Movie Version or Television Version

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I’m a firm believer in the book always being better than adaptations, but I recently started thinking about which would take second place movie versions or TV versions. Both movies and television have done some great adaptations of writers’ works and both have had their fair share of flops, but is one medium better than the other?

 

I think time is the biggest determining factor. When you’re adapting a 700-page book (or, for that matter, a series of 700-page books) into two or three-hour movies, something’s going to be left out. With TV shows, there’s time to develop themes and characters that a  movie might not be able to include. The reverse can be true also. Stretching out a short book into a television show can be incredibly problematic. Trying to make a certain amount of episodes when the material is minimal can cause pacing issues or can have those people in control take creative license on the story you love.

 

Either adaptation medium seems to be a toss-up depending on so many different variables.  What do you think determines whether a book is movie or television ready? And which do you prefer movie versions or television versions?

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1 Comment

  1. The main thing indicating suitability for TV/Film adaptation is how chronological the original plot source is. See, when you read, you go at your own speed, you can stop to re-read, or skip to the end. Films and TV series are constructed like a meal in a restaurant. You get the courses in a particular order, and the customer doesn’t control the speed of service.

    Therefore, when an adaptation follows a story that moves straight through the events in order, it’s likely to be more “faithful” to the book. That’s why so many of the best adaptations are adventure tales, crime stories and biographies.

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