First, it was movies. Now, TV. The trend to make live media entertainment based on something already written — a book, you could call it — is certainly the thing to do. I’ve mentioned this trend before, both is positive and negative ways. And honestly, there are some good stories out there in books. I’m a book fan. I enjoyed reading Vampire Diaries and while it was a movie, not a TV series, I’m a huge fan of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Don’t judge me on the book choices. Don’t worry; I have others that I like that I’m just not mentioning.
The only problem with books that turn into things like TV series is that the series already has a set fan base. Sure, you have a lot of people already ready and willing to watch the show, but what if it’s not exactly like it? One of my best friends refused to watch Vampire Diaries because Elena didn’t have blonde hair. That’s some high standards.
So how much creative license do writers have on shows that are based on books? Should they be exactly the same, or can they make it different?
Obviously, there has to be some differences. After all, with something like The Vampire Diaries, the book series ends. The show may go on longer than that story line provides. But what about that first season and the setup of characters right at the start. Does that have to be the same?
I’m sure JC will jump in about Game of Thrones, as he’s read them all, so I’ll focus on an example that looks incredibly different: The Secret Circle. Of course, when I first heard there would be a series based on the book, I knew there would be some changes. For example, a TV show can’t handle a coven of 12, so I was sure that a bunch of the characters would merge together into one. But I certainly didn’t think it would merge into a mere six.
Are the characters the same? Well, Nick certainly is different based on the six-minute preview. I wonder if he still kisses like an iguana. What bothers me a bit is the fact that this changes his personality; I don’t like that. Now, appearances? Sure, it bothers me that Diana isn’t a blonde (she stands as the polar opposite of dark-haired Faye, so it’s a symbolic thing), and Adam isn’t nearly what I thought he would look like, but I can get past that. It’s the personality differences that will get to me.
What about setup? Well, Cassie’s mother dies (which in itself feels too much like Vampire Diaries setup than the unique setup the book has), and clearly the villain is very different from the book. In fact, the entire setup is different — completely different. Ok, so maybe that’s getting to me a bit. I really wanted to see the series I read on TV; if you’re going to make all these changes, why not just do your own witch series? Where’s the connection to the book.
The writers lean on this and call the show a “companion piece.” I consider this a copout. I guess to answer my question, I don’t need the show to be exactly the same (certainly not in appearances), but I need more than the names to be the same with a somewhat similar theme (witches, vampires, whatever). I’ll still check out Secret Circle, true, but my excitement is a bit muted now.
So that was a long schpeel. What do you think?