Thursday Open Thread: What Book Should Be a Show?

The Vampire Diaries. Gossip Girl. Game of Thrones. Heck, even 8 Simple Rules was based on a book. So now I ask you:

What book do you want to see turned into a TV show?

My choice would have been The Secret Circle, a book series written by The Vampire Diaries’ LJ Smith about witches. Of course, I guess I can’t claim that one now that the CW is already working on it.

But what else? It doesn’t have to be a series. In fact, one of my favorite series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, I would hate to see on TV. Why? Well, I think it would destroy the characters that I’ve learned to love through the four books. Heck, the movies were pretty borderline in hurting what were well-written books. I wouldn’t want to see that messed up.

But what if someone did a TV show of something like Jane Eyre? Whether it’s a period piece, I’m not sure, but I could entirely see her go through various things–maybe including a few of the book’s milestones–and flashing back from time to time to her childhood, which (if I recall) they cover at the beginning of the book. It could be interesting.

But what about you? What book (or books) would you want to see on TV?

The Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion

I’m almost sad to be writing this because it means that I’ve finished the first four Vampire Diaries books. I actually really enjoyed them. Sure, the fourth book was a little weird since Bonnie was suddenly the narrator and everything got tied up in a tidy bow in the end. But happiness is a good thing, right?

Remember a few weeks back, there was a strange shot of Tyler on the show? He was acting strangely aggressive, and Jeremy was talking to him and as Tyler walked off, there was a strange shot of a full moon. Of course, my thought immediately went to werewolf–even commenter KM brought some attention to it. But then again, I thought, that just seems a little too much like Twilight for me to worry about it. Vampires and werewolves? That’s just Stephanie Meyer right there.

But I’m seeing now that it appears L. J. Smith did it first, as, yes indeedy, Tyler is a werewolf. No visible signs yet. You need a sacrifice first, but his family appears to be of wolfy descent. So there’s one thing that I can easily see happening in the show (though I hope they have better CGI than New Moon).

I’m a little nervous about that, though, as it really does give too much to compare to the Twilight series, and I like that the show stands on its own and seems to be far enough away from that in content. I don’t like overlap. But I reiterate: L. J. Smith did it first.

It would entirely change the character of Tyler, though. After all, in the end, Tyler really looked like a threatened chicken in this book.

This book was particularly dark. Traumatized people. Death. Carnage. And true, I did guess who the Mystery Vamp was long before Bonnie and Stefan jumped in (if you know books, you knew to look for the one character mentioned that we haven’t seen yet), but it was still pretty good. Not my favorite of the four books, but I’m a Bonnie fan, so it was great to see her in action and see her powers develop.

My one complaint is that we didn’t get nearly enough of Damon, as my last book vs. show review clearly stated that I’m suddenly pro-Damon. I’m clearly not the only one, as I hear The Return is based on him. (Sidenote: Should I continue reading those? Let me know in the comments.)

One of the best things about this episode (except the gory mystery of finding out how Vickie actually died–all we know is blood was everywhere…is that morbid of me?) was the introduction of the Civil War, which is right where the TV show places history. I was really excited to see the ghosts of the Civil War appear, mainly because if they do this on the show, it could be entirely exciting to see. I wish they’d had more of a presence (pardon the pun) in the short time they were there, since it seemed like they arrived then left pretty quickly, but that scene could seriously be broadened on the show.

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: The Fury

The Vampire Diaries returns tonight (yay!). We get to see who–or what–that ominous black figure was that was heading to Elena’s car.

I was trying to get through the last two books before the return (haha, it’s a pun since there are more books called The Return), but I did not. My last post was on the first two books, The Awakening and The Struggle, but this one’s just about The Fury.

And if you haven’t read them, you might just want to stop here. I’m going to say some major spoilers.

I feel like I’m writing blind here. Elena’s, well, Elena’s…

Elena’s dead. She got changed and now she’s dead. But I’m really wondering whether she’s really dead. I mean, she’s the main character. Everything revolves around her. Could the fourth book suddenly bring her back somehow? Maybe with Bonnie’s magic?

But then again, now Bonnie’s writing the diary, which makes me think that perhaps there’s a shift in who the main character is. Could the last book be following Bonnie now that Elena is dead?

And what about Stefan and Damon? Can’t we explore the interesting relationship between Damon and Elena now? (Is it funny that I kinda want her with him?)

The book kinda rounded out almost as if they weren’t planning on having a fourth. That could have easily finished the series. So what’s next? And what does this mean for the show?

Well, Katherine’s back. And that wouldn’t be news for the show. We already have the hint that Katherine (among others) are in a tomb, and Damon’s doing his darndest to get her out. So it wouldn’t surprise me if she did come back.

