[DWJ] DIR latest

Roger Burton West roger at firedrake.org
Sun May 20 07:20:56 EDT 2007

On Sun, May 20, 2007 at 12:00:01PM +0100, Minnow wrote:

>I was agreeing with Melissa that I often dislike films made from favourite
>books, and that the reason I do so is that the film has altered the book
>beyond recognition.

I (continue to) concur. I suspect that I'd have enjoyed the TV Dresden
Files rather less if I'd been more impressed with the books.

I do think that Melissa touches on very important point, though: the
demands of a TV show (both technically as a result of the format, and in
terms of the sort of audience at whom it can be aimed so as to make some
money[1]) are very different from those of a book. No TV show can be
profitable _solely_ from its fan-following, no matter how devoted that
following may be; there simply aren't enough of them to make up the
audience numbers that the advertisers care about.

The sort of story that fits well into a 42-minute TV slot simply isn't
the sort of story that fits well into a 300-page book, or a two-hour
film. It's not just a matter of content (or people would make a single
book into an entire season of television); it's a matter of the way the
story is framed, the sort of character who can be portrayed, and almost
everything else. By the time a story has been adapted to a new medium
one might as well have started from scratch anyway; the result would
have been more interesting. This is very nearly inevitable, _even if the
people making the adaptation love the original and are trying to be as
faithful to it as possible_; the only alternative is something that
doesn't meet the criteria of the new medium and thus doesn't satisfy

>I may be one of about ten people who went joyfully to Film 1 of LotR and
>thought it did as good a job of the book as one could expect, sat through
>Film 2 without walking out and quite enjoyed it sortof but couldn't see the
>point of messing about with the original plot, but hasn't bothered to go to
>see Film 3 and quite possibly never will -- though I'll admit to a certain
>morbid curiosity about horses charging at a gallop down a one-in-four
>slope, it doesn't seem worth it just for that.

I am another. Several of my friends have the extended-version DVDs of
all three films, and eventually I may remember to borrow them, but
somehow it hasn't been a priority.


[1] The BBC is a potential exception here, of course, but their
programme-makers care just as much about ratings as the commercial
television companies even though they have no real reason to do so.

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