TV Adaptations

A while back, John O’Neill from Black Gate pointed me to a list of all the TV and movie adaptations currently in production that are based on spec fic novels. Calling the list “extensive” doesn’t really do it justice – there are a ton of potential projects described there, in various states of completion. A number of titles jumped out at me immediately as I skimmed through, including Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy, Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, the Narnia continuation with The Silver Chair, and the recent optioning of Pat Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles.

I know people get really excited (or really fearful) when a big TV option a la Game of Thrones is announced. I’ve realized that, while I might see an announcement and think, “Oh, that might be cool” I will almost never scope out a TV series based off a book I’ve read, particularly if I really enjoyed that book. For example, I read Leviathan Wakes around the time the first season of The Expanse came out, and I have yet to feel compelled to see the show. I watched the first season of the The Strain and decided I preferred del Toro and Hogan’s trilogy. What I’ve found is that if I’m familiar with a story, I don’t get the thrill some people do at witnessing a scene that’s exactly how they read it. I’ve already visualized that scene, so I don’t need to see it done for me in film.

The same works in reverse, apparently. I watched the first three seasons or so of Game of Thrones, and have never felt the need to pick up Martin’s novels because I already know what’s going to happen. The same with The Walking Dead (though admittedly I’m not a big comics reader anyway). If I had seen the original movie Westworld, I don’t know if I’d have enjoyed the HBO series’ first season as much. (Sidebar: holy fuck that’s a good show)

I think my issue is that when I’m exploring fiction I need something new. I don’t need to be told the same story multiple ways. If I’ve watched the show and someone says the book is better, I shrug. That’s nice, but I’ve already had my experience with that world, and there’s a ton of new stuff out there to read and watch anyway. So while a TV version of Kingkiller or The Passage sounds interesting, odds are I’ll never see it. Anyone else have this same issue, or am I alone and crazy (again)?

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