Saturday, August 13, 2011

Adaptation Telovasion

Here's a thought, more and more frequently we've been seeing television shows coming from novels, graphic novels, and the like. While motion pictures have always had their hands in the cookie jar of librarium television has up until fairly recently remained pure. Sure there are exceptions; Poirot, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman... any kids superhero show. But that's a different story too. If comics are the closest medium to film, it's only natural to take those frames and use them as a storyboard for something moving... it's a key process in filmmaking anyway, so if someone else has done that work for you anyway (and so well) you may as well use it. Huh.

But lately we've been barraged with a very popular number of adaptations in television... Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, True Blood, Dexter, The Pillars Of The Earth, The Vampire Diaries... it seems every major premium network (and the CW) has at least one. What's weirder is I don't mind the trend. In some small way it excites me. Think about it. We'll always have books adapted into films that are too short to get the point across. Hollywood will always allow that to happen. Earlier this year I was forced to discover that one of my favorite novels had been adapted into a shameless heap of a film. I'm talking about Atlas Shrugged, a novel that clearly deserves at least a mini-series and more rightly a three season full on series. The content in a novel like that is so massive in scope there's no reason not to put together three 10-part seasons. There's an audience for it. And the day some exec finds they've missed the opportunity, they will be reeling in their seat.

I bring this all up because I've been watching and reading Game Of Thrones in tandem. It's a very cool experience. I'm learning about this lush world and at the same time being given a visual idea of the way it all really comes together. And maybe there are elements they could have adapted better, but I'm still pretty happy up to this point. If I were show runner (I find myself thinking more and more regularly) then I know I'd try to focus on a few key things that these guys don't seem to think are necessary. But c'est la vie.

If that Dark Tower movie and series set up comes together I will be very excited. However, that's a story that calls for a great deal of attention. The specifications are written surely in Stephen King's blood and I see why the projection is being considered and reconsidered because it's true about adaptations... you always run the risk of alienating the readers who so truly love the novels they're watching be shaped into visual mutants. And you know what, I don't want to see a PG-13 Dark Tower... and I don't want to see any televised version of it on anything other than a premium network... because the events rely so heavily on violence and language amongst other things that we may find another massacre of filmdom like The Stand.

Anyway, I've rambled long enough. It's cool to see your favorite works put up on a screen wether it be large or small. But the hope and excitement is only rarely worth the final cut. What do y'all think?

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