On a recent podcast about hit show Outlander, executive producer Matthew B Roberts discusses continuity issues and explains why he thinks they are less important than the overall emotional flow of the show’s narrative.
Executive Producer Matthew B Roberts is defending continuity issues in the hit series Outlander, as he explains in his podcast discussing the episode Turning Points, Episode 708.
He sheds light on the meticulous calculations that go into crafting an episode, ensuring that the transitions between time periods are seamless.
Roberts emphasizes the importance of maintaining the emotional flow, hoping to elicit a strong emotion from the audience.
He says that at times maintaining this emotional flow is more important than specific continuity issues.
The Outlander boss gives a specific example of the use of a Phil Collins song in episode seven.
In this episode of Outlander, In the Air Tonight, Collins is used during a passionate love scene between characters Roger (Richard Rankin) and Brianna (Sophie Skelton).
The scene takes place in 1980, however, the song wasn’t released until 1981.
Roberts states that hopefully viewers do not notice such details in the heat of the moment but might reflect on them later.
Roberts calls this later reflection on continuity issues as “refrigerator logic.”
He says, “Maybe when they [viewers] were getting a snack after the show… they were like hey, wait a minute. I remember Phil Collins and remember that song, I don’t remember it being out that soon.”
When these minor bumps or holes in the story occur, Roberts says they don’t distract from the overall narrative experience as the viewer is watching.
Roberts acknowledges that continuity mistakes are not uncommon in film and TV, and he parallels these issues with the imperfections of life itself.
Despite the meticulous work that goes into each episode, Roberts acknowledges that perfection is elusive, but that audience immersion in the narrative is the ultimate goal
Roberts also addresses criticism regarding the pace of Outlander episodes.
He defends the deliberate pacing, explaining that different scenes demand various speeds, likening it to racing terminology where fast corners and slow corners require appropriate handling.
Outlander returns for the second half of season seven in 2024 on Starz.