Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Favorite Book-to-TV Adaptation

This week's book, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, and its sequels, spawned a TV adaptation that I personally have never seen. But that means we're choosing our favorite book-to-TV adaptations today!

Magic School Bus Complete Series DVD.jpg

Mine happens to be a children's book series, too! I loved the Magic School Bus book series as a kid. I can't even pick a favorite (though I do remember liking the undersea one a lot).

I didn't watch the show as a kid, but it's all available streaming on Netflix now, so I watched a few episodes. It's exactly like the books: cheesy, ridiculously 1990s, and totally fictional while still somehow being educational.

The worst part about the show - which is not a problem with the books - is the voice acting. It's just... awful. But it's a 1990s cartoon and you can only expect so much from that.

The best part about the TV series is that, at the end of each episode, they have a third-party character reading "mail" from "viewers" about how things in the show weren't accurate. (You can't fit a bus in a blood vessel; dinosaurs can't talk; the bus would melt in a volcano; etc.) It's a fun way to make the meat of the show work, but also point out to kids that it's fiction, and throw in a few fun facts without sounding like you're teaching.

Mine is a little more... adult than Alex's, and also shouldn't really be that big of a surprise.

Game of Thrones is a great series and HBO translated it well to TV.  They kept a lot from the books in the show, which, considering how long the books are (book three is almost 1000 pages, and I have the LARGE paper back version, with teeny, tiny print) that's a big accomplishment.

Also, it's cast well.  The characters are very much what you imagine that they would look like in your head (with the possibly exception of Tyrion.  He's a lot prettier in the TV show then he is in the books but, well, that's television for you.  Everyone has to be pretty.)  They stick pretty well to how Martin describes them in the books (IE Cersei and Jamie are both blondes, as opposed to say, brunettes.)  I think that's HUGE because a lot of times, they change it to get big name actors (like in Cold Mountain) and the look of people actually plays a really big part in this series.

It's a great series, if you aren't already watching it (which, let's face it, most of you probably are.)  I hope it continues to stay that good.

Just FYI, if The Tudors had been adapted from a book and not, you know, from history, that would TOTALLY be my favorite book-to-tv show.


  1. I adore the Magic School Bus. Those were some of my favorite books as a kid, and I loved the show. I will confess that I had a dream once where I was best friends with the characters (and the characters from Saved By the Bell) and in the dream they walked and talked and interacted with real people but were still animated.

    I am one of those who is not watching Games of Thrones. Its not that I don't want to watch it, because I do, but because I do not get the channel its on. I want to read the books as well.

    I would say that my favorite book to show adaption would be Wishbone, but I think the show actually came first. But man did I love that show, and I loved those books. I still have about 15 of the Wishbone books. Some are classics, and are mysteries, and some are romance. Wishbone introduced me to Pride and Prejudice, which may be why I didn't care for the book. Since I'd seen so many adaptions that cut out the boring parts of the book, I had less tolerance when reading them.

    1. Every since I saw the magic school bus/Captain Planet comparison, I just can't even unsee it.

      I think that you can watch Game of Thrones on HBO's website. Or, if you have the DVDs on Netflix, you can get the disks.

      I've never actually seen Wishbone. That's sad about ruining Pride & Prejudice for you though. I love that book.

  2. Lol. I've seen that several times already. It makes me laugh everytime. I'm not really sad about Pride & Prejudice. I can recognize that its a good book, and I understand why its a classic, there are just certain things I don't like about the book, particularly the cousin. His part was cut down a lot in the tv and film adaptions that I've seen.