The author of the original Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, took to Twitter to join in the discussion. As the couple’s chemistry seemed to faulter on the latest episode of Starz’ epic saga, the writer levelled some strong words at the cast and crew after a particularly flat sex scene.
Based on Gabaldon’s series of doorstoppers, Outlander has been getting viewers hot under the collar with each new season, as time traveller Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and her beaux Jamie (Sam Heughan) forge a romance for the ages.
Early seasons were praised for their passionate scenes of physical intimacy and Caitriona and Jamie’s palpable on-screen chemistry.
Unfortunately, the current season, based on Gabaldon’s book The Fiery Cross, has cut down on sex scenes significantly, as Jamie and his militia have more pressing concerns as the American Revolution tests his loyalties.
Claire and Jamie finally reunited for a night of passion in the stables, but fans were quick to criticise their diminished sexual tension when the new episode aired on Sunday.
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Several fans took to Twitter to voice their disappointment, and lament the loss of fiery passion that made the earlier seasons so watchable.
One fan said: “The stables scene was such a disappointment…what has happened to their chemistry? Everything looked so forced and unnatural.”
Viewers taking part in the debate on Sunday were surprised when author Diana Gabaldon not only joined the discussion, but agreed with the criticisms.
Diana responded: “Bad dialogue, bad direction, bad lighting, awkward set. Actors did their level best with what they were given to work with.”
While some were surprised when the author levelled such harsh words against an adaptation of her own creation, others found her honesty refreshing.
She also defended actors Caitriona and Sam, claiming most of the blame lay with the awkward staging of the scene rather than their unenthusiastic performances.
Another fan replied: “Goodness! Never known you to have been so critical! It must be so difficult for you when your creation is portrayed in an inferior way.”
To which Diana responded: “Would y’all trust me when I say it’s good, if I don’t admit when it’s noticeably not?”
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Other authors have lost favour with their fans in the past by allegedly pretending to enjoy inferior adaptations of their original work, despite the obvious faults.
Changes have obviously been made to the series, but it’s rare for both Diana and her fans’ negative opinions to sync up so neatly after a disappointing episode.
More fans took to Twitter to suggest the season as a whole has dropped in quality.
One viewer tweeted: “For me it is the focus on Claire’s daughter & son in law. They have ZERO chemistry together & even look like they are tolerating each other.”
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They then threw some shade at actors Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin and added: “Bad casting. The show was great when it focused on Jamie & Claire.”
Claire and Jamie’s daughter Brianna enjoyed a flowery wedding ceremony with her new husband Roger in the premiere, but their limited role has so far been a let down for some fans.
As Jamie’s will is tested by Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) and the threat of the Regulators, dedicated viewers are hoping the rest of the season can step the thrills up a notch after a relatively feeble start.
Outlander season 5 continues Sundays on STARZ and follows Mondays on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
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