Sometimes bigger isn't always better...

George Bell discusses when TV show adaptations are better than the film

George Bell
18th June 2020
Credit: IMDb, Twentieth Century Fox
Sometimes just because a film has a good idea doesn’t mean it will be a good film.

The plot, the characters, or the setting could be amazing but due to whatever reason, the film stumbles leaving you disappointed but craving more of that world. Be it a book adapted to the screen where the source material is handled worse than a juggler who’s blind and has no arms, or an original idea that deserves a second chance, we all hope for a do-over. But turns out a movie might just not be the place for such content and it’s on the small screen where the truly succeed. So here are a few movies, and books that were first films, that work as TV shows and sometimes even exceed the on-screen debuts.

The Golden Compass (2009) – His Dark Materials (2019-)

Credit: IMDb

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman is a popular fantasy book series that has had two different live-action adaptations, The Golden Compass (2009) and His Dark Materials (2019). One had James Bond, and the other had that guy from Hamilton. One was a one-hour 54-minute film, the other an eight-episode TV show. One is bad, the other is good. Unsurprisingly it’s the show which beats the film in basically every regard, but I’d like to draw your attention to one specifically: run time. The movie only had one hour and 54-minutes for 432 pages, whereas the show had almost four times that. The show had the time to flesh out the characters and the world so much more for both book fans and newcomers.

Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief (2010)- Disney+ Percy Jackson Show.

Okay yes, I know this show isn’t out yet and could quite possibly be an absolute failure, but I’m optimistic that it won’t be and will far exceed the disappointing movies that came before (I’m sorry Logan Lerman, I still love you). And there are two main reasons why.

Rick Riordan has stated that he will be involved every step of the way

Credit: IMDb

The first one is as above, they have much more time with a show to flesh out all the characters and the world we loved so much growing up; no cutting corners like the movies did. And secondly, the author of the books, Rick Riordan has stated that he will be involved every step of the way during the show’s development. This is brilliant news as, especially recently, Riordan has not been afraid to show his distaste for the movie adaptations of his work on Twitter saying things like “they should censor the entire thing. Just two hours of blank screen” and “To me, it’s my life’s work going through a meat grinder.” So yeah, safe to say he isn’t a fan. But now that he is involved it is very likely we will get the show Riordan was intending. And if it’s good enough for Riordan it is good enough for me.

Teen Wolf (1985) – Teen Wolf (2011-2017)

I may not have seen the original Teen Wolf, but from what I do know of it, I can already tell you why the show is better two words. Stiles. Stilinski. Okay, maybe not just Stiles but he is certainly the biggest reason why this show works.

Credit: IMDb

While the original movie played the idea of a kid werewolf as a comedy, the show played it as seriously as it could, trying to go as dark as possible. And it worked, the show was a hit. The show did have the obvious advantage of better technology and a much larger budget. So, if a movie does well but you aren’t sure how to get more money out of it, maybe just give it a few years and ka-ching, a new show to fill your wallets. And another great example of that is the Netflix show Scream.

Scream (1996) – Scream (2015-2019)

Credit: IMDb

Before you start raising your pitchforks and lighting your torches like some ye old mob, I don’t think the Netflix adaptation is better than Wes Anderson’s masterful meta slasher. The 1996 version is actually one of my favourite films, but I can’t deny how much I enjoyed the Netflix show. The longer show meant we got to meet a lot more fleshed out characters, which while it did add a lot more kills, it made those kills a lot more impactful and emotional. A bigger budget thanks to daddy Netflix and more sophisticated technology meant we got a lot more interesting (and graphic) kills. So what I am trying to say is that while it could never have lived up to the original, it certainly deserves its place in the Scream franchise, and you should certainly check it out.

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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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