Why TV Adaptations Should Never Stay Too Faithful To The Plot

By on October 19, 2017

You have read the book, and now it is being adapted for the television or even the big screen. How will it compare? A leading author believes that if an adaptation is to succeed on screen, it shouldn’t stick too closely to the original plot. Here’s all you need to know.

Why TV Adaptations Should Never Stay Too Faithful To The Plot

The Popularity of TV Adaptations

If a TV producer is looking for a series that is sure to send viewing ratings soaring, they only need to look to a recent bestselling book to get the material they need. TV adaptations have been immensely popular in recent years, with many number one selling books also making it on the big screen or theatre stage.

Failed Attempts

Yet sometimes directors don’t always get it right. According to the Independent, there have recently been quite a few versions of bestsellers that haven’t worked, such as Fifty Shades of Grey.

In fact, leading author Robert Harris argues that staying too close to the original plot of a novel can be bad news when it comes to film, TV or stage adaptations. Speaking from experience, Harris has had his Cicero trilogy adapted into a Royal Shakespeare Company play, and his view is that many elements of the book wouldn’t be suited to a fast-paced theatre production. Focusing on every detail in a book would make the adaptation seem very stilted.

Why TV Adaptations Should Never Stay Too Faithful To The Plot

The three books have been whittled down into six plays over two evenings, with an original cast of 40 characters slimmed down to just 23.

If you’re just about to settle down to a TV adaptation following repairs to your aerial, such as from http://steveunettaerials.co.uk/services/tv-aerials-repair-and-installation-stroud/, who offers Gloucester TV aerial repair services, the last thing you want is to watch an adaptation that is identical to its book equivalent.

Harris argues that authors should not necessarily expect characters and plots in the book to be identical in TV or film formats and should try to ‘let go’. He believes that if the adaptation is done well to suit faster-paced viewing, then audiences will not miss any parts or characters that have been left out. In many ways, the author claims that both mediums are very different. The process of adapting a novel into a play has been likened to turning a car into a helicopter.

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