Is The Book Better Than The Show?

It seems like every day our favorite books are being turned into movies. It is a truth among many bibliophiles that the book is always better than the movie. However, what about the TV adaptation. This trend brings our literary favorites right into our home.

Can You Compress a Novel into Two Hours?

It is rare for a movie to improve on the novel that inspired them. As a reader, it is disheartening when a film director cuts out your favorite moments or characters for the sake of time. Hitchcock’s Psycho, Spielberg’s Jaws and Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers are among only a handful of films that arguably improve on the novels that inspired them. There are numerous more that have left fans feeling dissatisfied with the end product.

The Difference With Television

Recent television adaptations have begun to show the transfer from page to the screen doesn’t have to disappoint. With TV shows spanning multiple seasons, there is plenty of room to expand and explore. The books are used as a basis for TV producers and writers to unfold in directions that the author may not have dreamed of. There is no longer a problem when there is no more source material as the television show takes on a life of its own from the novel. For example, the first novel in a series can become a whole season spanning hours of material. Not only will every important aspect of the book be covered, but it can also be expanded upon. Take Game of Thrones, for example. Every season of the television show is a book in the series. Now, because these books are so dense, everything still can not be covered within 10 hour long episodes. This leads to an expansion of the universe of the book as important plot points developed to be the main focus of the show. With these plot points being the focal point, writers can also develop new plot points to better further our understanding of the main characters. With Game of Thrones, the show has now surpassed the books, leaving the writers to come up with additional material that is appropriate for the setting and congruent with the book and past storylines.

Television adaptations have a lot to offer to the novels they are based on. New scenes, new characters, and flashbacks all add a different dimension to beloved books. Take The Handmaid’s Tale, a book about a theocratic, patriarchal America that reduces women to chattels and breeding machines.New scenes, new characters, and flashbacks all add a different dimension to the well-known book. However, an important part of television, no matter the setting, is that it relates to the audience. In this case, it was the choice to not make Gilead a whites-only society. In the novel, non-white races were sent to the Midwest, with intimations of concentration camps and ethnic cleansing. Due to audience identification, this idea was scrapped. In 2017, no one wants to have an all-white cast and diversity in casting is a well-accepted practice to make both television shows and movies reach a broader audience.

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