Literary Adaptations: TV or the Big Screen

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago titled Has Hollywood Run out of Ideas in which I discussed the nature of the relationship between Hollywood and bestselling authors. You may want to take a look at that post once you finish or before you start this one because the relationship is somewhat fascinating.

Let me ask, if you happen upon an article discussing a new adaptation of your favorite book or series, would you prefer a full-length theatrical release or a TV series? I won’t wait until the end of the post to give my answer because it doesn’t matter to me. Both mediums have proven in recent years that it’s all about the product. A bad movie is no different from a bad TV show when it comes down to adaptations.

TV

Books that are adapted are often hundreds of pages long, no matter the genre, right? One of major advantages of a TV adaptation is that it allows for more of the story to be told. I don’t watch Game of Thrones but I do know that it has been wildly successful on HBO. I also know that the books have been VERY successful. TV gives the reader/watcher more of what he/she wants, the story. What is it that we always hear after going to our neighborhood movie theater to watch the most recent literary adaptation? “I can’t believe they left that part out.” As readers it’s hard to justify leaving ANY part of a great book out of its movie adaptation because that’s part of the reason why we liked it in the first place. But we also don’t know a thing about writing a script or making a movie. Things are left out not because those working on the movie wish to upset fans, but because there are very real constraints to making a movie.

A TV series also gives viewers something new each week. It isn’t a one time thing that goes and comes in a matter of an hour or two.

Movie

I would guess that authors prefer their books be adapted into full-length movies over TV shows. I don’t particularly agree with this sentiment because movies are limited in how long they can be, they cost A LOT of money and guarantee no return, and not everyone is willing to dish out ten bucks for a movie ticket. I’ve done so myself only three times in the last two calendar years, two of those were for The Hunger Games movies. But I think there is a great amount of pride for an author to have one of his/her books adapted into a theatrically released full-length movie. J.K. Rowling had eight. Stephenie Meyer has had five. Suzanne Collins will have four by the end of next year. These are some of the bestselling authors today who keep making their books into movies. AND the money made by these authors from their movie adaptations is something we can only dream of. I mean, J.K. Rowling became the first billionaire author recently, until she fell below that threshold after taxes and charitable donations the following year. Movie adaptations of books enable authors to get their product in front of millions more people than ever before, because let’s face it, not everyone is a reader.

I’d love to know what you think.

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4 thoughts on “Literary Adaptations: TV or the Big Screen

  1. I wish they’d give attention to Frank Herbert’s Dune Series. I watched the first season of Children of Dune and it is good. I don’t mind if it’s TV or movie, I just want to see! haha

    Like

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