is a choice. It is not an apolitical truth, and acting like it is is narratively lazy. If you're going to do it, own it and own up to what that means for your characters. Historical characters not being racist is not modern PC propaganda or whatever, it is acknowledging that not everyone held the same views. If you make your hero, the person your audience is supposed to root for, a racist, you better be willing to deal with the implications of that. Jamie behaves in a racist fashion because he is a racist and instead of treating it like a big deal it's treated, by the narrative and large parts of fandom, like a minor character flaw at best and not a problem at all at worst because "that's just how everyone was" except no, not everyone. That's how racists were. There may have been more of them and society as a whole was more overtly racist then it is now, though it's still pretty damn racist, but there have always been individuals throughout history who could see injustice for what it was. That being said, my second point it the problem has never been that racism exists in the story, it's that it's treated in the most shallow and lazy way possible. You can write about racism without being racist. Gabaldon frequently fails to make this distinction, and it's not surprising considering she makes it a badge of honor to avoid being "PC". You can't treat something with nuance if you aren't willing to think about it and put effort into it, and 99% of the time that's what happens when people complain about political correctness. Mr. Willoughby isn't cringe inducing because other characters are racist towards him, he's cringe inducing because he is a shallow collective of racist asian stereotypes, which Gabaldon might have realized if she actually gave a damn about the POV of people who aren't white.
  15. CatMack

    S02.E12: The Hail Mary

    I think it's kind of unfair to assume any time a change is made it's to avoid offending the audience. Especially since not two episodes ago that assumption was made about Jamie exposing Claire to John and the writers actually confirmed they changed it because they added Claire's PTSD storyline and that gave the existing story a tone that didn't exist in the book and made what happened in the book not fit as well. Look, I like Gabaldon's writing enough that I have stuck through 8 books, and will stick through however many more she writes. But she is not a perfect writer. She makes mistakes, whether she would ever see them that way or not. A lot of people in this thread apparently had a problem with Jamie being at the wedding because it felt out of character and just plain illogical, not because it was offensive. Writers of adaptations change things. These specific writers have changed things for a number of reasons, and people are free to not like those changes, whether it's because they're book purists or just don't think it's good writing. I've certainly disliked some of their changes. But after they kept the spanking scene, one of the most controversial scene of the entire series, and devoted a full third of an episode to graphically showing Jamie's rape, I think it's ridiculous to assume the writers are afraid of offending their audience and are making changes based on trying to sanitize the book contents. This was a good episode, though not my favorite. I'm always happy when shows are willing to have slower episodes that focus more on character, because I've seen the opposite happen (shows that forget their characters in favor of plot point after plot point after plot point happening at breakneck speed without any contemplation or proper setup) and the results are terrible (*coughOnceUponATimecough* *coughthe100season3cough*). I'd rather shows air on the side of giving us too much character focus than too much fast moving plot. I do think the episode dragged just a touch, but only just a touch. There were a couple individual scenes that just seemed to last a long time, and I wish they'd shaved maybe 5 minutes off the existing episode by tightening up the editing, and then replaced those 5 minutes with...IDK, more Fergus or Rupert maybe, or more Jamie/Claire. The pacing issues were relatively minor, is what I'm trying to say, but they did keep this episode from being a favorite. I don't think Randall is as one note of a character as, say, Ramsay on Game of Thrones (that is a character who LITERALLY has no personality besides "sadist who will always do the most sadistic thing possible in any situation"), but I don't find him as interesting or complex as the writers seem to, and despite thinking Tobias Menzies is a great actor, I am glad the end is near for that character. I can handle the occasional flashback to Culloden if they keep that from the book, and I actually look forward to them hopefully keeping the flashbacks to Claire's life with Frank post time travel that show he's not a perfect saint because I think they made him look waaaaay too flawless in season 1. But I am very ready for BJR to be very dead.
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