Archive | 10:00 AM

Books as Movies or TV Shows: A Debate

15 Feb

My posts this week have really focused on books being turned into movies and TV shows. Books being made into TV shows is a more recent phenomenon that I’m getting on board with. Obviously, Game of Thrones has been wildly successful. I’m also a fan of other series such as Z and The Man in the High Castle on Amazon and I’ve heard good things about The Handmaid’s Tale and the BBC adaptations of the Cormoran Strike novels. Since the way we’re watching TV is changing, the way books are turned into a visual medium is changing, too.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the first book to be turned into two movies. This was followed by Breaking Dawn and Mockingjay and I’m sure many others. It seems obvious that the reason for this was to give more of the book’s content time to come to the screen, an effort to keep more of what readers loved and turn it into more for movie-only fans to love. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a nice cash-grab for the studio as well!

TV shows are taking that even further. Instead of one of George R.R. Martin’s massive books being squeezed into one 120-minute movie or even two, we get ten episodes, 600 minutes, in the first season. Some series have had to go beyond what’s in the novel (The Man in the High Castle is a prime example) because fans are asking for more content than the book provided. Now, instead of cutting material, the problem is adding it.

Either way, we’re never going to get a page-for-page, line-for-line adaptation of a book to a movie or TV show. Someone will look different, speak differently, or be cut because books cannot realistically be turned directly into a visual scene. Some are better than others, to be sure, but none are perfect.

If I head a favorite book was going to be made visual, I’m not sure what I’d prefer. Is it better to have some things cut, maintain the main plot line, and see a movie that’s over in 120 minutes and I can pass my judgment at that time? Or should I hope for a season of 15 45-minute episodes that will add unnecessary characters and change the main plot to something that takes the main character well into season two to solve? Which is better? Is either one?

I’m personally a fan of the TV adaptations. I’m a big TV binger so I enjoy getting to see my favorite books as bite-sized-yet-bingable chunks to enjoy in my PJs while eating ice cream on my couch. (You are welcome for the visual.) I’m excited at the idea of a Lord of the Rings TV show. I hope I can stream it.

What do you prefer? Is there a ‘best’ way to see your favorite books come to life? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Until next time, write on.

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