Why Mini-Series Are The Best Option For Transmediation
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Why Mini-Series Are The Best Option For Transmediation

Don't judge a book by its screenplay.

Why Mini-Series Are The Best Option For Transmediation

As an avid reader and media-lover, I have constantly sung the tune of, “The book was better.” What a curious reaction considering these are separate mediums, even if the screenplay was adapted from the novel. However, I wasn’t the only one who saw such reactions. Everywhere online there are articles of what movies left out or how television adaptations weren’t up to par with the book series. Hundreds of book-lovers complain about how they weren’t able to visually ingest what they had read and reread countless times. They don’t want movies to cut anything, but also want them to be manageable, and they want television series to stick to the books, but not run the stories for so long that they become their own entity. So, the question remains: what is the best medium for novel adaptations?

Nobody wants the above reaction happening to them. Readers want to bond with those individuals who don’t want to read the books without seeming pretentious. Film-viewers don’t want to be yelled at by book-readers because they didn’t know every minute detail about the plot that was left out.

Movies are, on average, an hour and a half to two hours long. Novels vary in length from around 200 pages to over one thousand. Clearly, not all of that will be fit into the movie. Although, some things can be eliminated in a couple of seconds on screen. Scenery, apparel, and characters' emotions can all happen in a matter of seconds, whereas they can take up at least half a page per section of the novel. Yet plot points get moved around and additions get made to the script. For example, Dobby the House Elf was cut out of the majority of the “Harry Potter” film franchise. Readers who had seen Dobby several times throughout the novels since he was introduced in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” were disappointed to not see all his acts reflected on screen. Now, the creators of the film series most likely wanted to save their animation budget for other scenes, like a dragon fight and magic; it hit a sore spot for those who knew Neville wasn’t the one to find the Room of Requirement. This is one of the smaller changes to the film.

Films are great mediums for novels. However, you won’t be able to get every detail into them. There just isn’t enough time. Even for the “Divergent” series, they changed an integral part to the ending of “Allegiant” so they could continue with a fourth and final film. I’m excited to see if they remain true to the original ending of the novels, but for spoiler’s sake, I shall not post it here. Since you can’t have everything from the book in a movie, then you have to accept that changes will be made to the screenplay in order to make sense. Films are great mediums for novels, but I believe they are not the best.

Television series appear to have the opposite problem. They can fit every detail they want into the series, but changes are still made. In popular shows such as “Game of Thrones,” we see many changes that are considered damaging to the show. For example:

Personally, I have heard numerous people stop watching "Game of Thrones" because of the rape scenes and violence toward women added to the show. For example, during the dreaded “Red Wedding” episode, Rob Stark’s wife was not present in the books. This means that even though she all but disappears in the book series, there was a sliver of a chance that her child might come back in one of the two books not yet published. Since the television series has now been on air long enough to catch up to the book series, it has now begun to divert from them. This is a different case entirely, though.

“Game of Thrones” runs into the problem of not having enough books to catch up, whereas a series like “Vampire Diaries” is basically an entirely different series than the novels. They have changed the series so much it barely resembles the novels they were based on because they wanted to keep the series on for as long as they could rather than end where the novels end. I do love the television series, and I respect their artistic choice to change numerous things. However, it was a let-down to see it wasn’t very similar to what happened in the books.

Television series are also wonderful for transmediation of books, but they don’t appear to be the best choice. Because you run the risk of creating practically a completely different series, this doesn’t seem to be the optimal choice for book adaptations. But what about middle ground?

Mini-series are the best choice for transmediation of literature, in my opinion. By having a medium that is longer than a movie series but shorter than a television series, you are able to fit all the details into the show while still allowing for artistic changes to help make the screenplay flow cohesively.

With this medium, this reaction will still happen, but it will be better off because there won’t be the risk of changing something possibly important to the story later on. All viewers will be happy and the series will end on a more completed note rather than having something that is dragged on, an end seasons overdue. It is the perfect middle ground for all involved.

Even though I am not always pleased with how novels are adapted, I will never stop watching those adaptations. I think it’s wonderful to see how someone interprets a series and how that can change depending on who the director is and who is cast. I believe mini-series are the best option of adaptations but that, obviously, isn’t the only option, and shouldn’t be.

Having access to different mediums is a testimony for the technology we have become accustomed to. From movies to television to mini-series to even YouTube videos, adaptations allow for new takes on beloved reads. Whether someone reads the book before seeing an adaptation, after seeing an adaptation, or not at all, each medium allows for a different story. Mini-series are just the option that allows for the medium closest to the author’s original book.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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