Why Netflix should make more shows out of books

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Published in the January 25, 2017 issue of The Bells

I can’t speak for everyone, but I grew up as a quiet kid—one who would rather have his nose in a book than do almost literally anything else.
Having free time meant more time to read.
As technology improved and animation and film advanced, I got to see many of the books I read become movies, and in some cases, shows. One of my childhood favorites, A Series of Unfortunate Events, has recently come to Netflix and well exceeded my expectations.

The first four books in Lemony Snicket’s thirteen-book series has been made into a series, with each book making up a 45-minute episode.
The creators did such a great job with this first installment that it gives me hope to see other former book series come to the media giant. Series like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have already been successful in their transition from print to the big screen, and others like Eragon or either of the Percy Jackson movies have attempted to make it, but just not quite live up to expectations.
But taking the time to split a series into episodes available to Netflix subscribers is an amazing idea, especially if they are as well done as Snicket’s books in terms of acting and in how meticulously they stick to the themes of the books.

I have a little bias when it comes to books being adapted for other media formats, because I always want them to be perfect, to capture all the actions and emotions of the characters, to make me feel the same way the book did.
It’s unrealistic to expect perfection, but in a show spread out among so many episodes, it’s easier to capture more of the essence of the stories we fell in love with.
Trying to smash a book that took over 500 pages to convey a story into an hour and a half or even two-hour-long movie is unrealistic. Things must be cut, or it would be too long and much too expensive to produce.
But fortunately, for myself and other avid readers, TV shows are much less restricted when it comes to the amount of content they can include.

There are just so many different books to pick from that would make a great show.
Take for example Pseudonymous Bosch’s series, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, or James Patterson’s The Dangerous Days of Daniel X or Maximum Ride.
Sure, they’re kids’ books, but they still have the ability to be great shows.
It’s not like things intended for kids don’t capture the attention of adults anyway, especially when they carry nostalgic significance (*cough* Pokémon Go *cough*). The possibilities seem endless when it comes to what book series could be the next big hit. All it takes is a little attention and effort and a multi-million dollar budget.

Author: Bryce Keller

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