When a TV Series Strays from the Book.. Good or Bad?

Many of us who have read a book that has later been turned into a TV series are usually excited to see the TV Series but the majority of statements I hear declares the book being far greater than the TV Series itself. One of the most common complaints I hear when comparing the book to the TV series is that " that part wasn’t in the book". Do you think it’s a good or bad idea to stray from the book when creating the TV series?

  • If you look at something like Hannibal, it's first two seasons were (to the best of my knowledge) mostly show inventions. This has something to do with not having all the rights to adapt Thomas Harris' novels, but the the series was able to separate itself from previous screen incarnations and they were two bloody good seasons, too. With something like Game of Thrones I have only read the first three books, but they have done well in combining characters to fulfil several purposes, promoting characters that weren't book POV characters (Robb Stark, Theon, the Hound, Cersei for the first 3/4 seasons). – Jamie 9 years ago
  • It is difficult to compare television (or film for that matter) to books as they are both such different mediums. It is possible for adaptations to be done well without including every single detail from the original source. Sometimes elements that work in books just don't translate on screen and vice versa. The deciding factor on whether or not the adaptation was "good" should focus on whether or not the adaptation captured the overall mood, tone, and narrative intentions of the original. – Alora 9 years ago
  • I think an interesting concept is the idea that some shows are produced faster than their source books can be written. The best example of this is Game Of Thrones. Soon, the show will have to become completely autonomous of the books. This leaves an interesting challenge for the writers of the show, and George RR Martin himself: will the writers be able to succeed when they are solely in charge, and if so, will George RR Martin be guided by the show in the same way as the show was guided by the books? – LiamCollins 9 years ago
  • You can look at loose adaptions like iZombie and close adaptions like The Old Man and the Sea. I think there are problems that crop in in close adaptions where sticking close to a script that was written for the page instead of the screen creates a need to do things like narrate all the time. More recently 50 Shades of Grey's screenwriter revealed that she had made changes to the book and among those changes was the loss of something called 'The Inner Goddess' presumably this was a running internal monologue the protag has with herself. Such internal monologues tradtionally don't work on the screen. Voice Over is the first sign of a lazy screenplay as the saying goes. – wolfkin 9 years ago

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