Droughtlander Survival Guide – Part 2

So you’ve rewatched Seasons 1 and 2, you have Skye Boat Song as your ring tone, Jamie as your screensaver and you’ve read all the books. What else can you do to get you through Droughtlander? I know it’s blasphemous but there ARE a few other watchable shows out there. Here are a few of my favouites:

White Queen (Stan)

Based on Phillippa Gregory’s books (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter), this lush period piece starring Rebecca Ferguson and Max Irons is set during the War of the Roses where the Yorks and the Lancasters fight over who should be King. It’s based on factual history and the tells the story of three of the main female characters during the time. The leads are good looking, the story exciting and full of intrigue, there is love, sex, and even witchcraft!

Seasons – 1 (10 episodes)

Available on DVD


Poldark (ABC)

A reboot of the popular 1970s British series, we find Ross Poldark returning home to Cornwall after fighting in the American War of Independence to find his father dead, his estate in ruins and to top it all off his lady love is now engaged to his cousin! He decides to try to make ago of his father’s mining business and in the process employs the young tomboy Demelza as a kitchen maid after saving her from a beating. As time passes, Demelza developes in to a comely lass who finally manages to snag the hunky Ross’s attention. The main drawcard to this show is the very gorgeous Aiden Turner, he of Being Human, The Hobbit (Kili the dwarf) and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones fame. His bare chested scything scene was somewhat of a sensation when the show first aired. I’m getting a little flushed just thinking about it! Watch Season 1 now – Season 2 starts on ABC soon.

Seasons – 2

Season 1 available on DVD


Game of Thrones (Foxtel)

This is the show that paved the way for epic book adaptions such as Outlander, and to which they alas must always be compared. Based on George R R Martin’s Fire and Ice book series, which it has now outpaced (come on George, get your act together!), it is based on the War of the Roses (yes the very one covered in White Queen!) in mythical lands where rival families fight for the throne. There are so many storylines that very little can happen to one character in a whole series! It can be headspinning keeping them all straight, but it’s worth the attempt. Stand-outs among the characters are of course the delicious Kit Harington as Jon Snow, the superb Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the incestuous Jaime Lannister but really the entire cast is fantastic. Keep an eye out for Black Jack Randall himself – Tobias Menzies can be seen as Edmure Tully in Seasons 3 and 6.

Seasons – 6

Seasons 1-5 available on DVD; Season 6 in November


The Musketeers (BBC)

Another retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ classic, this time we have four gorgeous, musket and sword wielding men in leather, protecting the King and Queen from forces foreign and domestic, notably the evil Cardinal Richelieu played by Doctor Who himself Peter Capaldi. This is a modernish version, the music is awesome, there is romance, intrigue and action and fabulous British accents.

Seasons – 3 (ended)

Seasons 1 & 2 available on DVD


The Last Kingdom (Netflix)

Based on Bernard Cornwell’s series “The Saxon Stories”, it is the year 1872 and young Uhtred is captured by Danish Warlord Earl Ragnar and raised as part of his family alongside fellow captive Brida. As a man he finds himself torn between worlds, wanting to regain his ancestral land, but still feeling a Dane at heart. Uhtred’s temper and inability to respect the Christian religion has him constantly at odds with his King and others. There is love, sex, and violence aplenty. A second series is due to air in 2017.

Seasons – 1 (another to come)

Available on DVD


Vikings (Netflix)

This drama was filmed for the History Channel and tells the story of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, the notorious Norse hero known for his bloody invasions of England and France. Follow Ragnar, played by Australian actor Travis Fimmel, who seriously has the most amazing blue eyes (and you must google his earlier modeling shots for Calvin Klein gulp!) and his family thorugh the politics, intrigue and bloody battles you would expect from Vikings, and the friendships, enemies, family feuds, love and sex that make the show better than the average of it’s kind. Has been renewed for a fifth season for another 20 episodes.

Seasons – 4 (10 eps Seasons 1-3; 20 eps Season 4)

Seasons 1-3 Available on DVD


And a few more:

Downton Abbey (Netflix)

Ripper Street (Stan)

Indian Summers (BBC First)

Peaky Blinders (Netflix)





It’s been a month now, although it feels like a year, and it’s been rough.  Sundays just haven’t been the same with no Outlander to look forward to.  The weeks between are no longer filled with sneak peeks, stills from the show and exciting spoilers to indulge in or avoid.  This month our favourite stars are back at work on Season 3, but there are still a good eight months at least to wait until it returns to our screens.  So how do we fill our empty days?  Here are some ideas to start you off:


Season 1 is available on DVD, with Season 2 out in the next two months. Or, in Australia, Season 1 is on Netflix, and you can buy both seasons on iTunes.




