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Cut showrunners some slack

I know what you are thinking; why am I talking about The Witcher now?

The third season came out in July. That makes me two months late. But don’t worry. I have no interest in discussing The Witcher Season three. Although, if you want my two cents, I am shocked by how bad it was. I spent the better part of a year defending that season from trolls who trashed it before it came out.

And Netflix rewarded me by delivering the worst season of TV I have seen all year. I still feel compelled to defend this show against the many unfair criticisms it continues to attract online, but season three was so bad that I refuse to give The Witcher another second of my time.

The Witcher was at its best in the first two seasons because it took some liberties with the source material. But then they changed tactics in season three, attempted to remain faithful to the source material, and things went wrong.

What does that tell you?

We should abandon this idea that an adaptation should always stick to the source material. Books and TV shows are wildly different media, and you cannot expect stories that first appeared in a book to succeed in a live-action format without some alterations.

Books use words to convey information. Sometimes, you must massage those words to tell a compelling story with pictures. If you don’t believe me, read The Boys by Garth Ennis. Many have hailed Amazon’s adaptation as the best live-action comic book franchise Hollywood has ever produced. And yet, it makes extensive changes to the source material because the comic book goes off the rails after a while.

What about The Lord Of The Rings? Have you taken the time to read Tolkien’s novels? You could make a brand-new trilogy of films from everything Peter Jackson cut when he adapted the book series.

In the novels, that final battle in The Return of the King featured characters many of you have never even heard of. But no one complains about the changes to the source material whenever they hail The Lord of the Rings as the greatest trilogy of films in all of existence.

What about The Color Out Of Space? The original story from H.P. Lovecraft is 50 pages, maybe less. But the adaptation (starring Nicholas Cage) still saw fit to modify Lovecraft’s work when it jumped to the big screen, and I cannot say that I hated it. I ranted about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining several months ago because, in my opinion, the director butchered Steven King’s masterpiece of a novel.

But then Mike Flanagan came along and improved heavily upon King’s work when he adapted Doctor Sleep the sequel to The Shining. And I say that as someone who loved the book. Somehow, the film was even better.

I could keep going, but you get the picture. We should stop harassing showrunners and screenwriters simply because their adaptation bastardized your favourite comic, video game, or novel.

Give them the breathing room to translate the source material in a way that fits the live-action medium. I understand the frustration that bubbles to the surface when changes to the source material are motivated by a desire to broadcast political and social ideas you disagree with.

But precluding those particular instances, stop getting so hung up on this issue. And if the adaptation falls flat because of changes to the source material, go back to the source material. It is not going anywhere. Basically, be an adult; stop throwing tantrums over innocuous matters.


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