I did like the big reveal in the book–a massive “Other Power” being Katherine all along. But then again, was the killing of Katherine a little too quick for anyone? I kinda wish she was going to continue into the fourth book, but she’s dust. I don’t think there’s actually a question here, like there is for Elena.

As for the characters, I really think this book allowed them all to shine. Meredith was given depth (yay!), and if you didn’t feel anything for Matt by the end of the book, you certainly have a heart of stone.

And Elena. Yes, Elena. This is why I appreciated this book so much more than something like Twilight. Elena struggled. Elena really didn’t know what was happening to her when she became a vampire. She struggled with wanting to feed and the new feelings–and what was going to happen to her salvation. It wasn’t like Bella in dumb-ol’ Breaking Dawn when it was a piece of cake. This was a real experience.

And I liked her so much more for it. She wasn’t the same high-school focused popular girl that she was in the previous books. She realized her place and dealt with it–through anger, through crying, through Stefan. It was a great development.

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle

Well, since The Vampire Diaries is a rerun tonight, why not post something related?

In the grand winter hiatus (ok, well, the last two weeks), I decided that I needed a Vampire Diaries fix. So I decided to do something outright crazy.

I decided to read.

So I got my hands on the Vampire Diaries book series. Now, I had read L.J. Smith before. Way back in middle school, I actually had read her series about witches: The Secret Circle. So not only was I looking into something TV-related, I was going back to someone I had read in the past.

The books (so far, as I still have two to go) are good. I will say one thing: If you’re a fan of Vampire Diaries, you will not be rereading episodes in these books. They’re very different. Some things I like, others I don’t.

The biggest point is that I really like Elena of the series more than in the book. I can’t quite pinpoint why. There’s a physical discrepancy: Elena of the book is stark blonde, and while I have heard that was a reason one of my friends wouldn’t watch the series, it didn’t bother me. It was more in the character herself.

In the series, we have a moderately broken Elena. She still suffers from her mother’s death, and she has an aunt that can’t quite handle all the parenting, so she has to care for her brother. Not so in the book. Elena’s parents died quite a while ago, and her aunt is quite responsible. And her brother? Well, Jeremy is actually a four-year-old sister named Margaret–aka, not in the book. That aside, I think not having this softer backstory makes Elena’s hard-headedness in the book a little less appealing than we see in the show. I empathize with her less, even if I’m still rooting for her ultimately.

In fact, I’d have to admit that many of the characters are different. Tyler is much darker. Bonnie is actually a Celtic rehead. Caroline is just a horrible b*tch. Meredith isn’t even on the show, but she’s pretty one-dimensional anyway.

Damon and Stefan are actually from the Italian Renaissance, not Civil War Virginia. It gives them a more mysterious and unaccessible look, but beyond that, Damon and Stefan are the same. Well, Stefan is a little more Edward Cullen than I’d like. He lacks the depth of Damon, but the book two cliffhanger sure makes you rethink where he’s headed.

The books are definitely keeping my attention but plotline by plotline, I prefer the show. However, if the show is slowly ganging up to reveal what the end of book two is really telling us, we’ve got a fantastic build for the series (and I can’t wait to see where it’s going).

One thing that the book does have over the series is the undeniable force between Elena and Stefan. Compared to the book, what you’re seeing on the show is puppy love. It’s pretty heavy stuff (as much as it can be, considering that it’s a young adult book), and it surprises me to see that Elena and Stefan are actually sharing blood between the two of them–to show their devotion for each other. Perhaps that’s something that we’ll be seeing in the series…

Damon’s power is also much more threatening, and I’d love to see that become something more.

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

Yes, I’ll try ‘The Vampire Diaries’

I’m not entirely sure what the majority of people out there think of the upcoming show The Vampire Diaries, which premieres on The CW tomorrow night. I’ve heard some people are very excited about it. Others, though, think it’s a Twilight ripoff and are really irritated that it made the cut.

But let me say one thing: It’s not Twilight. If Twilight were a chicken and Vampire Diaries were the egg, we’d have an answer to our lifelong question. The egg came first.

Let me explain. I’m sure you already know, but I’ll reiterate. The Vampire Diaries is based on a book series by L.J. Smith. They were first published in 1991–yes, we’re talking almost 20 years ago.

I haven’t read this series. But I have read another one of her series: The Secret Circle series. I’m not saying they’re the same (after all, one series is about vampires, and the other is about witches), but it does make me respect the author. I mean, the series I read wasn’t the best group of books I’ve ever read in my life, but they were enjoyable, and I read them more than once, so that gives them props in my book.

So we’re looking at a TV show based on a series that was developed and published 20 years ago. A series that just happens to be about vampires and a mortal girl, and it was aimed at a young adult target audience.