Go back to the basics and find out more than the show can convey with Diana Gabaldon’s wonderful words! And no need to stop and one or two – there are eight novels telling the story of Jamie and Claire and their family, with a 9th being written now and the possibility of a 10th after that! In addition there are a number of side-novels, novellas and short stories.





The soundtracks are available thanks to the amazing Bear McCreary. Pop them onto your iPod or into your stereo for when you are driving around or doing the housework and you will be whisked back to the Highlands in no time!





Probably not the simplest way to cure your hankering for the Frasers, but I’m sure the show has you pining for the Highlands so why not head over for a little vacation? Many companies are now offering Outlander Tours taking you to all the scenes from the show. And you ever know, you might even catch them filming!!





If you like to while away hours on Facebook and Twitter, why not join a fan group? Sam’s fans call themselves Heughan’s Heughligans, Caitriona has the Caitriots. In Australia, I have made lifetime friends through Aussie Outlanders on Facebook. We not only share news, photos and off-topic conversations but get together in our local area for regular Gatherings. Check your own area for similar groups!




In celebration of the first week on set for our favourite show, lets see what the rumour mill has dredged up for Season 3 so far!

  1. Sam and Cait will be filming Season 3 in Boston!

It is possible that some of the scenes with Claire in Boston could be filmed in the US, but none of them are really “outdoor” scenes, and could be dealt with on the sound stage. Ron Moore has stated in an interview that there will be no scenes filmed in the US this season. Season 4 though? That’s a whole nutha thing!

Truth Meter: UNLIKELY


  1. Jamie and Claire Reunion will Not Be A Pleasant One

Taken from possible synopses of Season 3 episodes appearing online (guilty!), this is a sensationalist headline referring to actual events that happen during the season, but rest assured the reunion itself will be very happy! Or Outlander fans will be after Ron Moore & Co. with pitchforks!

Truth Meter: TWISTED


  1. The Casting Process Has Begun for Young Ian and grown up Lord John Grey

Executive Producer Maril Davis herself has confirmed this one, but considering that we would expect to see John in Episode 2, and Young Ian about 6 or 7, we would expect the casting to be well on the way. There are a lot of new faces in the first few episodes so I imagine the casting people will be working overtime!  They do have a basis for Lord John’s look already, with Oscar Kennedy having played the sixteen year old version in Season 2.

Truth Meter: DEFINITE

young lord john

  1. We Will See The Battle of Culloden in Season 3

Well this is a good one. The book “Voyager” begins in the immediate aftermath of Culloden and although there are a few flashbacks, the battle itself is not really covered. After all, we know what happened, do we really need to see it in all it’s heartbreaking, bloody glory? Of course TV is far different than a book and I believe that we will need to see SOME of it. We will need to see Jamie’s final showdown with Black Jack Randall, for example. And if other characters are to perish then we will need to see them, or their bodies at least. So this rumour could indeed be true.



  1. Claire Shots Filmed in Glasgow?

Rumours have surfaced suggesting filming has secretly begun in Glasgow at the now-closed Victoria Infirmary building in the city. The fact that Outlander is filming there appears to be factual, although it is more likely they were merely scouting and creating the sets ready for filming. What could they be filming? The obvious choice would be Claire’s flashbacks to being a surgeon in Boston.



  1. Claire and Jamie to Fight Over Lord John Grey

Book readers are well aware of the very special friendship that Jamie and John Grey develop over the years, and of the kiss. Although Claire likes John when she first meets him, any friendship is scarred by her discovery of his love for Jamie and their shared past. In future books, she never really gets over this rivalry she feels for John, despite the interesting twists and turns their own relationship goes through during the later books. Nevertheless, she and Jamie don’t fight in “Voyager” over John. Claire accepts Jamie’s explanation. They DO fight over Laoghaire and that’s where this rumour seems to originate. One report refers to “Jamie’s naughty activities during their time apart”. Jamie and Claire were separated for 20 years and as we book readers know, he didn’t get up to too much naughty business at all! If this turn out to be true it will be the writers’ invention and a lot of fans will NOT be happy!

Truth Meter: WE HOPE NOT!

 Jamie and Claire 3

  1. More Emmy Nominations Next Year Thanks to Game of Thrones’ Ineligibility?

With the announcement that the next season of Game of Thrones will not air until the US Summer 2017, came this headline. With Downton Abbey also now out of the mix, entertainment website Golderby believes Outlander could be in with a chance. It has noted however that out of the 23 nominations GoT received this year, there were none for Best Actress or Best Actor so their omission will probably not have an affect on Sam and Cait’s chances. They do state, however, that with Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage out of the race, it leaves a slot open that could be filled by Tobias Menzies. So is this likely to be true? Well Tobias had few scenes in Season 2 and that will continue in Season 3. Black Jack’s only probable scene will be his death, and that could be a big one. Frank will appear in Flashbacks to Claire’s life in the 50s and 60s. In the book these are few and far between, but the content is dramatic and no doubt Tobias will make a meal of them as he always does. Will these few scenes be enough to sway the voters that he is a Supporting Actor ,considering Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage appear in every episode of GoT? One category we could hope for is Best Drama Series and in the end, that is the one we would really like to get! In a recent interview, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht stated his belief that, in his experience with the inner workings of the Emmy voting system, it is not a level playing field and Outlander will never be recognised by Emmy voters. Let’s hope he’s wrong. But is Golderby right? We will have to wait and see.

