Narnia on Netflix?

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What is your initial reaction to the idea of Narnia on Netflix?

Positive!
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Negative!
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Narnia on Netflix?

Postby fantasia » Sep 18, 2018 7:20 am

Well, this is quite a rumor that has surfaced, and as I told the other news posters, I bet this will be one of the most divisive in terms of positive and negative reactions should it turn out to be true.

So what do you all think about the idea of a Narnia series on Netflix? I actually am very positive about the idea right now. Netflix movies are still an up and coming thing. They have something to prove and so I find their quality to be higher than what movie studios are turning out these days. Smaller production (plus), more control over what's made, and I think we'll end up with a better final product.

Negatives include no big cinema release (and no lion parties!). And I bet we'd lose some of the known production company.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby narnia fan 7 » Sep 18, 2018 8:29 am

If true, my reaction would depend mostly on the format. If it were to be a series of Netflix films, I could get existed about the idea. But if were a TV show, which at the moment I would guess to be the more likely, then I wouldn't be too happy about it.

In general I prefer films over TV shows, and personally I don't think the Narnia books really lend themselves well to serialization. While I have enjoyed a couple of Netflix's shows, a common problem I've had with them is that they tend to stretch their respective stories out longer than necessary in order to fill a certain number of episodes. If a Narnia TV show were to be made, one of my fear would be them adding a bunch of unnecessary stuff just to fill an episode quota.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby Col Klink » Sep 18, 2018 8:32 am

I'm not voting because there wasn't a neutral option.

If the rumor is confirmed, I'll be sad because it means we won't see the movie version of "The Silver Chair." Which is funny because I'm actually not a particular fan of David Magee's movies but his script has been hyped so much that I'm honestly curious about it by now. No matter how good the Netflix series would be, I'd always be wondering what that unproduced script would have been like.

I'd be curious about the Netflix series too of course. But honestly not as much as a movie version. We've already had a tv series based on Narnia. Truth be told, the main reason I'd like there to be movies based on the Narnia is because there are so many fantastic images in the books and it'd be awesome to see those on the big screen. (Preferably with state of the art special effects.) No matter how good the series would be, it would feel like a pathetic consolation prize to me. It wouldn't matter if it was truer to the themes and characters than a movie would be. I already have the books themselves and the Radio Theatre audio dramas for that. What I want from a Narnia adaptation is something I can't get from those: a detailed and breathtaking visual depiction of my favorite scenes.

(Besides there's not much reason to believe it actually would be truer to the books than a Hollywood adaptation. While one person could have more control than they would with a major motion picture that means someone who really wasn't a fan of the books could be in charge. They might just take the premise and the names of the characters and go in their own direction.)

Besides I don't honestly like TV that much. It always feels like shows either go on far longer than they can keep the quality consistent or they get cancelled before they have a chance to really get going. Plus they rely on cliffhangers which annoy me.

I'm sorry this post is so negative. I really don't think a Narnia Netflix series would have to be bad. I just a movie would potentially be much better and if we get one, we can't get the other. It's great to see something happening in the Rumors section and I'm sure other people will have more optimistic things to say than I have.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby fantasia » Sep 18, 2018 9:37 am

I'm chuckling at your post Col.Klink because you didn't want to vote as there was no neutral option, but you sound decisively negative about the whole thing. ;))

I meant to link this in my original post and forgot... but we had this discussion three years ago in GMD, and I thought it worth bringing back up again. :)

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8124

ETA: This raises so many questions for me!!! So lets assume for the moment it's true.

Do they plan to start from the beginning either with MN or LWW?
When they say "series", do they mean a series of movies (which is what I assumed) or a tv series as some of you mentioned above?
Is Magee's script scrapped? Is Johnston off the project?
Are they going with live action? How about animated? (I'm sure it's been mentioned somewhere on the forum before but a pipe dream of both Glumpuddle and myself is to have Cartoon Saloon to animate the whole series. :D :D )

All of these questions really determine how I'd feel about the news. Practically, I don't THINK they'll start from the beginning as we haven't heard anything about any rights being secured besides The Silver Chair (I don't think), but the Estate tends to prefer secrecy, so who knows what's going on? And I feel like I recall Gresham saying he doesn't want another animated series, but there's no way I'd be able to find an actual interview with him saying that.

Anyways, quite an article. It certainly raises a lot of speculation.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby Reepicheep775 » Sep 18, 2018 9:49 am

I think the idea of a complete reboot makes a lot more sense than trying to turn the remaining four books into a film series while not maintaining continuity with the Walden movies. SC, HHB, MN, and LB would just be such an odd series without including LWW, PC, and VDT. SC could work as a fine standalone and maybe HHB could as well. MN and LB would be more difficult since one is clearly a prequel to LWW and the other is the culmination of the entire series. And then trying to connect them all would require some serious imagination... and not necessarily in a good way. It seems doomed to fail in my opinion.

