Let's Talk: Book to Film vs. Book to TV Adaptations

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let's Talk is a new weekly feature here at i swim for oceans. I think it's important that we all have our say, and there's something to be said for raising our voices. Simply put, here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.

And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!
Question: Do you prefer book to film or book to TV adaptations?

I was actually asked this question by a friend the other day, and it really got me thinking. To be honest, guys, I don't know of a ton of book to TV adaptations, but the ones I do know of, I quite appreciate and enjoy. That said, there are also some really great book to film adaptations out there, as well. It's hard to say that I enjoy any visual version more than the book, but you catch my drift. They all have their merits, right?

On one hand, you have book to film adaptations like Harry Potter that just soar. You guys know the depth of my love for all things Harry Potter, but the series honestly just got better and better - visually and emotionally. As the actors grew, so did the characters, and I felt such a strong connection with them. Though there were elements missing throughout (not TOO too many though), I felt like the films stayed pretty dang close to the books, themselves, which made the series that much better for me. And, as such, Harry Potter is probably my favourite book to film adapation series, overall. There are singular book to film adaptations that were beautifully done, as well, such as A Walk to Remember. However, I find myself struggling to find more stand-alone film adaptations that really pop for me.
Then you've got my favourite book to TV adaptation, The Vampire Diaries. I know there are a lot of book bloggers out there that didn't really love this book series. However, those same bloggers are often HUGE fans of this TV show, and can you really blame them? LJ Smith has a very distinct writing style that appeals to some and alienates others. However, the show creators bring the worlds within her books, as well as the characters, alive in a way that really breathes new life into the pages of her books. By giving us season upon season of the show, as well, we're given an opportunity to become fully invested in the characters, the storyline and the plot, as a whole. 

So, while part of me thinks this should be a toss-up, I'm actually going to have to say I like book to TV adaptations better. I think we have more time to actually flesh out the story and grow attached to the characters over time. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could tune into Harry and Hogwarts every night? I'm jussayin'.


  1. I think book to tv adaptations leave more room for things to not be left out. Sometimes it's too tricky, trying to cram everything into a movie.

  2. Book to film. TV shows tend to draw things out and ultimately make more changes. Great question though.

  3. I love both, but if I have to choose, I would take TV because (as you said) we have more time with the characters. We spend more time also in developing characters and side characters! Like True Blood or Vampire Diaries. 

    However, when movies are as incredible awesome done as the HP movies... ;)) Then I happily take the movie, but in the end a TV show is just longer! 

  4. I definitely hear you! It's almost a toss-up! :)))

  5. I definitely think film, if done well, could surpass TV, but I'm still with TV :)))

  6. I usually enjoy book to movie adaptations. Sometimes it is better for me to see the movie first so there isn't any disappointment with a favorite scene or two missing. I think the Harry Potter movies did a really good job, but I must admit there was a little bit I was missing in a few of them. The Lord of the Rings did an excellent job. I don't remember feeling like anything was left out in those. I don't think I have watched any tv adaptations but I have a feeling I would love them too. :)

  7. I think that if you try just ONE book to tv adaptation, it should be The Vampire Diaries ;)

  8. I would be over the moon if I could watch Harry Potter on TV regularly. That would be amazing. I agree - I adored the movie adaptations almost as much as the books; they did a great job with it, even if they had to cut a few things out here and there. The books will always be my #1, but the films are excellent.

    I also agree about The Vampire Diaries. I've read the books, liked them a little. But the TV show is FANTASTIC (and I'm not just saying that because I'm biased). I think what the screenwriters have done with the characters and story is so cool, and I can't wait for next season!

  9. I think I'd prefer book to TV adaptation because:
    1) there's much more room for improvement. I remember the first season of TVD, I didn't like it that much. But it got better with every episode, and now it's my favorite series.
    2) Harry Potter is an exception to the rule. The movies were great. But Twilight, for example, was awful. The actors were wrong, and the overall production was not good.
    3) as you said, It'd be amazing to tune into your favorite book every night.

  10. Ok, so I had to think about this one a lot and in the end I think I decided on TV, believe it or not.  Someone in the comment list mentioned that TV can get into more details (for better or worse) and I am addicted to details.  Harry Potter was one of the only movie adaptations I've seen that managed to capture SOOOOO much of the detail of the book (hence my love).  But I realized that when I was growing up, I was totally addicted to TV miniseries.  I watched Centennial (a lot), I watched All the King's Men, and Sho-Gun...and I loved BBC versions of Austen and Bronte.  Something about the indulgence in every drip and drop of the original really does it for me...

  11. I'm right there with you! It's crazy the divide between book to film and book to tv adaptations, eh?

  12. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one! Assuming it was done just as well...imagine how amazing HP would have been?!

  13. I totally see what you mean, and I'm in complete agreement. It's in the details that you can lose yourself in the story :)

  14. I agree so much with Harry Potter. It's a movie and of course they're not going to be able to get all the details but they did a pretty good job with the movies none the less.

    I hated The Vampire Diares book. I was skeptical about the show but after a few episodes, I was addicted. We are able to get more details into a show but there is just something about watching a book like HP get turned into a movie. 

    If HP would have been a tv show...I don't think it would have been as...huge. No midnight releases and all that jazz. 

  15. I think it really depends on the book. Some books really lend themselves to the TV show format and others work better as movies. I mean as cool as it would be to watch episodes of Harry Potter on TV every week for years I feel like the movies are a better way to capture the stories. But that's just me.

    Personally a book series I would LOVE to see turned into a TV show is the Gone series by Michael Grant. THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN STAT!

  16. I trust the quality control of Hollywood to steer the right books onto the big screen.  The same for TV Land.  My purist tendencies take a back seat to book adaptations to any screen.    I'm with you about Harry Potter.  The movies got better and better with as much credit due to the maturing actors so naturally playing their parts as much as the writing of JK Rowling.  She provided the incredible story, the actors brought their passion.  I'm seldom disappointed in adaptations.  Reality keeps me in check; we have to be fair in any movie or TV production that condenses hours and hours of reading into a much shorter time frame.

  17. I absolutely love book to film adaptations. My favorites are Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games, and of course, Harry Potter. Thanks for sharing. :)

  18. You make a good point about tuning in night after night. I said I liked book-to-movie better but I did mention The Vampire Diaries as the only book-to-TV that I really knew of (that I've watched). And I'm hooked. H-O-O-K-E-D. I just finished Season One and WHOA. Anyway, yeah, I didn't think about the longevity thing, so you make a great point. Also, I really need to watch those HP movies. BLOGGER FAIL. HA! 

  19. There are many that I enjoy. I was not a fan of all HP adaptations, but overall, it's a completely incredibly well-done series, mostly because of the beloved actors. As you stated, I was not a fan of the Vampire Diary books, but I definitely love the show. I also love True Blood (though it is getting hella wonky) and stopped reading that series 5 books ago. 

    I loved Water for Elephants, White Oleander, The Hunger Games, Fried Green Tomatoes, Coraline, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, House of Sand and Fog and Memoirs of a Geisha, to name a few. I look forward to Life of Pi, The Mortal Instruments and The Perks of Being a Wallflower! I'm also realyl looking forward to the Outlander TV show. 

    As much as I want to read Nick Sparks' books, those movies rip me to shreds, A Walk To Remember being the biggest sob fest of them all!


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