TV shows based on books – should they stay true?

By Erin Clarkethe-walking-dead-daryl-movie-625653

Most shows are made with brilliant scripts, amazing backdrops and a series of characters that the viewer falls in love with -but sometimes that stuff doesn’t come from a showrunner, the writers or the director – sometimes these things are based on previously released novels or graphic novels that are both beloved and worshipped.  So what happens when an amazing tv show is made from these works, such as Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, but they don’t stay true to the source material they are based on?  Do the showrunners owe anything to the built in fan base or are the show and the material two separate entities unto themselves.

When you talk to the different genre fans, you generally get one of three answers, especially in the case of the above mentioned shows, “I don’t care about the books, I just like the show”, “They aren’t staying true to the books but that’s fine, I still like the show” and “They are creating a blasphemous pile of garbage and therefore I am not watching!!!”  These shows are taking a lot of flak from the hardcore readers of the source material but in their defence, the shows never said they were going to stick totally to the storyline.  Did the mistake come by calling the show the exact titles of the books?  Justified is based on multiple pieces of work by Elmore Leonard, True Blood is based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series and Sons of Anarchy draws its road to the end based on the Shakespeare play Hamlet, these shows don’t get near the comparisons and ire the same way that The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones does.game-of-thrones

Brienne is supposed to be bigger and harsher to look at, ‘Shane didn’t die at that point of the story’ and ‘that’s not how it happened in the book’ are the things the diehards most definitely scream at the TV.   The interesting thing about the changes that have been made to The Walking Dead that seems to raise the least amount of anger in fans of the graphic novel series is the addition of the Dixon brothers, especially Norman Reedus’ brilliantly played Daryl.  (who it can be argued is the most adored by the ladies and the most revered of all the survivors of the zombie apocalypse.)

So what do we do with the tv vs. book series showdown?  Do you feel one is always tied exclusively to the other or that the influence of the source material is enough?  Tyrion Lannister was supposed to be much uglier and more deformed than he is portrayed on GoT, but with that being said, the role is being played to absolute lip-smacking perfection by Peter Dinklage and without his award winning performance would we tune in each week to see what that mischievous character is up to? I don’t think so, but then again, I only read the first book.  What do you think? Opinions on the showdown?  Tweet me at erinl_clarke