That said, do I think Netflix is the right place for such a reboot? It isn't the worst thing in the world. I would miss the theatre release and I imagine the seasons/films would be put out fairly quickly (for example 9 out of the 13 A Series of Unfortunate Events books have been released on Netflix in little over a year), so no more 2+ year wait between films could be disappointing for someone like me who enjoys the speculation and discussion here on NarniaWeb. Also, if they did the A Series of Unfortunate Events thing and released multiple books per season, it would feel kind of overwhelming having all of this Narnia content put out at once. On the plus side, we wouldn't have to worry as much about character's ages and whether or not all of the stories would be adapted, so that would be nice. I've also heard good things about Netflix being able to cater more to niche audiences in a way that blockbuster movies can't. I don't know all the details about that, but that would be a good thing.

Honestly though... the older I get, the more satisfied I become with just having the books. I don't really have a great desire to see them adapted anymore and the good times on NarniaWeb are one of the biggest reasons I continue to follow Narnia movie news as closely as I do.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby Col Klink » Sep 18, 2018 10:16 am

I'm chuckling at your post Col.Klink because you didn't want to vote as there was no neutral option, but you sound decisively negative about the whole thing.

Yeah, I know. I tried to apologize. But I just can't help myself.

In general I prefer films over TV shows, and personally I don't think the Narnia books really lend themselves well to serialization. While I have enjoyed a couple of Netflix's shows, a common problem I've had with them is that they tend to stretch their respective stories out longer than necessary, in order to fill a certain number of episodes. If a Narnia TV show were to be made, one of my fear would be them adding a bunch of unnecessary stuff just to fill an episode quota.


I said much the same thing. But I'm going to play devil's advocate and say that the books had chapters (often with cliffhangers) so serialization isn't a completely crazy idea. And it could mean that stuff that would be cut out of a movie (because it didn't fit the three act structure) might be kept and depicted in some detail.

The flipside of that, of course, is that we might end up wishing stuff was cut. =)) I like the 1996 movie adaptation of Emma much better than the 2009 miniseries in part because the miniseries feels like it takes two or three scenes to do things the movie accomplishes in one. (I have a lot of other reasons too but that's not a discussion for this forum.)

Part of me kind of wants this rumor to be true because even if the series doesn't turn out very well, it would be fun to read Narniawebbers' comments on it. It would provide a distraction from the chamber of horrors that is college in which I'm trapped.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Sep 18, 2018 10:36 am

So many thoughts swirling in my head!

I'm largely positive on this. "Narnia as a television series" calls to mind previous efforts like the BBC, but so much has changed in the world of television since then. There's some serious money flying around these days and they're making movie-quality series. (I think it's kind of funny that this rumor crops up not long after Amazon buys the rights to Lord of the Rings... it seems Narnia is never far behind. :P)

I've never felt like the Narnia series was well-suited to be adapted to a movie franchise, but if you take each book as a journey of hour long episodes... that could work much better. We wouldn't have to worry about a filmmaker rushing through the scene at the stream with Jill and Aslan, for instance. Or the Snow Dance getting cut. Or the Romp! Or a million other things that make Narnia so special and unique and end up on the cutting room floor when making a big movie and filmmakers prioritize the generic blockbuster stuff.

I get your concern about unnecessary additions, narnia fan 7, but at the same time I think that the books invite a lot of creativity. Glumpuddle was talking in the latest podcast about Lewis's incredible skill to only give the reader a taste and let their imagination do the rest, which is why Narnia feels so big and real even though we only have glimpses of it. I think most people appreciate the big battle scene in LWW that grew out of Andrew Adamson's boyhood experience of the book, for instance. So with the right creative people, some additions or further explorations wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, I think.

I can see a lot of positives, but part of me is a little bit sad to think that maybe we'll never have a Narnia movie released in theaters again. Maybe this is a better medium, and that chapter on Narnia filmmaking history is closing. It's a lot of fun to go see a movie opening night and all of the anticipation running up to it, and Narnia on Netflix would be really different... but the benefits may well outweigh the costs.

fantasia_kitty wrote:When they say "series", do they mean a series of movies (which is what I assumed) or a tv series as some of you mentioned above?


I'd assumed the latter, but it could very well be a series of movies... and I think this could still be a significant positive over theater releases, since they should be able to make them for more of a niche audience. I'd prefer a television series, though, just because we'd get so much more time to work with.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby narnia fan 7 » Sep 18, 2018 11:16 am

Col Klink wrote:The flipside of that, of course, is that we might end up wishing stuff was cut. =)) I like the 1996 movie adaptation of Emma much better than the 2009 miniseries in part because the miniseries feels like it takes two or three scenes to do things the movie accomplishes in one.

