History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Comparing Books and TV/Movies

Cyberpunk cityOnce upon a time, I was one of those people who always insisted on reading a book before watching the movie or TV show it was based on. This failed spectacularly when it came to V for Vendetta–I finished reading the graphic novel DAYS before I saw the movie, and then came out of the movie complaining about how different it was. Because of this and other similar reactions, Jeremy has finally convinced me that if I want to love a movie or TV show, maybe I shouldn’t read the book first.

I didn’t take his advice when it came to American Gods, deciding I wanted to reread the book right before the show started. In that case, I only complained minorly about a couple of tweaks that they made to the plot. But none of them have been quite substantial enough to really annoy me. And in this case, I know that Neil Gaiman is involved with the show, and he’s agreeing to the changes that are being made. I trust him enough to suspect that he’s making these changes for a reason.

When it came to Altered Carbon, however, I didn’t read the book first. I ordered it when we had a couple of episodes left, but I waited until we were done to start reading it. And I think, overall, I’m glad that I did. There were a number of changes between the book and the TV show. But having watched first and read second, I’m better able to sit back and consider the changes from a storytelling perspective. Why did they make this change? To raise the stakes for the character in the show. Why did they combine those two characters into a single character? To simplify things.

At any rate, if you haven’t watched Altered Carbon, you should. And if you’ve watched it and enjoyed it, check out the book too, and see what you think about the differences!


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