Saturday, July 17, 2010

What Kind of Reader Are You? (part 5)

In this installment, I would like to discuss adaptations. Specifically, books adapted into/for movies or television with a focus on more contemporary material. I could go on forever and ever on this subject with just Jane Austen's books alone so let's stick with books written after I was born.

How rare is the perfect (or even decent) adaptation? For me, it's close to a line I once heard somewhere, "It's like being struck by lightning while living in a house you won from Ed McMahon." Thank you Blanche :) So it's not entirely impossible but highly unlikely.

I am a stickler for accuracy. I am picky beyond rationality. I am, well, you get the picture.

Here's the deal: for those random books that I can recollect that I've read sometime in my thirty-odd years, I could care less but for books that I've read and reread and loved? Ha! Are they really expecting me to be able to enjoy it? Really? Can any other mortal individual replicate what's in my head? (To answer the question that's probably running through your mind: yes, I am a control freak. However, I'm not a borderline personality disorder with OCD tendencies so I can back off. I'll just tell the voices that now isn't a good time.)

For example, and I apologize to those readers who love the show I'm about to bring up and please know that I respect everybody's right to watch whatever the hell they want so please don't drop me from your following list, I can't watch True Blood.

I've seen the promos on HBO and heard about all the shocking stuff they do on that show and it almost hurts when I see what they've done with Sookie and company. To be fair, I haven't sat down and actually watched an episode and that reminds me of my grandma saying to me as a child, "How do you know you don't like it if you've never tried it?" Well, this is like me and brussels sprouts; just looking at those nasty little cabbage lookalikes made me know in my bones that I wasn't going to like them. (I was right.) Where did all the gratuitous sex come from? And look at the covers above. I find it hard to believe that these two series are even related.

It's not just what they've done with the plotlines but with some of the casting. I don't like Anna Paquin as Sookie. I didn't like her as Rogue in X-Men either for that matter. Bill doesn't look right and neither does Sam. Sorry! Even though Charlaine Harris has given the show her stamp of approval, and that is usually good enough for me, I am too much of a Sookie purist to accept Alan Ball's adaptation. Except for Joe Manganiello and Ryan Kwanten as Alcide and Jason, respectively. They're fine. Yeah they are :)

Now, one book-to-tv adaptation I did like was Bones. Emily Deschanel's Temperance Brennan  is absolutely nothing like Tempe from the Kathy Reichs's series. The locales are all different and with the exception of Tempe herself, none of the characters from the books made it to the  tv show but they both work well. Kathy Reichs has been an key player in the development of Bones and worked as a producer for a majority of episodes. Charlaine Harris is listed as a "writer" for all existing episodes of True Blood on but it's really just for her novels as inspiration.

Other shows/movies I'm planning on staying away from are HBO's The Game of Thrones, based on the book with the same title from George R. R. Martin's series The Song of Ice and Fire. Based on the teaser trailer they've released, it appears that visually, the show is spot on so I may bend a bit and try it out.

Also on this list are any version ever done of Stephen King's The Talisman or any of his Gunslinger set, and the upcoming movie version of One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I still get a chill up my spine when I think of Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum. Just. EW.

My husband is practically dancing with glee over the previews of AMC's The Walking Dead. Check out that link because I'm not putting those nasty pictures here. He's been collecting the trade paperbacks of Robert Kirkman's comic for a few years now and is such a big fan of his. The show starts in October and don't ask me if I'll be watching. Zombies are so not my thing.

BUT! There are some good ones out there, adaptations that more than acceptable. Bridget Jones's Diary, Mike Mignola's Hellboy and BPRD books, and Harry Potter are all fab. I think Daniel Radcliffe's face was in J. K. Rowling's head as she wrote and Renee Zellweger nailed Bridget, accent and all. Ron Perlman was born to play Hellboy, little ponytail and all.

To summarize, I generally don't like it when my favorite books are made into television programs or movies because they never compare to what I've already imagined. If I do happen to see a movie or show and then read the book then I'm okay but I seem to have this need to rip adaptations to shreds. Call it a gift :)

So, what kind of reader are you when it comes to seeing your favorite books made into tv or movies? Can you watch peacefully and accept the differences or do they make you want to rip your hair out? Share share share! Thanks for reading.


Michelle said...

WHAT!?! They are doing ONE FOR THE MONEY with Katherine Heigel? What are they thinking? THat is not Stephanie. I just hope they keep it as funny as the books, cause they seriously crack me up.

Jen said...

No kidding. And if Katherine Heigl is their idea of what Stephanie is I don't want to know who they're picking for Morelli. Or Ranger. Or Grandma Mazur...