Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

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Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Col Klink » Feb 08, 2019 6:24 pm

When Netflix announced they were going to make "series and film projects" based on the Narnia books, people, including myself, were a little confused. Would some of the books be adapted as series and some as films? Probably what Netflix meant was that they weren't sure at that point whether it would be a movie series or a television series. (Maybe they still aren't.) But the idea of different books being adapted to different was actually met pretty positively. So I thought it would be fun to discuss which medium we would prefer for each book.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

I'd rather this be adapted as a movie. While a slower paced miniseries could include some exposition which would not be included in a movie, I'm almost sure that Netflix's LWW is going to be a bad adaptation. Because the book is the most iconic of the Chronicles and the Walden movie seems to be pretty popular with audiences, Netflix is going to want their version to be as different as possible from what people expect. That might be nice if it meant they were trying to closer to the book. But we all know that's not what they're going to do. So I'd rather they get The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe over as soon as possible.

Prince Caspian

This book tends to be most people's least favorite so a lot of people would also prefer it be as short as possible. But I think a miniseries would have more time to focus on Caspian's childhood which is important. They would also have more opportunities to show that some Telmarines are also ProNarnia. (The Walden movie tried to do this by making the characters of Glozelle and Prunaprismia more sympathetic than their literary counterparts with debatable success.)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Slower pacing would also be really good for this book because it has so many different locations and so much of it is about creating atmosphere. It is true that some parts, such as the Silver Sea, would be awesome to see on the big screen but I'm guessing Netflix won't make any theatrically released Narnia movies (if they make any) until they've established a big fanbase for this franchise and have more experience creating content for the cinema. While a miniseries would be better, I don't think it needs to be a really long miniseries. We don't need one episode per island. Deathwater could adequately dramatized in ten minutes. Three or four hours long should be good.

The Silver Chair

I'm up for either a movie or a miniseries. An episodic format would be more likely to include the book's multiple climaxes and a longer running time would be more likely to include Jill and Eustace's brief stay at Cair Paravel. On the other hand, parts of the story are a bit predictable (like the Harfang giants planning to eat the main characters) and that might be less annoying if they get it out of their system quickly. And it would be cool to see it on the big screen if that's on the table.

The Horse and his Boy

Right now I'm leaning towards a miniseries. HHB is one book where I definitely don't mind them expanding on action/suspense scenes. This isn't because I think the story was boring and desperately needed this. It's because the action and suspense was so good, I'd love more of it. So I'm up for a longer running time.

The Magician's Nephew

I really want to see (a good version of) this story on the big screen. But if Netflix makes this one first it'll probably not be for theatrical release for reasons I've mentioned above. I still think it would be better as a movie than as a miniseries though. While some parts require a lot of exposition, it's a simple story on the whole and might be best told in a simple straightforward way.

The Last Battle

This one should be a movie, I feel, because of the tonal change in the last section. I think audiences will be less jarred by the first two thirds of a movie being dark and depressing and the final third being bright and joyous than they will be by a TV series with all of the majority of the episodes being dark and depressing and the final handful of them being bright and joyous. Also because there isn't any conflict in the Real Narnia section of the book, I'm afraid a miniseries will either change the story so that there are cliffhangers or rush through it. LB is going to be a tough book to adapt in any case but I wish Netflix luck.
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby fantasia » Feb 08, 2019 8:35 pm

I'm not going to post my individual thoughts for each book right now, but I was thinking about this a while back. The conclusion I came to was that I could see all seven books work well as a tv series. But I couldn't see all of them working well as a movie, particularly VDT. VDT is just begging to be a series.

I DO think I'd prefer consistency whatever route they go. The idea of mixing and matching is weird to me unless they did an opening "pilot episode" where it's basically a movie, and then run with a series after that.
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Cleander » Feb 09, 2019 1:26 pm

I'm still wavering between saying all the books should be movies, with a series reserved for spin-offs, and saying all but the Voyage of the Dawn Treader should be movies.
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Col Klink » Feb 11, 2019 8:00 am

I DO think I'd prefer consistency whatever route they go. The idea of mixing and matching is weird to me unless they did an opening "pilot episode" where it's basically a movie, and then run with a series after that.


