'Outlander' Showrunner on Finding the Real Characters in Fantastical Premises

"The common thread is: who are the characters?” Ron Moore says about creating successful television sci-fi and fantasy shows.
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Outlander showrunner Ron Moore knows a thing or two about how to draw audiences into fantastical and sci-fi worlds, having previously worked on shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Roswell, Carnivale, and Helix

The common thread is: who are the characters?” Moore tells Fast Company’s Co.Create. “In television, you don’t tune into a series every week because you love the stories. You tune in, because you love the people and want to see what happens to them each week. That’s why it’s crucial to spend all your time and resources making the characters feel like real people.”

His new show Outlander, based on the beloved and long-runningbook series by Diana Gabaldon,is a mash of genres, including time travel, historical, romance, action/adventure, and fantasy, but Moore explains that “it’s mostly about historical time periods and the people [main character Claire] encounters, with the time travel as the catalyst into the story.”

With parts taking place in both the 1700s and 1940s, Moore took care to show a visual distinction between the two periods. “The 18th century is a little more hand-held and visceral,” he says. “Claire is our audience point-of-view, so we wanted viewers to be in it with her as opposed to sitting back and watching it. I went with candle and fire light, and not worry where the shadows fell. The '40s are lit with electrical light and have a different color saturation, so when you’re cutting back and forth, you feel a disconnect between these two periods.”

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