I’m not saying that Stephanie Meyer read this series and based her books on it. In fact, the plots are different, despite what the trailers lead you to believe. Honestly, I feel like Meyer probably should have read the series, just to do her research on what else is out there as far as competitors go, and if that’s the case, she probably made her books different on purpose. If she didn’t read them, well, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

But from what I can tell, Twilight is, of course, about a girl named Bella, who moves to Forks, falls in love with “vegetarian” Edward (meaning he’ll eat meat but not humans) and so on and so on. The Vampire Diaries is also about a girl, but here we have two vampire brothers–one who loves and wants to protect her, and the other who wants to have her for his meal.

I’m not saying they’re polar opposites, but I am saying that there are some differences. And I’m interested to see what direction it takes to further differentiate itself from the Twilight series.

I should also mention that apparently a spinoff series from The Vampire Diaries was just launched this year (first book was released February), so good for L.J. Smith. I’m glad she’s still writing, and hopefully this will give the series a little more credibility.

Twilight ruins everything. But Buffy‘s still the best.

Amber Benson book signing

Well, if you were in the Boston area on Friday night, you might’ve heard that the Amber Benson, Chris Golden, and Thomas E. Sniegoski were at Pandemonium Books, signing their recent books. It was actually a neat event, and I was especially excited to hear about it, as I recently finished Amber Benson’s Death’s Daughter, the first in her Calliope Reaper-Jones trilogy. And hey, being a Buffy veteran didn’t hurt.

I was ultimately disadvantaged since I was unfamiliar with Thomas E. Sniegoski’s works (beyond comics, he wrote the novel that the miniseries Fallen was based on), but I am familiar with Chris Golden. He co-wrote the Ghosts of Albion series with Amber, and he’s also had a hand in the Buffy comics (refer to the Buffy Omnibus comics). But really, it looks like all three of them had a hand in the Buffy and Angel projects–which made the event a hub for Whedon excitement.

The event started with a Q&A from the crowd. The panel discussed everything from the Buffy reboot to Amber’s indie film Chance. And a lot about writing. Some of the most interesting parts were their discussion on how someone can move forward in writing (try, try, try; blog your writing; get it out there) and who their worst critic was (sure, the press is rough, but the worst critic seemed to be themselves–“well, there was this one guy…”). But really, the best part was seeing the writers all interact with each other, laughing and joking and enjoying the crowd.

After the Q&A, there was a signing. Of course, there was a plethora of Buffy paraphernalia. I was lucky enough to get both Death’s Daughter and Ghosts of Albion: Accursed signed. Overall, a good time.

But enough about that. How about some pictures of the event? (Sorry they’re not greater quality!)

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Benson takes a Twitpic of the crowd

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Benson answers a question in the Q&A

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Golden and Sniegoski during the event

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Sniegoski and Benson during the signing

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Had to get this pic of Benson signing her own Buffy action figure

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Golden, Sniegoski, and Benson at the signing

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Benson and Death's Daughter

Anyway, it was nice to see someone famous for TV go outside of their comfort zone and enter into a new arena. Plus, books are always good. So this summer, support Tom, Chris, and Amber, and head over to the bookstore to pick up some new reads. It’ll be fun. I promise.

OMG. A ‘New Moon’ trailer! Squeal giggle faint.

You knew it was coming. You didn’t know when, but you knew it would. And it has. The trailer for New Moon.

It was premiered at the MTV Movie Awards last night, though I don’t know if it was leaked before. It was introduced, of course, by the heart-throbby Robert Pattinson, a lackluster Kristen Stewart (seriously, she looked like she’d rather be having a root canal than introducing the promo), and the freshfaced Taylor Lautner. Watch it below.

Sadly, this video doesn’t include the swooning and screaming of the teenage girls watching it at the MTV Movie Awards. Apparently, while Robert Pattinson might make girls faint, a shirtless Taylor Lautner brings about explosions of teenage hormones in girly glee.

To be honest, I’m not that impressed with the trailer. I mean, I read the books. I wasn’t that impressed with the books, but they certainly have some interesting things to show. So just showing Jacob turn into a wolf (sorry, had to laugh at that effect, though at least it’s better than Edward’s glittery skin) and the party just seemed lame. I guess it’s an attempt not to give anything away, but it seems like a missed opportunity.

I know, I know. Teenage girls everywhere are going, “There was kissing and a shirtless Jacob! That’s enough for me!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll probably end up seeing it. Not in the theaters, but on Netflix. If you recall, I enjoyed the first one, given that I didn’t take it too seriously. In other words, I had to laugh at it from time to time. But I enjoyed it, and I’ll probably check out New Moon.

I wonder, though, if they’re really taking it to where the books took the story. I mean, Bella really had a dark transformation in this book, and (to an extent) so did the pansy Edward. I can see them playing up Edward, but I’m not sure that they will really put the darkness in Bella that I think it really needs, solely because of the young audience. Reading is one thing. Seeing is another.

But I guess we’ll see. In the meantime, please continue to replay the trailer. Just warn me before you squeal.