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From 'Game of Thrones' to 'Gotham': Let's start embracing adaptations

We all have that book or graphic novel that holds a special place in our hearts—the one that knows exactly what emotions we’re feeling and what we’re going through, the one that understands us better than we understand ourselves, the one we would be hesitant to see made into a film or television series, the one that would need to be adapted so perfectly in order to encapsulate the magic of the original story.

Unfortunately, we live in an age of adaptions, of remakes, of sequels. Nothing’s new anymore. This year, we got four new comic book adaptions added to our TV screens: Gotham, The Flash, Constantine, and Agent Carter. That’s in addition to already running series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Walking Dead, not to mention the many series based on books, like Game of Thrones, Under the Dome, and The Strain.

With all of this adaptation going on, it’s high time that we make our peace with it. Here’s how:

It’s hard to let a story you love be changed, but sometimes change can be for the better. It’s hard to see a beloved story come to TV, where likely more people will hear about it, and the little hipster inside of you will scream that you loved it first. But sometimes, it gives us a new perspective on the world we love. And really, why wouldn’t you want to see another angle on a story you’re passionate about?

Take Batman, a character with a 75-year history worth of stories. Instead of using that, Gotham shows us what Gotham City looks like before Batman arrives. Many said you couldn’t do a Batman show without Batman. But why not? We’ve gotten seven Batman movies in the last 15 years, and another coming in 2016. Why not try something different at this point? We’ve seen Batman do his thing plenty of times, so now let’s see how those villains became who they are. Let’s see how Commissioner Gordon became the man we know in the comics and movies. Let’s see how Gotham City became the place that deserved Batman to begin with. Let’s see how Bruce Wayne grew up to be Batman.

Image Credit: ABC

Image credit: ABC

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. works to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and shows us what the day-to-day looks like there. When it was announced, fanboys and fangirls screamed in protest. No one will care about these new characters they’re making for the show. Why couldn’t they have just used already created characters from the comics? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn’t exactly been the critical or ratings darling ABC was hoping for, but it does just fine for itself and has a passionate fan base behind it. With this show, viewers get to see another side of the MCU, the nitty-gritty that the Avengers don’t have time to deal with themselves. This gives another layer to the MCU, making it feel all the more real and fully formed.

No matter how faithful the writers try to be to the source material, there will always be necessary changes. What’s great in a book or a comic isn’t necessarily going to be great or even possible on film. Often the story cannot be told the same way. Things will need to be cut out and reworked. For one thing, actors add a new layer to a character that isn’t present in books, and that can change the course of their arc.

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books are written from the perspectives of several different narrators. Because we can’t see characters’ thoughts on screen, this changes how scenes play out. The books are also about 1,000 pages each. In adapting these, Game of Thrones at first tried to do a book per season. As the show found its own footing and stories to tell, it has slowed down and sped up as it sees fit. The first season was a faithful adaptation, often down to the dialogue. As it has moved forward, the show has become its own story, and things are frequently different from the books now. Neither is better than the other, but they’ve evolved into distinctive versions of the same thing. In that way, it’s like we get double the story.

Image Credit: HBO

Image credit: HBO

The Walking Dead is another example of this. Robert Kirkman, the creator of the comic book series, is a writer on the show, so he gets to help cultivate the path it takes. They’ve successfully changed enough of the details from the comic that readers don’t know what’s going to happen in the show. It’s a beautiful thing that Kirkman now has the ability to take the story he started in print 10 years ago and tell it in a new way on screen. If he wants to keep a character alive longer or kill them sooner, he’s able to do it. If he wants to wrap a plotline up quicker or drag it out longer, he’s able to do it. It’s invigorating to see a creator get a chance to rewrite his own history.

There’s no end in sight for adaptations. There is an enormous number of adapted shows in development right now, including Marvel’s five-series deal with Netflix, which includes a Daredevil show. TNT is developing a new Teen Titans show, CBS is working on Supergirl, AMC is planning a Preacher show, and there are more still in the pipeline. Sure, some of these won’t end up seeing the light of day, but there are plenty of books and comics waiting to replace them.

We all get the need for that story you so identified with to be exactly how you pictured it in your head. Unfortunately, in reality, that’s not always going to happen; in fact, most of the time, it won’t. But if you really need it to be just like how you imagined, then you go be the one to make the movie, because God knows they’re going to make it either way.

You don’t have to like adaptions, but at least give them a chance to stand on their own. There’s always going to be that one story that holds a special place in your heart, but nothing can measure up to the pedestal you built for it unless you decide to look at it in a different light. To be sure, there is danger in adaptation—but it’s important to remember that adaptations can also be great. Sometimes you’ll get an Under the Dome, but hopefully, the rest of the time you’ll get a Game of Thrones.

Image Credit: CBS Ugh

Image credit: CBS

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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