How Close Should TV Match The Book?

Over the weekend I read the latest issue of The Walking Dead comic and in the letters column, a fan basically said he wouldn’t be reading the book anymore. He blamed the TV show because to him, they weren’t separate entities. What happened in one, affected the other and the TV show had gone so far outside what the characters were doing in the comic, he wouldn’t support either.

I find this to be a very over the top response.

The first episode was an almost word for word, shot for shot version of the early issues of the comic. When I tuned in for the next episode, I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen. And then exactly what thought would happen, didn’t happen exactly.

Old characters were popping up in new places and they had friends I’d never seen before. This sort of thing repeated until the storyline was going it’s own way.

Well, it’s still a good story, just not the same story. And it’s hung on to all the major plot points of the comics so far.

This is great for a viewer like me because I get to still be in suspense for what’s coming next AND I have the added suspense of not knowing how they’re going pull off major events from the comics. And I suppose this would work in reverse for a fan of the TV show who decided to read the comic.

My point is, I’m not so tied to the source material that I refuse to accept a different version of the same story. To me, there’s nothing to lose. If it’s not good, I don’t have to watch it (That’s right, despite Jack Nicholson’s superb performance, I’m looking at YOU The Shining. And I know, it wasn’t a TV show, but that one still hurts. Grrr). If it’s good, I’ve just gotten a sweet bonus.

Any thoughts? How much rope will you give a show before you cut the cord?

5 comments on “How Close Should TV Match The Book?

  1. What comes to mind here is True Blood. I used to read the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and really enjoyed them. Then True Blood came along. It was like a train wreck. There was so much sex and gore that I was shocked. It went WAY off the stories in the books. And yet, I can’t stop watching it…..

    The closest I’ve even seen a movie come to the book (actually a novella) is The Langoliers by Stephen King. I had read it so many times that when the movie came on I could almost quote everything that was about to be said. I really like it when they stick to the book.

    • Never read the Sookie Stackhouse series, but it took two episodes of True Blood to have me running away. A little too over the top for me.

      Pet Semetary and The Dead Zone are two of my favorite King adaptations, but since I haven’t seen The Langoliers maybe It’ll be a new one to add to the list.

  2. I have mixed feelings about it. If both are done well enough, I mig be able to enjoy each one. Like Dexter. The books and the series depart quite a bit but I love them both…it kinda feels like parallel universes with the character. On the other hand, I’ve had the experience of detesting a movie or show because it so deviated from the source material. With Walking Dead, I lean more towards liking each alone.

    And, if anyone is going to follow…it should be the tv or movie writers, not the original author.

    • Agree about Dexter. The first book seemed to be a jumping off point and then the TV show went in its own awesome direction.

      It seems to be a rarity to find a show that totally sticks to the book, so the best you can hope for is that they hit the major points. I remember Kait talking about a lot of needless changes to Secret Circle and her disappointment when she checked out the show.

  3. The show that comes to mind here is The Secret Circle. According to Kait Nolan (I haven’t read the books), the TV series is nothing like the novels. I don’t really have issue with this, not unless it is a story that I absolutely adore. There are certain instances where I won’t even watch a movie until I’ve read the book, which is one reason why I’m still waiting to have a Harry Potter-a-thon.

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