I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of books being adapted into other media. I do give Andrew Davis an almost automatic break (he is the one behind the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch etc) but he seems to have been on some kind of sabbatical recently.
In 2015 the BBC adapted Poldark (again), and I have neither read the book, nor watched the TV series. Judging by the media coverage, little was said about the story but much was said about the main actors’ topless shots. I see Matthew Mcfayden has also weighed into the “debate” (I think the lady doth protest too much) as to how producers are making actors spend too much time in the gym to ramp up the sexiness. Not sure he realises that women are judged on their appearance more than men, so the irony of what he is saying is rather lost on him.
There have been multiple film and tv adaptations of Jane Eyre and I have previously come out in favour of one specific version, which was a series with Toby Stephens (son of Maggie Smith) and Ruth Wilson (she of Spooks but most recently The Affair).
I seriously dislike the film version of Pride and Prejudice with Orson Wells in it – I remember watching the start of it when doing the book at school and was looked at with such derision by myself and my school mates that we never watched it all the way through. BBC’s version with Colin Firth, whilst not entirely close to the book, was as close as it could get and that is my preferred adaptation of that.
Northanger Abbey starring Peter Firth came out in around 1987, and my poor English teacher rued the day after, in that it took a tv program to make us ask about a Jane Austen book, bless her cotton socks!
When someone has the time and budget constraint of a film, things will invariably be lost, mainly in terms of plot and Jane Eyre in films is a typical example of things being lost.
Stephen King books to movies
I have a theory here – the shorter the book, the better the adaptation. All the good films? (Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Green Mile, Misery) are all short books. We can ignore The Running Man (on the basis that Arnie took part, so bloated it up), etc. All the longer books (IT, Needful Things, The Stand) either became crap movies or average series, depending on so much. We wont talk about The Tommyknockers shall we?!
Meanwhile, Salem’s Lot was great as a TV series so long as we ignore the appalling 1970s/1980s production values. The Stand would never have made it as a film, and I cant remember whether the TV series is seen positively or not.
Promising Shows I missed
These include the adaptation of The Crimson Petal and the White, which was on a few years ago, and got decent reviews. Also the aforementioned Poldark. Since there was more than one Poldark book written, there’s every chance a second series will be commissioned.
I dipped in and out of Lark Rise to Candleford, though in the end how much of the show was based on the book(s) I dont know
I’m hearing good press about Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell, which will start on the BBC sometime in May 2015. I certainly enjoyed the book and I hope to enjoy the series as well.
One day I will get to watch Game of Thrones, possibly on boxed set. I must be one of the few people who have never read the books, nor seen the show!