For today’s Outlander feature, why not write about the long game for a minute? How long could a series like this last on Starz?
From the very moment that the network first ordered the series, they knew that this would be an ambitious prospect; the Diana Gabaldon source material is layered and rich, and it’s not something that you can do a rush job on. There easily would be enough material for more than 13-16 episodes a season, and the producers / writers are condensing as it is and working to adapt the writing as best they can. The idea of cramming more than one book into a single season feels challenging, if not impossible without sacrificing key story points. It’s the same thing that applies to almost any adaptation of intricate material.
As many book readers now, Gabaldon is currently plotting her book series starring Jamie and Claire Fraser to end after the upcoming tenth novel. (The ninth one is the next one up for release.) If the current trend holds, ten novels equals ten seasons. Is it possible for Outlander to run for ten years? It’s a wonderful thought, though there may be a wide array of challenges associated with it.
For one, consider the longevity of many other premium cable series. It appears as though Game of Thrones will make it to season 8, and the same goes for Homeland. This is a milestone reached previously by Dexter, Weeds, and not many other shows within this format. The Sopranos only made it to six seasons, whereas The Wire made it to five. The trend for most cable shows is to come up with a definite end date and not run the story too long. Series often get more expensive as time goes by, and with lengthy production cycles every season, doing this much intensive work is often exhausting for the cast and crew to do, especially at the current pace. (Especially think in terms of the travel and location work.)
While it would be rare and in many ways a milestone, there are still scenarios in which one can envision Outlander making it to season 10. One of which is allowing for some longer breaks between seasons for the cast and crew to relax and do other things. As the characters age up, this also does make some sense for the actors to do the same. Another is if the show continues to draw such critical acclaim and new viewers every time. If everyone involved loves making the show and it’s turning nice profits, there’s no reason for it to stop. The writers are obviously going to want to craft a worthy conclusion to the story, so the hope with that would be to see the whole series through. If that doesn’t happen, there will probably be some other workaround to get to a desired end and you can imagine the TV characters’ future from that point.
For now, Starz has Outlander renewed through season 4. It wouldn’t be a shock if they ordered a season 5 at some point following season 3 airing and with season 4 in production. The early renewals for this show enable the writers to start assembling a new room early, and it gives location scouts all of the time that they need.
Ultimately, this entire piece is an exercise in getting far too ahead of ourselves. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting idea to think about, and ten seasons of a story this epic is a thought to smile over.
How long do you foresee a series like Outlander running? Sound off in the attached comments now!
Meanwhile, be sure to visit the link here in the event you are so inclined as to get some other insight when it comes to the show. (Photo: Starz.)