I'm guessing that they probably will do them consistently but if they do end up doing both movies and miniseries, the first and last books to be adapted will be movies. (Since both of those were ones I wanted to be movies, that makes me happy.) ;)

I'd generally prefer movies to miniseries (though I don't hate the idea of miniseries or anything.) I'm a little scared people will be offended by my reason. :ymblushing: It might sound like I don't think the Narnia books have a lot of depth. I do. But I can read each of the books in one day. If I had a free day, I could read more than one of them before it was over. Binge watching a miniseries takes days. I think movies would be truer to the spirit of the books in that way. Plus none of the ideas that I've heard fans suggest for expanding the stories, such as backstories for Charn or the LOTGK, appeal to me. They all sound very fanfiction-y. Of course, that doesn't mean Netflix couldn't come up with ideas that I would like.
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Reepicheep775 » Feb 14, 2019 10:39 am

That's a really good point about PC, Col Klink! The stuff that was cut from the Walden PC film, necessary or not, is probably my biggest gripes with it. If PC was a miniseries, then Caspian's story leading up to the blowing of the horn could all fit in the first episode! There might be some more breathing room for the Romp at the end as well.

With that in mind, I think I would like to them to mix and match. The rest of the books could be movies because I don't see any reason for lengthening them and doing so would probably only mean adding a bunch of extra stuff to Lewis's stories. Maybe they could combine PC and VDT into one series (provided they give each book the attention they deserve and not rush through PC like BBC did) and call it Caspian X or King of Narnia or something. Then we would have five movies and one series.
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Col Klink » Feb 14, 2019 11:50 am

Maybe they could combine PC and VDT into one series (provided they give each book the attention they deserve and not rush through PC like BBC did) and call it Caspian X or King of Narnia or something.


How would you feel about adding The Silver Chair to that mix and doing all the Caspian stories in one series? (I don't have any reason to believe they're considering this. I just thought it might be a fun thing to imagine.)
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Reepicheep775 » Feb 14, 2019 5:48 pm

Col Klink wrote:
Maybe they could combine PC and VDT into one series (provided they give each book the attention they deserve and not rush through PC like BBC did) and call it Caspian X or King of Narnia or something.


How would you feel about adding The Silver Chair to that mix and doing all the Caspian stories in one series? (I don't have any reason to believe they're considering this. I just thought it might be a fun thing to imagine.)

I considered that, but I have two reasons for thinking it should be PC and VDT only. Firstly, Caspian plays a major role in those stories, but only a minor role in SC. And secondly, I think SC is one of the books that is best suited for a film, so I think I'd rather see that.
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Feb 14, 2019 7:53 pm

As a general rule, I'm very much in favor of turning the books into miniseries, just because there's hardly anything in the books that I think is expendable and I want all the scenes. ;)) Plus, Lewis left us so many breadcrumbs that could be explored and expanded, provided we have the right creative minds at work.

That said, there are a couple that I think are less suited for the miniseries treatment: The Magician's Nephew and The Silver Chair. Out of the seven, I think that they are probably the two stories that would be the easiest to adapt to film. While there are some scenes I really don't want to see cut (e.g. the Snow Dance in SC), neither story has enough glossed-over scenes or expandable material that justifies a multi-episode extravaganza, imo. I wouldn't be happy if they added a bunch of fanfiction-y filler to those stories just to make them fit the miniseries mold.

Reepicheep775 wrote:Maybe they could combine PC and VDT into one series (provided they give each book the attention they deserve and not rush through PC like BBC did) and call it Caspian X or King of Narnia or something. Then we would have five movies and one series.


Ahhh, I would love that! Please take note, Netflix. ;)

Col Klink wrote:How would you feel about adding The Silver Chair to that mix and doing all the Caspian stories in one series?


While I do think that SC would work better as a film, I can't help but be struck by the poetry of the Caspian trilogy ending with his resurrection in the stream in Aslan's Country... I would need a box of tissues, for sure.

(In general, I think grouping the stories as series and movies based on the era they appear in Narnian history is a compelling idea: MN on its own, then LWW and HHB, then PC/VDT/SC, and finally LB.)
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby JFG II » Feb 16, 2019 10:03 pm

This is ever so slightly off-topic, so please bear with me.
I’m of a mind that the first 3 books in publication order would make good teivision (3 hr+ long miniseries’ each) while the last 4 books would make great feature films (2-2.5 hr movies each). The adaptations that haven’t be adapted to the silver screen yet should have that chance. Movies shown in theaters command so much attention and have such gravitas, compared to movies that just float around on Netflix. Take Roma, which is up for Best Picture at the Oscars this year. Those last 4 Narnia books deserve to be seen.