That's sort of what I was getting at by saying I don't think the books lend themselves to serialization. Most Netflix shows are around 8-13 episodes a season, with each episode being around 45-50 minutes long. If They were to do one book at per season like that, I don't think it would work. Maybe if they did 3-4 episodes per book it would be better? I don't know.

Basically, my big fear with a Narnia show is that it would end up having a similar problem as the Hobbit films. Where the story of a relatively short book is stretch the story out to fill 6-8 hours with a lot of extra storylines shoved in to fill out the renaming time. Of course with the Hobbit they where taking material form other Tolkien's other work's, Whereas with Narnia they would have to make something up.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:So with the right creative people, some additions or further explorations wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, I think.

True enough I suppose. I'm not saying I don't want any adaptation to expand on things from the books, just that, as I said above, I'd be fearful of to many additions that detract from the story. I guess what it comes down to is, I'd prefer quality over quantity. Maybe they could accomplish both, who knows. It's all speculation at this point.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby daughter of the King » Sep 18, 2018 12:33 pm

I am . . . hesitantly optimistic? My initial thought was that they would develop a TV series, which I usually think is a better way to adapt books. Most of the original movies Netflix puts out aren't part of a series (although I believe there were rumors about a sequel to Bright).

I hesitate because Netflix series do tend to lean toward the darker and edgier genres, and that would not combine well with Narnia. Also, some of the series do tend to be too long. Why tell it in 13 episodes when you could tell it in six?

If it turns out to be an animated series I would be thrilled because there are a lot of leaps and bounds being made artistically in that medium.

Even though this is just a rumor, I am actually more intrigued by this than the Lord of the Rings series, which sounds like it will be a prequel about Aragorn and I would rather explore other characters and places in Middle Earth.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby David West » Sep 18, 2018 1:04 pm

Personally, I LOVE this idea. It's crazy that this was just announced because I've actually been actively thinking about this a lot over just the last week or so. I could even live with them doing the series chronologically if it happens, although I'd still MUCH rather see publication order. Assuming they do the smart and respectful thing and just make straightforward adaptations split across several episodes so that each season covers two or three books, we'll almost certainly get the entire series. Netflix is FAR more willing to give under-performing shows a chance than other networks are, so 3 seasons to get through 7 books would be really easy.

I guess there's also a chance that we could just get a straight-to-Netflix film series. Or a Sherlock-style ultra limited series that only airs three or four episodes per year and does a book a year. Those options would be my favorite, personally. I'd kill to see them start with LWW and make a movie/mini-series a year with a $50M budget. Ideally with at most one director per book.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby Col Klink » Sep 18, 2018 5:48 pm

Most Netflix shows are around 8-13 episodes a season, with each episode being around 45-50 minutes long. If They where to do one book at per season like that, I don't think it would work. Maybe if they did 3-4 episodes per book it would be better? I don't know.


If I remember the BBC miniseries from the 80s combined Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I didn't feel like it worked that well mainly because the Prince Caspian felt too rushed as if they thought it was a hurdle they had to jump to get to Dawn Treader. (Which is interesting because I think the plot structure of Prince Caspian might work better in a TV series than in anything else.) But that doesn't mean combining two books to make one series would have to be bad. I wonder which ones they could do.

I think the idea of a complete reboot makes a lot more sense than trying to turn the remaining four books into a film series while not maintaining continuity with the Walden movies. SC, HHB, MN, and LB would just be such an odd series without including LWW, PC, and VDT.


Yeah, I never thought making the remaining books into their own series without the other ones made sense at all. However, I'd prefer they do it for selfish reasons. I've been dreaming for years of seeing the creation of Narnia (from The Magician's Nephew) on the big screen. If they start with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the franchise will probably run out of popularity before they get that far just like the Walden movies. Honestly, I think I'm a little bit sick of adaptations of the earlier Narnia stories. :ymblushing: :p I want to see the less frequently adapted ones.

Of course, since a Netflix version of The Magician's Nephew wouldn't be on the big screen, I guess they couldn't make my dream a reality anyway. (I'd be lucky if I got to see it on TV and not on a cell phone.) So I guess it doesn't really matter to me what they do. (But I doubt that'll stop me from commenting on this site. ;) )
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby King_Erlian » Sep 19, 2018 3:47 am

I feel negative about this. I don't know what it's like in other countries, but in the UK Netflix is a subscription channel and only a minority of viewers subscribe, so any Narnia programme (whether a full length movie or a series) would only reach a minority of viewers to begin with.

