‘Dead Ringers’ and ‘Fatal Attraction’ Show Why TV Requires Treachery

In the 2021 episode of “What We Do in the Shadows,” the ancient vampire Nandor travels to Atlantic City and becomes obsessed with “The Big Bang Theory”-themed slot machines. Later, he was surprised to discover that “The Big Bang Theory” is also a TV show. “True to slot machines!” he marvels.

No series based on slot machines that I know of yet. But Nandor is on to something. Today’s TV is full of things based on other things. Movies have become his TV series (including the 2015 film adaptation of ‘Shadows’), as well as books, superheroes, his comics, podcasts, manga, and video games.

Nandor is also working on other things. “Fidelity” has become a watchword for adaptations, sometimes a measure of authenticity, and sometimes a billy club for cracking down on deviations from your favorite stories.

It’s a term that raises many unanswered questions. What or who are you loyal to? Do fans of the original work have more of an argument for the adaptation than anyone else? Can you be loyal and creative at the same time? Or do you just want to obey?

In a recent rebranding presentation, Max (now known as HBO Max, the streaming service whose name will be reduced later this month) unveiled a roster of shows filled with Things Based on Other Things. In addition to a new Game of Thrones prequel adapted from a novel by George R. R. Martin, a series adaptation of the horror film The Conjuring, and a spin-off of The Big Bang Theory (congratulations, Nandor!), Max is planning a series. confirmed. One of his most prized assets for Warner Bros. Discovery, he repurposed the Harry Potter books.

Unsurprisingly, much of the reaction is that J.K.new transactivism.But another curiosity in Max’s attempts to squeeze more blood out of the Sorcerer’s Stone was his description of the series as a “faithful adaptation.”

Loyal compared to what? The book had already been adapted into eight of his films, and adherence to its plot was monitored as closely as in Azkaban’s prison. However, due to the limited running time and lack of access to Hermione Granger’s time-turner, they had to make the cut. Planned 10-year run In the words of HBO chairman Casey Bloys, each season based on a single book has space to “dig deep,” cramming it all into a superfan show. “Movie Legacy” list.

More “faithful” here means more exhaustive. That means being more committed to recreating the image that’s already in the reader’s head on a reasonable budget. And here is the issue of faith. Like the religious one, the aesthetic version can lead to higher insight and inspiration. Or it can bind you to a relentless literal interpretation of the text.

Adaptation is the devil’s deal. They are built to gain brand recognition and the advantage of existing audiences. Fans of the original check it against the source, some looking for a fresh take and others looking for full video illustrations.

Worse, they use “loyalty” to hide their narrow-mindedness.A ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan who opposed allowing people of color to live in Middle-earth, and the story of his two gay characters. full episodeprobably because “it wasn’t in the game”.

For TV critics, the age of adaptations means every review includes new decisions and more supporting material. Do you read books, watch movies, play games? I’ve done both, but I can’t do both at the same time. Once I read the book that Game of Thrones was based on, I couldn’t help but read it.

But this is not your problem. The problem for viewers is that more and more series serve her two audiences: fans of original works and fans of new stories.

Here, I’m on the novice’s side. Good television is rewarding, but it should never be homework. If you have to read/watch/listen to previous works to appreciate the show, you’ve made a bad show. The duty of reproduction (realizing what someone has already created) can conflict with the duty of art (creating something that never existed).

True creativity requires a little betrayal, not blind faith. The best television adaptations use a distinctly continuous visual medium to recreate the emotion and spirit of the source, stripping away anything that cannot be translated. Although fairly close to the plot of . increase. .

“Daisy Jones & the Six” was a series-length rock-by-fourpic on Amazon Prime Video, and there was an open opportunity to rethink its source material. , told the story of a fictional Fleetwood Mac-like supergroup in oral history format. As Eleanor Henderson wrote in her review of the novel for The Times, “The script format inherently limits access to the character’s innermost self.”

Unfortunately, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s adaptation (“500 Days of Summer”) clumsily fills in the gaps. While the series devotes much of its energy to staging the novel’s major performances and musical moments (which inevitably left much to the reader’s imagination), it also fleshes out personal drama and art. The result is an audio companion that is faithful enough to the novel. As standalone television, it plays like a clumsy “This Is Us” flashback.

If “Daisy Jones” ends up being a lethargic cover band, Prime Video’s “Dead Ringers” is a brilliantly reckless experiment. That genetic material is the 1988 David Cronenberg body horror film (which itself is loosely based on the novel. itself echoed true story), about the descent into madness of a pair of twin gynecologists played by Jeremy Irons.

The six-episode series reimagines its two main characters, idealistic obstetrician Beverly Mantle and ambitious biomedical researcher Elliott Mantle, each clearly portrayed by Rachel Weisz. , you might forget that she is the only one.

By reversing the lead’s gender, it reconstructs the original film’s idea about the bloody machine of childbirth, rooting the story in female reality rather than abstract horror, but the series does much more than that. It’s a stark absurdist comedy, a sibling psychodrama, and an ironic look at venture capital medicine and privilege. (The sisters court an immoral opioid heiress, played by Jennifer Ealy.) Weisz and writer Alice Burch create a fantastic monster that firmly answers the questions too many adaptations have groped. Created: Why bother and why now?

The same cannot be said for Paramount+’s revision of the 1987 erotic thriller Fatal Attraction. Lizzie Caplan and Joshua Jackson are the protagonists of a criminally goofy case. The update has good intentions, and Caplan expands on the problematic bunny-boiling obsession played by Glenn Close. On the one hand, it ends up being a boring, conceited echo of high-class marriage dramas like “The Affair” (which also starred Jackson).

I think it’s fitting that a drama about infidelity falls into the trap of honesty. After all, adaptation is not marriage. At best, it’s an open relationship. Loyalty is a great quality in real life, but when it comes to fiction, betrayal inevitably makes for a better story.

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