I know, the title of this blog may seem blasphemous, but hear me out.
As readers, we’re loyal to the source material and no movie or TV show could ever adapt our favourite books the way they deserve. I myself am a strong believer that the book is always better, but in some rare cases I think we can argue that the movie/TV show was ACTUALLY better.
In the cases I will present, the TV show or movies add something that the book was missing. They build on the world or characters or adapt the plot in a far more interesting fashion. This is not to say the books are not still enjoyable in their own right, but for these 5 examples I would say that the book is not always better.
I’m going to start with one a lot of people might disagree with me on, but the Lord of the Rings movies were better than the books. I am a huge LotR fan. The books were one of the first series that really made me fall in love with reading. But, let’s be honest here, they’re not very digestible to a lot of readers. Tolkein really liked talking about trees. The movies took the world and characters that he created and really brought them to life. They made this beautiful story accessible to everyone. I didn’t even know about the books until Fellowship of the Ring came out (I was 7, I had no clue about adult fantasy yet). But once I got older I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the books. And I loved them, but the movies did something for me the books didn’t. They were just magical. I wanted to live in the Shire and dance on a table with Pippin and Merry. I wanted to ride horses through Rohan. I wanted to wake up in Rivendell. I wanted to live in Middle Earth.
Whenever people ask me what TV show is better than the books I say The 100. I loved this show when it first came out (although I still need to finish it still because I’m as bad at finishing TV series as I am finishing book series) and I immediately bought all the books in the series. The show gave me some huge expectations and these books didn’t live up to them at all. Honestly, it was like a completely different series. I’m not a fan of changing source material, but the TV show deviated far off the path from the books and it was for the best. The TV show took a great concept from the book and turned it into something bigger, more immersive, and way more interesting.
First, if you haven’t already, go watch this show! It’s basically Harry Potter meets Chronicles of Narnia for adults with phenomenal characters, quirky humour, spectacular magic and twists and turns everywhere. This is my favourite TV show ever if the first few sentences didn’t indicated that. That being said, I was excited to read the books. I haven’t finished reading the series yet, but honestly it’s because the first book, The Magicians, did nothing to capture my attention to read the whole series. The books in comparison to the TV show felt dry, undeveloped, and rushed. The first book covers four years of the main character’s university education and it feels quick and dirty. Grossman tries to build an immersive magical world, but it all felt half done and fell flat. On the other hand, the TV show took what Grossman created and ran with it in the most beautiful way. It slowed down the timeline, developed side characters (Margo and Elliot will be my favourites for life), created new plot lines, and built a magic system I wanted so bad to be a part of. The books didn’t capture my attention, but the show is impossible to stop watching.
I know we talk about Bridgerton a lot of on this blog, but can you blame us? It’s amazing. Samantha made me read the books before the show came out and I can honestly say that the books fall really flat in comparison. If you’ve seen the show you know how alive, colourful, and immersive it is. You fall in love with the Bridgerton family from the first second. The books were just “meh” in comparison. The writing falls off as the books progress and the thing that makes everyone love the books, the Bridgerton family, is not really the focus. I stopped caring about what happened after Colin’s story. Quinn’s characters are not as fleshed out in the book as the TV show. The show really brings them to life in a magical and mesmerizing way. I won’t be finishing the book series, but you bet I’ll be binging every single season on Netflix when they come out. I cannot wait for Anthony and Kate!
I love both of these and think they both are outstanding on their own. I watched the movie first and then discovered the series of books by Thomas Harris. I accredit those books to fostering my interest in crime and serial killers (before I got an English degree I wanted to be a Forensic Psychologist). While the book is really good, the movie was just *chef’s kiss*. The acting from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster brought the characters to life and there was such an element of horror, fear, and suspense in the movie that couldn’t be achieved in the book. I was on the edge of my seat the whole film. The movie just really sheds a new light on the book and brings Harris’ story to life in a fascinating and iconic way.
What movies or TV shows do you think were better than the book?