We have all heard of and seen famous books being made into movies. Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Help, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Great Gatsby and so on and so on, the list is endless. But what about books that are being turned into TV shows? There are a few of those out there, such as Sherlock, based on the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, the hero of several books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Pride and Prejudice is yet another example of a book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, being turned into a TV series. Some of the more recent ones are Call the Midwife, based on Jennifer Worth’s The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times and Game of Thrones, based on the series of books, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin.
Let’s take a closer look at those two.
Call the Midwife is a great example of how book adaptations in TV can do the story more justice than a film could. Films are usually restricted to a running time of 2 or maximum 3 hours, but a TV show can have any number of episodes and run for any number of seasons (just think about the 27 seasons of the Bold and the Beautiful and they are still going strong). Jennifer Worth’s book describes her time as a nurse in London’s East End during the 1950ies. She depicts the stories of various mothers and their sometimes dramatic deliveries chapter by chapter and the TV show does the same, episode by episode. By having turned it into a series, rather than one single movie, creator Heidi Thomas can tell Jennifer Lee’s story as accurately as possible.
Another TV series adaptation I would like to take a closer look at is Game of Thrones. Having already mentioned that books being turned into TV shows allow for a more literal adaptation of the written work, what I would like to draw your attention to now is the following amazing fact, George R. R. Martin writes the script of one episode per season himself. So the creator of the book allows us a close look at what he himself envisioned when writing his story. That is truly a great opportunity for everyone out there watching to truly participate in the author’s vision. We can see what events he himself found important for the development of the story, better understand his characters motives and personalities, all in all George R. R. Martin is granting us entry into his own personal visualisation of the story, or at least parts of it.