Saying apologetic is hardly aberrant in the apple of television these canicule – aloof ask the macho allocation of the Arrested Development casting or Lena Dunham. But it’s rarer for addition to get their acknowledgment out afore they accept alike done annihilation wrong. Yet, that’s what Damon Lindelof, a man not absolutely green to accepting fan blowback over his artistic decisions, has adopted to do advanced of the filming of his adjustment of Watchmen, in an accessible letter to admirers of Alan Moore’s aboriginal superhero novel.
“My name is Damon Lindelof and I am a writer. I’m additionally the arrant adulterated currently agnostic article you love,” begins an continued five-page cannonball that zigs and zags amid contrition, self-absorption, anxious absorption and ultimately a aggressive mission statement.
Why did Lindelof feel the charge to affair this pre-emptive apologia? Well, for one, Watchmen is a assignment that charcoal decidedly aggressive to adaptation, with Moore himself appealing aboveboard in his acceptance that it should abide a banana and annihilation else. (But it additionally apparently has abundant to do with Lindelof’s affairs for Watchman. His adjustment will not be a sequel, accommodate or reboot, but rather what he calls a remix, aggressive by the “tradition of the work” but set in a altered time aeon with new characters, new questions and an analysis of Moore’s apple admitting a “fresh lens”.
In the generally stultifyingly bourgeois apple of fandom, area alike the aboriginal act of tinkering to the antecedent actual prompts a flurry of down-votes on Rotten Tomatoes, Lindelof’s access feels bold, alike heretical. Yet, it’s additionally arguably sensible. We are, afterwards all, alone nine years on from Zach Snyder’s big-screen adjustment of Watchmen, an adjustment that about provided a shot-for-shot amusement of Moore’s original. Completists aside, would audiences tune in to watch addition affectionate adjustment so anon afterwards Snyder’s? In such a media landscape, activity off-script provides an adept band-aid to a baffling problem.
Reaching a agnate cessation to Lindelof are the showrunners abaft Amazon’s eye-wateringly big-ticket Lord of the Rings TV series, whose aboriginal division will reportedly skip the axial storyline from Tolkein’s books and instead chase the adventures of a adolescent Aragorn. Again, this seems wiser than a beeline retelling, accustomed that Peter Jackson’s ample – and arguably absolute – blur leash adjustment looms ample over proceedings. At the aforementioned time though, the antecedent actual actuality is a adequately ashen history taken from Tolkein’s appendices, necessitating a fair bit of gap-filling and artistic license.
And that presents a risk, because contempo TV history tells us that activity off-script isn’t consistently successful. It hardly seems a accompaniment that the division of Game of Thrones broadly admired as the show’s weakest – division seven – was the one that featured abutting to annihilation from George RR Martin’s aboriginal novels. Show-runners Benioff and Weiss instead had to account a division arc about a attenuate outline provided them by Martin, and the aftereffect was a division bedridden by anemic appearance development and absurd plotting. Indeed, some commentators accept alike appropriate that Martin was the accurate ‘winner’ of division seven, whose abridgement of affection would alone body apprehension for his accessible sixth novel.
Meanwhile, there accept been ever-so-slight rumblings of bone adjoin division two of The Handmaid’s Tale, as the Hulu adjustment moves accomplished the end point of Margaret Atwood’s aboriginal book, and the air-conditioned ambiguity of that work’s cessation is set abreast for a added acceptable ballsy appearance arc.
Such are the perils of adorning addition else’s creation, with its appropriate cadences and rhythms. (After all, if assuming the Atwoods and Tolkeins of this apple was easy, added bodies would attack it.) The simplest solution, you’d wager, is to assurance analogously creatively absent bodies to acquaint new stories, rather than consistently award old IP to boggle with.
That doesn’t assume acceptable to happen, however, so instead, conceivably the best tactic for any appearance activity off calligraphy is to run as far abroad from the antecedent actual as possible. Intriguingly, one being who has done that is – you estimated it – Damon Lindelof with his adjustment of Tom Perrotta’s end-of-days atypical The Leftovers. For the show’s hardly bleak aboriginal season, Lindelof actual abundant went by the book, anxiously archetype over Perrotta’s adventure of a New York accompaniment town’s acknowledgment to a rapture-like event.
But things got absorbing back The Leftovers ran out of antecedent actual in division two, bidding Lindelof and Perrotta to rip up the script, alteration the show’s setting, characters and tone, and demography adventuresome storytelling risks such as a amazing aperture arena set tens of bags of years in the past. It maintained the sprit and capacity of The Leftovers, but advised them from an absolutely different, thrillingly aboriginal angle. If Lindelof can do the aforementioned with Watchmen, we may accept some appearance on our hands.
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