Truth Meter: WE HOPE SO!

Emmy Poster

  1. That Persistent Rumour

Like all good shows featuring two romantic leads with amazing chemistry, Outlander has been the focus of dating rumours regarding it’s lead actors and they have resurfaced again this week. Sam, Caitriona and other members of the Outlander extended family have denied this repeatedly. A bit of speculation never hurt a show and it is a ploy that has been used by Hollywood since the silent movie days to create buzz and publicity. Obviously Sam and Cait are great friends, as they have said time and time again. Creating a show like Outlander, where they are isolated from the world for great chunks of time, playing a loving couple and explicit sex scenes, one would expect their level of trust and intimacy (in a friendship way) would be very strong. A lof of fans get very upset that this question should even be asked, as it is an invasion of privacy, but unfortunately actors know this going in since they are seeking success in their field, and this sort of speculation is par for the course. Both stars have always indulged in a bit of teasing at events, panels, red carpets and on Twitter, and both like to keep their private lives private. And co-workers DO date and actors DO pair up (Kit Harington and Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones; Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin of True Blood for example). Rumours are STILL abounding that Friends stars Courtney Cox and Matthew Perry, whose characters Monica and Chandler were married on the show, are now dating, years after the show ended. And why not? Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who were a couple on That Seventies Show, are now married and expecting their second baby! The problem with these particular rumours about Sam and Cait is it feeds into the fantasy of the group of sad individuals who spend their day searching for evidence and hassling the stars involved (and even their friends and romantic partners) in some crazed attempt to make their belief a reality. Sort of like the Outlander fan version of a religious extremist. This applies to both the group of crazies who believe there is a giant cover up and conspiracy, and Sam and Cait really are a couple, and to the so-called “truthers” (and I hate to use these ridiculous terms) who spend the same amount of time and intrusive tactics to prove them wrong. Twitter has become a cess-pit boiling over with this putrid sludge that does nothing except make the majority of us uncomfortable and sad for the actors and other Outlanders, and for our fandom in general. So now, even in the general fandom, even the light-hearted fan who ventures to innocently comment “they’d make such a beautiful couple” is now painted with the rabid “shipper” brush and the other fans then become over-protective and attack them. It has all become too embarrassing and although we are not the only fandom to suffer this fate, one would expect a show with a more mature fanbase would not have become so riddled with this cancer. In the end, it is a small (but very vocal) minority, and most of us just sit back and ignore it, shaking our head with a heavy sigh. Lets hope it doesn’t leech all the fun out of the fandom and our interactions with the stars.

Truth Meter: NON-ISSUE




My 13yo son, the Budding Spielberg, recently put me onto the new Netflix series, Stranger Things. With Droughtlander in full swing, the Olympics leeching all the good TV shows from our screens for a couple of weeks at least, and the US Fall programming still a month away at least, I thought I’d give it a try. I absolutely loved it, and down there vv are my ten reasons why (in no particular order).

If you haven’t watched it, proceed with caution as spoilers await ye.  Head straight to Netflix, do not pass go, do not collect any cash.  Then head back to check it out!


I was 20 in 1983 when the show was set and every outfit from the high-waisted crotch-squeezing jeans to the long skirts, cream tights, frilly blouses and sweaters were shudderingly familiar. I think I had these glasses. (Don’t tell anyone.)



Winona’s almost-mullet, Mike and Nancy’s Mother’s classic flip and Barb’s Lady Di-inspired do were all spectacularly outshone by Steve’s gravity defying coiffure. I was mesermised the whole time it was on a screen. I kept wanting to spit on my hand and flatten it down….



The soundtrack is awesome – the music on the radio, in the background– I am right back in my green Chrysler, windows wound down, my favourite mixtape in the tapedeck blaring in state-of-the-art Stereo! But the throbbing synthesized theme music is pure genius. I’d look up, surprised I was still in 2016…..  Sit back and chill out to The Clash, Jefferson Airplane and Toto on the Stranger Things playlist:



The creators used an old Stephen King novel mock up cover to choose their font and it works! This is exactly the sort of thing I would have read back then, and is reminiscent of movies and TV of the day.



