You may not be so keen on reading a classic novel, but how about watching George Clooney act it out?
Clooney has returned to the small screen in Catch-22, the latest adaptation of Joseph Heller’s novel set during World War II, now screening on Stan. It’s worlds away from his breakthrough ER role.
So why is TV the perfect medium for adapting page-busting novels? The biggest plus: TV isn’t restricted by time like cinema (although that didn’t stop Peter Jackson testing audience’s patience and bladders with his bum-numbingly epic Lord Of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies).
With hours available to slowly unfold a multi-character driven storyline peppered with sub-plots, prestige TV, now laden with bigger budgets and less restrictions, has become the modern day page-turner.
Take Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace, now given the mini-series treatment with an eclectic cast including Paul Dano (Escape At Dannemora), Lily James (Yesterday), Aussie Greta Scacchi and The Young Ones star Adrian Edmondson.
They combine to tell the story of five aristocratic families trying to survive Russia’s war with Napoleon. Only takes 6 hours and 19 minutes in total.
The BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice made the career of Colin Firth, forever linking him to Mr Darcy. And it gave viewers “one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history” when Darcy was seen in a wet shirt.
Given that the lastest version integrated the undead and bloody bonnets into the mix in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Firth incarnation of Mr Darcy showed all how it should be done.
It’s not just period dramas – just ask anyone who’s seen director Tobe Hooper’s mini-series adaptation of the classic Stephen King tome Salem’s Lot. The image of a young boy awoken by the sound of his now undead brother scraping on his bedroom window is scorched into their retinas.
It’s unnerving and terrifying in equal measure. Back in the late ’70s, TV may have had to pull punches when it came to graphic imagery but it still had the power to send a shiver down the spine.
That is the power of TV. To bring transgressive imagery into the lounge rooms of unsuspecting audiences.
When Richard Chamberlain starred in the 1980 adaptation of Shogun, it included a graphic and bloody beheading, the first ever shown on network television.
And now, as the goriest TV show in history, Game Of Thrones, has ended, the hunt is on for the next literary adaptation.