Friday, January 15, 2010

Best Book-to-TV Adaptation?

I'm not sure why the "Dexter" books by Jeff Lindsay comfort me. Serial killers and dismemberment really shouldn't be calm nighttime reading. Maybe it's because I associate the books with marathon viewings of the TV show on DVD, curled up on the couch with my husband and a bottle of wine. We won't get to Season 4 until it's released on Netflix but I wanted to relive some of the earlier stories and see how the books compared, so I borrowed the first two from a friend.

I genuinely enjoy seeing what got changed from the books in order to create the TV adaptation (not much in book 1, and then a lot in book 2, so far). How did the screenwriters decide which characters to keep, which to expand, which arcs to explore, and which details to change completely? You've gotta figure they want the show to last as long as possible, so they can't have people figure Dexter out too quickly.

Reading the books is kind of like getting a director's cut, bonus material or alternate universe shot right into your brain. If the TV show is your first experience of the story and characters, the source material becomes supplemental, which is... kinda weird, actually.

Maybe I should look into the "Sookie Stackhouse" series by Charlaine Harris next for a True Blood fix while waiting for Season 2 on DVD. Somehow I don't think Bill yelling "Sookaaahhh" will be as entertaining on paper, though ;)

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