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On books adapted into TV shows or movies (again)

Since finishing The Half-Blood Prince on Sunday, I decided to take yet another break from the series — of course, with yet another series. This time around, it was Death du Jour, the second of the Temperance Brennan/Bones series by Kathy Reichs. I began watching the TV show earlier this year, and thought it was pretty good, if not great. It was a nice diversion, even though it bores my wife to tears.

When I learned that the series was based on a book, I wanted to check it out, so I did — with the first one in the series: Deja Dead. I already was forewarned by some of the reviews on Goodreads that the books were nothing like the TV show, but that they were still good. In the TV show, Brennan is a young unmarried forsenic anthropologist with no children; in the book, she is a middle-aged divorcd forsenic anthropologist with a daughter.

I have to say I like the Brennan in the book better than in the TV show. The Brennan on the TV show is world-weary too, but doesn’t seem to have earned it as much as the one in the book — despite the one on the TV show having parents who were outlaws, one still alive and running from the law. The one in the book seems to have earned her stripes honestly, and there’s potential for growth in the character, in other words, in learning why she got to be so tough. In the book, I don’t see the same kind of potential with the character. She’s just the way she is…and, while I like the show, in terms of us learning anything new about her character, yawwwwn. Of course, I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of TV shows and movies that are based on books, but only after the fact of my seeing the show or movie. A few examples include 127 Hours, Dexter and Strangers on a Train. I used to feel guilty that I didn’t read the book first but anymore I’m learning to let that go because I can’t keep up with what’s an adaptation of a book and what’s not. I’ve written about something similar to this in the past several times, including in a post about what I thought was the worst movie adaptation ever.

So I’ll ask you what are some of your favorite adaptations of books into TV shows or movies? And, on the flip side, what are some of your least favorite ones? For the record, I still stand by what I wrote back in 2009 as being the worst one. Among the best ones, I think, are the Lord of the Rings series.

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5 responses to “On books adapted into TV shows or movies (again)

  1. I am a big fan of “Dexter” the tv series. I read the book and didn’t particularly like it. That said, 9 times out of 10, the book is better than the film adaptation. LOTR might be the single exception in my opinion.

  2. “I have to say I like the Brennan in the book better than in the TV show.”

    Isn’t that ALWAYS what happens? If I really loved a book, I refuse to see the movie and or tv adaptation.

  3. I have to agree with your wife on Bones. Bores me to tears. And I really don’t find the TV Brennan at all engaging. LOTR was, is, and always will be one of the best adaptations. I would also add The Shawshank Redemption to the list of great adaptations.

  4. There is only one abomination of adaptation, one unforgivable abortion of a ‘Based on a Book’ floating around out there that is worthy of hate speech, hate mail, and general derision: Simon Birch. Forget this movie was ever made. Read ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ and reflect on how miserably inexcusable it is that someone would write a half-assed loosely based screenplay from the book that strips it of absolutely every shred of its magic.

  5. Love the first few Harry Potter movies, but then the books got longer and more complex and the films had to leave too much out. Love LOTR, of course- they’re near perfect.

    Worst? Eragon always stands out in my mind.