Before her sticky fingers and blurry CCTV shoplifting videos, Winona was a quirky young actress and star of some of my favourite flicks – Beetlejuice (1988), Heathers (1990), Mermaids (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1991). Along with Matthew Modine, himself a popular face of the 80s and 90s, she adds retro cred to the show all on her own.


Winona Ryder (as Lydia Deetz)



Come on. Anyone who’s seen the Rob Reiner/Stephen King classic Stand By Me (1987) had to have jumped up and down a little when they saw this. Go Duffer Brothers!



As a Stephen King fan, the character of Eleven met all my geeky horror supernatural requirements. Awesomely played by 14 year old Millie Bobby Brown, whose three year acting career has been jam-packed with great performances, she owes a lot to her ancestors – Drew Barrymore in Firestarter, Sissy Spacek in Carrie.  In fact, all the kids are fantastic, so much so that apparently the characters were created around them.



Oh yeah, I’m seeing the Star Wars comparisons here and I love it!



Most awesome explanation of an alternate reality. As I am writing a novel with an parallel universe as we speak, I had a little bit of a nerdgasm.   And I just found out that I can get this on a t-shirt so as soon as I have finished this I’m going online shopping!



I love a success story and these guys were the AV nerds at school and now they are just super cool. Even Stephen King is a fan, and when he tweeted how much he loved the show, they almost cried! It was knocked back by 15-20 networks before they made a deal with Netflix. So there’s hope for everyone if they keep trying, even my little Speilberg.


I could add heaps more to this – Kids on Bikes (I mean who doesn’t like a movie about kids on bikes?  ET, The Goonies, Earth to Echo), the seriously most epic monster (already spawning spectacular fan art much to the Duffer Brothers’ delight!), the wall phone (ours was powder blue), the scene with little Holly at the wall, the wall/xmas lights ouija board…..

Stranger Things

So if you’re looking for some stellar entertainment and you have eight hours to spare, sit down with the family and enjoy Stranger Things, now streaming on Netflix.




It’s a beautiful winter’s day here. The sun is shining through the windows and warming up the very clean floors. While I was having a lovely Sunday lie-in this morning, my wonderful husband got up and vacuumed and steam-mopped all the living, dining and kitchen area. He moved all the furniture and cleaned under them as well. So I made pancakes, because they all love them and we haven’t had them for a while. The reason the floor really needed a good clean is due to our newest family member. Adding to our menagerie of two elderly beagles (Boo and Obi), our 2yo Siberian cat Milly, our Eastern Bearded Dragon Norbert, Samurai Fighting Fish Bilbo and our two nesting lovebirds Peach and Mango, we have recently welcomed Audrey, the Miniature Dachshund puppy. Audrey, who has recently completed puppy training and can sit, stay, drop, roll over and shake hands, is alas not toilet trained because her Mummy, my 19yo daughter, has no idea where to start with it. Therefore we are on the constant lookout for puddles and poops and sometimes the house smells like a puppy toilet. Nevertheless, she is quite adorable and she also has a purpose. She will be trained as a therapy dog to help her Mummy with her anxiety, depression and OCD. In the meantime, she has brought her a lot of love and joy, and for that we are quite thankful.



I’m also at a loss tonight because no more Outlander on Sunday nights, after that amazing Finale last week! So now we are officially in Droughtlander! It has been a long week for me, sick on the couch and bored. So bored, in fact, that I actually broke up the next book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series – Voyager – into possible episodes for Season 3, just for fun. I learned something important from that exercise. I re-read these books regularly and I do not skip a single word. They are a luxurious read full of lushly drawn characters, incredible world-building and tangled plots. Pages upon pages are spent on descriptions of the scenery, the weather, the sights, smells and feel of a place, taking the blank canvas of the reader’s imagination and painting a detailed picture. More pages are expended on the thoughts of the character in whose POV she is writing at that time, until you feel that you are inside their head, that you know that person intimately. Conversations are peppered with descriptions of the tone of voice, the facial expression, the actions of the character. It creates a visual in the reader’s head, unique to each of us. But when predicting what might be included in each episode I realized that the scenic descriptions that take pages upon pages can be achieved by the sets and locations where the scene is filmed and they are absorbed in a simple glance (thanks to the Emmy Nominated Jon Gary Steele and team). Those thoughts that are so wordy in the book, are dealt with using voiceover, facial expression and added diaglogue. The dialogue itself can take page upon page but takes little time at all when performed by the talented cast. And so, the perception that there is too much in the books to include in a show is too simple a concept, and the end result is that I not only deeply appreciate the incredible storytelling of my favourite author, but also the phenomenal talent it has taken to bring it to life on the screen. What an enormous job! And they have done it so well.

OL FINALE(Copyright Starz)