Book to screen adaptations is a very popular formula for films. The biggest question is how the directors, writers, and actors will bring the book’s universe to life. But, as popular as film adaptations are, the story existing within a book series may be better adapted as a television show.
In the height and hype of Y/A dystopian and fantasy fiction releases, the films brought to life include Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and more. Some of these franchises were highly successful at the box office and gave book fans an exciting experience and movie fans another genre to be excited about.
The Harry Potter franchise brought plenty to life but struggled just as much. Due to time limitations and the desire to cut to the direct story of Harry Potter’s conflicts, plenty of exciting and important elements of the novels were removed or ignored.
Details from Harry, Ron, and Ginny’s personalities being wrongly portrayed to Hermione’s strive for House Elf rights and the build-up to some of the franchise’s main romances being removed were key parts of the amusement of the books. Although some details were not missed, the franchise also lost many exciting details about the supporting characters in the book to screen adaptation.
Another film not accurately portraying a book series is the movie adaptation of the “Cirque Du Freak” novels. The series followed Darren Shan, who agreed to become a half-vampire in exchange for his future mentor, Larten Crepsley, to save Darren’s best friend, Steve.
The novels continue after that story, having Darren travel with Crepsley, eventually leading them to Vampire Mountain and several other adventures in learning about vampires and their antagonists, the vampaneze. As a movie, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant tried to fit in a few different storylines from multiple novels into the film.
Had either of these franchises been given a television adaptation instead of movies, each series could have been explored more. But, unfortunately, neither final movie product has enough time in its film counterparts to explain the worlds the books describe in much more detail.
While sometimes the television adaptation may not match the books exactly, such as The CW Network’s The 100 or The Vampire Diaries, the ideas of the novels were expanded upon. The 100 and The Vampire Diaries, while not matching their book counterparts storyline-wise, still gave more in-depth storylines and character arcs than films likely would have been able to give because of the immense amount of story provided in each series.
Why putting effort into the adaptations matter
Screen adaptations will always be compared to the book series it comes from. Still, because movies are usually limited by the amount of time they are given to get a story across, that gives an advantage to the novel.
Although episodes limit television shows, a season’s worth of episodes, especially for an hour-long drama, will allow a television series more time to expand the novels and create world-building, which will allow viewers to contemplate what is occurring even if they have not read the book.
That, in itself, is a huge factor. If viewers can not understand what is occurring because they did not read the books, it may take some enjoyment away because they can not fully grasp what is happening due to a lack of information.
While such an argument could be delivered about how the viewer could just read the books, it may be easier if the minds behind the adaptation could find a place to fit in the exposition in such a way where everyone could easily enjoy the finished product.
Movies do not have the time to achieve what a television series could do if given the number of episodes and seasons to develop the story. Ten one-hour episodes will already achieve more world-building and character arc than a three-hour film because of the extra time those episodes give to explore the main and supporting characters.
Adaptations will likely continue to be made into television shows and films, but they could be more successful if they are given extra time to truly develop.