I love reading. Almost as much, I love reading the book turned into a show or movie followed by watching the show or movie. It helps if I know the book exists beforehand. Game of Thrones, most of Philip K Dick stories, most of Stephen King stories. I’ve been reading the Sookie Stackhouse books (by Charlaine Harris) so I can watch True Blood. I knew before going into this that the show was not accurate to the books. In a not so strange coincidence, Under the Dome by Stephen King has aired as a TV show. This one is also not true to the book. Normally, I get so invested in the original, that the visual equivalent doesn’t appeal as much. These two series have changed with good differences.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
SHOWS AND BOOKS
I read Dead Until Dark before watching TB season 1. Right off the bat, Tara is an addition not in the book but she’s in the show. Actually, there’s a Tara’s Togs in Living Dead In Dallas, as well as a former classmate of Sookie’s. Neither of these fit the lifelong friend and sometime guardian of our telepathic narrator. Because we only hear what Sookie hears and says, Tara serves as one of the voices that would be missed from Sookie’s narration in the books.
Another change is the addition of Bill’s past. We see him before he was turned. We see who turned him. As punishment for staking Longshadow, he’s forced to be Maker to Jessica, another addition to the show.
Andy says he’s not a drinker, though he drinks heavily in LDID, so this might be another scrapped character trait.
As of this post, I have one more episode to watch in the 1st season. I read the 1st two books. We see the Maenad early, interacting with Tara as a new twist. We get the extra story of Tara and Lettie. We get the love triangles of Bill-Sookie-Sam-Tara-Jason-Amy (another addition to the show) and possibly Lafayette thrown in there too.
While the books are about a girl with a “disability” trying to fit in and find love, the show seems more focused on discrimination and acceptance as well as the battle with drug use, addiction, and identity. Jason goes from straight laced romeo, to desperate addict and V-user, V being slang for Vampire blood. Lafayette deals with discrimination with one of his clients, a senator pushing for stricter vampire laws.
LDID feels a bit off from DUD. The story starts off with Lafayette’s death and then goes into the struggle between vampires, the Fellowship of the Sun, and shapeshifters. Then we get back to finding out who killed Lafayette, with mention of a cousin, in a little rush at the end with a tie-in with the maenad from the beginning.
Season One ends with Lafayette’s disappearance and Andy getting drunk in the bar, only to find a body with painted toes in the back of his car. Season Two begins with the body not belonging to Lafayette. And so the major skew into non-book material begins.
So far I like the difference between the books and show. I wasn’t as impressed with LDID than I was with DUD. My only issue with the show is Sookie goes from incredibly smart to dumb as snot too much.
Under The Dome
I read Under the Dome last year. The Stand is my favorite standalone King book. UTD was the newest big book for King. I went in knowing it wouldn’t be as good as The Stand. I really enjoyed UTD, despite the ending. It felt rushed and removed. The story focuses on the struggles of Chester’s Mill’s inhabitants (plus a few out-of-towners) after being encased in a sock shaped dome. The ending comes along and wipes out the focus on the people. There is clean resolution with the exception of the dome. It’s gone but they have no guarantee it will stay gone. Good struggles with Evil. Evil gets the upper hand. Good comes from behind and prevails in the end. Standard King fare with the varying horror and macabre bits thrown in.
The show goes in a trimmed (abridged?) version of the book. Barbie is shown in a struggle with someone (Julia Shumway’s husband) at the beginning. Barbie kills him, setting up a “Barbie’s not such a nice guy” feel. From the book, we know he’s ex-military. The show skips the confrontation with Junior and his friends, where they fight Barbie in the bar’s parking lot.
Duke doesn’t die until the end of the first episode. Junior doesn’t kill his girlfriend and instead locks her in the storm cellar, where I assume Big Jim will still meet his end. Big Jim isn’t the clear cut asshole and dictator we see in the book. Barbie doesn’t work in the bar. Missing is the newspaper journalism; instead we have the radio station with no sign of a methhead at the helm of the jockeying.
I have no issue with any of the changes so far. Typically, I get peeved when books are altered to make a show or movie. Not so with UTD. The changes so far haven’t hurt my love of the book or enjoyment of the show. I watched the 2nd episode with a bit of calm reserve. Big Jim isn’t the big jerk yet. I wonder if the idea is to build sympathy for him. Or maybe the idea is there are no bad people in Chester’s Mill, just bad ideas. We see conflict with the dome’s inhabitants and them with the dome. I guess I shouldn’t forget the Reverend’s actions with burning some paperwork and his involvement with the propane hoarding. Maybe Big Jim leveled the burning house to get rid of the evidence instead of thinking of looking like the hero.
I’m onboard with the good vs. evil being more gray than black and white. A bit of irony there if the aliens turn out to be gray as well. I get the cuts need to be made to trim a book of 1000+ pages into 13 hours. What makes me leary is how would this be expanded to another season, especially if the dome is gone by episode 13. We will see. I plan to watch each episode this season. I purposely have not gone to IMDB to see who is who, because every character has their episodes listed, thus revealing any possible endings.
It’s too early to know if the series is going to pan out favorably. I’m optimistic.