If new Chronicles of Narnia adaptations are going to be made in publication order (which I think is the right way to go, kid actors aging etc) TV projects should come first, given that it’s Netflix, and Netflix excels at making good TV material even as it struggles to make good movies. This way gives Netflix the opportunity to make feature films that might be theatrically released later. You know, one miniseries or film per year, every year, from December 2020 to December 2026, or something. Hey, I can still dream at this point.

Miniseries 1, 2 & 3
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Feature Films 4, 5, 6 & 7
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician’s Nephew
The Last Battle

I know there’s not much hope of Narnia ever going back to the big screen. (It’s all so vague: Netflix did not specifically state that they were adapting the books at all. They just said they got the rights to all 7 and were going to make a universe of projects based on C. S. Lewis’s Narnia.) So of course I’m hoping the Netflix movie Roma will be crowned Best Picture at the Oscars next week. Maybe Netflix will then attract wide theatrical distributions for their own movies. Hmm...
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Cleander » Feb 17, 2019 4:13 pm

Welcome to the forum, JFGII!
I'm not that pessimistic yet about the future of Narnia adaptations. Netflix bought the rights, so unless they were deliberately planning to adapt them, they just wasted money. I don't speak from expertise on how all that works; just common sense. Which means I could be wrong.
Since we already had the first three books made into movies, I would be OK with them just making the others full-length. It would be easier to imagine that the Walden movies were just continuing with the books they haven't done. :D
Oh, for a glimpse at what they're planning... or if they're planning at all...
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby JFG II » Apr 21, 2019 4:51 pm

I’ll give this another try: (Vol. 1)
Chronological adapting:

The Magicians Nephew would work best as a [pilot] movie, preferably under 2 hours long. It’s a simple book with lots of exposition and lots of descriptions with not so much action in its plot.
Chapters 1-2: all over in 15 minutes flat.
Chapters 3-5: all over in less than 20 minutes.
Chapters 6-7: all over in less than 15 minutes.
Chapters 8-11: all over in about 30 minutes.
Chapters 12-13: all over in maybe 15 minutes.
Chapters 14-15: all over in less than 15 minutes.
End Credits: Approx. 10 minutes long or less.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would work as a 3-hour long miniseries or one-half of a season with 8 total 45-minute long episodes:
1st Episode: Chapter 1-4
2nd Episode: Chapters 5-9
3rd Episode: Chapters 10-13
4th Episode: Chapters 14-17

The Horse and His Boy would work as either miniseries or one-half of a season:
1st Episode: Chapters 1-4
2nd Episode: Chapters 5-8
3rd Episode: Chapters 9-11
4th Episode: 12-15 (End of Vol. 1)
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby JFG II » Apr 25, 2019 10:07 am

(Vol. 2)

Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
Either a miniseries or a half of a TV season
Episode 1: Chapters 1-3
Episode 2: Chapters 4-7
Episode 3: Chapters 8-11
Episode 4: Chapters 12-15

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Either a miniseries of a half of a TV season
Episode 1: Chapters 1-4
Episode 2: Chapters 5-8
Episode 3: Chapters 9-12
Episode 4: Chapters 13-16

The Silver Chair
Either a movie or half of a TV season
Episode 1: Chapters 1-4
Episode 2: Chapters 5-8
Episode 3: Chapters 9-11
Episode 4: Chapters 12-16

The Last Battle
Either a movie or half of a TV season
Episode 1: Chapters 1-4
Episode 2: Chapters 5-8
Episode 3: Chapters 9-12
Episode 4: Chapters 13-16

I have my doubts about all this, and yet I think this is what will happen when the books are adapted. Narnia is up in the air. Waiting for an adaptation...
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby Cleander » Apr 25, 2019 2:39 pm

I'm actually leaning more in the other direction with how I want the books segmented. Unless the episodes are 30 minutes long, 4-episode book adaptations just might allow too much room for unnecessary, non-canonical expansion (may it be anathema!)
I think I feel this way just because I'm used to the 2 or 2.5 hour movies. (Even so, there was still room to add stuff. Or butcher the original story...) If each episode is one hour, or even 45 minutes like JFGII suggested, we're talking about 3 to 4 hour movies here. Even a thorough adaptation doesn't have to be that long.
My ultimate wish is that the series will come out as single, full-length movies. (Have I said that before? I think I have. Maybe I'll say it again someday. Or maybe something will change my mind...)
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Re: Individual Books: Better as Shows or Movies?

Postby fledge1 » May 01, 2019 1:12 pm

I would love for them all to be a series. Just tell the whole story, fill in the blanks.
I am not a huge fan of making movie and series. Stick with one or the other. However I LOVE several of the ideas in this thread!
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