The other reason I'm not keen on the idea is because I've always wanted all seven Narnia Chronicles to be made into fantastic movies, in cinemas. Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter got that treatment. Why should Narnia be made to be content with second best?
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby Glumpuddle » Sep 19, 2018 10:17 am

Been wanting this for years! I hope it happens.

I seem to recall feeling that BBC was reasonably successful at splitting the stories into episodes... but it has been a while since I watched them. I'll have to take another look.

Positives:

- More freedom for producers to take risks and do something more than LotR-lite.

- Smaller audience, which means fans like us represent a larger percentage of their audience.

- Smaller budget will force them to put more emphasis on character than action scenes.

- I think we are much more likely to get a faithful adaptation. But that leads me to a concern...

Negatives:

- ...I can see them being faithful to the books to a fault. Slavishly faithful. Especially wth Gresham around.

- I hope they aren't doing this mainly as a repose to Amazon's LotR. The Narnia movies, on a creative level, were always stuck in LotR's shadow. I hope we aren't right back where we started.

King_Erlian wrote:Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter got that treatment. Why should Narnia be made to be content with second best?


Seems to me online platforms have a much better track record than theatrical releases right now. I think Netflix would be an upgrade.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Sep 19, 2018 3:17 pm

narnia fan 7 wrote:That's sort of what I was getting at by saying I don't think the books lend themselves to serialization. Most Netflix shows are around 8-13 episodes a season, with each episode being around 45-50 minutes long. If They where to do one book at per season like that, I don't think it would work. Maybe if they did 3-4 episodes per book it would be better? I don't know.


Thinking about it, I'd be surprised if they could get by with less than five episodes per book, or else they might as well just make a movie... Walden's LWW, for instance, was almost two and a half hours long, so that's the equivalent of three episodes right there, and there are several scenes that are either too brief or missing altogether from that adaptation.

One thing I've been trying to figure out is how much run time a Narnia television series actually needs. For instance, I can imagine the first couple of chapters of The Silver Chair encompassing a 45 minute episode. Lewis tells us all we need to know about Experiment House in a few paragraphs, but the filmmakers would have to show the viewer that. Then there's the possibility of giving Jill some sort of backstory, i.e. why is she at Experiment House and why are her parents never mentioned. I wouldn't be surprised if they also wanted to show what Eustace used to be like and why Jill didn't trust him at first, either. After all that, you've still got her conversations with Eustace and Aslan, and both of those scenes need time to breathe and let the atmosphere build. Then there's Jill's trip to Narnia, which can't be over in a flash if you want to give sense of the scale of the world.

I don't know enough about filmmaking to be able to estimate this accurately, but forty-five minutes really doesn't seem excessive to me for including all of that.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby fantasia » Sep 19, 2018 3:57 pm

As a point of discussion, BBC's LWW was just shy of 3 hours, PC was 1 hour, VDT was 2 hours (yes, I know PC and VDT were combined) and SC got 3 hours.
Each of SoUE episodes ranged from 47-64 minutes long. Same for Stranger Things.
So I would think each episode would get just shy of an hour and each movie would probably get three episodes, totaling around 2hr 30min to 2hr 45min. Just my guess.

Glumpuddle and I have different reasons to be positive about Netflix. ;)) I don't know if you all have heard or not (assuming most of you have) that Disney is working on their own version of online movie and tv screening and once they do that, I'm sure they will pull all of their own content off of Netflix and Amazon. Goodbye Marvel movies and Disney princess movies and Star Wars movies, etc. (I'm sure other movie companies will follow suit, if they're not already.) So Netflix will HAVE to have some good quality content on there or else nobody will subscribe to them anymore. It is to their benefit to try to turn out good quality entertainment or else they'll go out of business. Simple as that.
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Re: Narnia on Netflix?

Postby AJAiken » Sep 20, 2018 2:22 am

I don't think I can say whether I'm positive or negative about this until I know who's actually making it (if it happens). From what I've heard Netflix is fairly hands-off with regards to their original content, so though I trust that whatever they produce will be high quality it's likely down to the writer, director and producer what the series will be. I think Netflix does a good job at letting people who have a passion for something go for it - like the Duffer brothers with Stranger Things - so I want to know, if this is true, who the ideas-person is.

I would like to see the later books adapted - particularly The Horse and His Boy - but I think that anyone making a TV series would want to start at the beginning. In a sense I feel that a standalone film for HHB would work much better than starting a new TV series with a story that isn't LWW.

In terms of style ... I would love to see it animated. As long as it's animated well! I think there's so much great new animation out there, and it could make it stand out from the other adaptations - even the earlier animated LWW. However, there is the danger that people read animation as childish and kid-only. I think that attitude is shifting but there's still a weird thing where it's either for children or decidedly adult. It would be amazing to see an animated series that's family/adventure.
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