Adaptations That Work and Those That Failed…


Remi McKim, Journalist

Let’s be honest, shall we? We all want our favorite book or series to be adapted into a movie. Following the casting process, watching the teaser trailer drop, the final trailer, before finally watching the movie or binging the show is overall a wonderful experience. It allows you to openly share your favorite thing with friends and family, especially if they are not one for reading the source material. 


However, there are certainly some times when it was better before the adaptation. Whether it be done poorly or changed something that should not have been changed, it can ruin the thought of your favorite series. 


First we will look at the bad side of adaptations.  


Trying a classic food choice at a new restaurant to play it safe, like mac and cheese, yet finding it messed up irrevocably is the best way to describe watching the Percy Jackson movies after reading the series. The cast should have been perfect for the characters, even with being aged up, could have easily embodied each character if the script had not completely missed the point of the series. The lighthearted comedy that Rick Riordian wrote so well was not present, since Rick Riordian was not present for the project. They even missed a detail which was so very easy to add–Annabeth’s hair color. I will never forgive the person who decided to make Annabeth brunette. End of discussion.


One of Us is Lying was a wonderfully interesting murder mystery that did not translate well onto tv due to the painful to watch acting. What was a good story was hindered by the awful acting.


All the Bright Places was unable to capture all that was held within the book for the main reason that most movies never stand up to its book counterpart–the character’s thoughts. Facial expressions and music can only go so far in terms of showing a character’s thought process. While still remaining sad, the ending did not do justice to the characters.


To put an end to your misery, I saved the best for last: adaptations that DIDN’T fail us.


Watching the Pride and Prejudice (2005) movie was like walking on air. The gorgeous costumes and English sets truly felt like walking into a Jane Austin novel. The script resembled the original text so Jane Austin can rest easy. Kiera Knightly was a magnificent casting choice for Elizabeth Bennet, easily carrying on the wit that made the character so iconic. It should be the definition of a good book-to-screen adaptation.


Shadow and Bone encapsulated the gritty feel of the fantasy world expertly spun by Leigh Bardugo. Each set breathes air into the believability of the fantasy world. This tv series has combined two book series in the same universe without feeling rushed or unnatural, due to Leigh Bardugo who was involved in many steps of the show making process. Someone new to the Grishaverse would seamlessly be able to adapt to the plot and world. 


Anne with an E gives new life to a beloved book series decades older than sliced bread. Amybeth McNulty plays a wide-eyed teenager to a T. The optimism and naivety she expresses adds to her overall arch as we watch her grow and evolve as a person. The small town set with gorgeous costume design takes us back into the early 1900s as it deals with real issues facing people in that time. 


Adaptations can end up being either fantastic or dreadful, so here are the polar sides of that spectrum. If you are in a good mood, I recommend any of the good series above, whether they be the book version or adaptation.