The amount of original content Netflix releases today is astounding. And yes, by original content we also mean adaptations of popular books, like the new ones Shadow and bone TV series. Sometimes these tweaks are big hits (hello, Bridgerton!), and sometimes they get popular because of how hated they are (hello, second season of 13 reasons why!).
So navigating the waters of Netflix adaptations can be intimidating. Sometimes the zeitgeist helps you, as with the Shadow and Bone TV series, which debuted with such a strong positive response that it quickly became a must-watch. But still, so much buzz of an adjustment can fly over us when we’re not online 24/7. Sometimes it’s nice to have an article with a few recommendations, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
With that in mind, here are two book-to-Netflix adaptations to check out and two to avoid.
Shadow and bone
We have to start with the Shadow and bone TV series because you wouldn’t feel cheated if we didn’t? The new Netflix hit is based on the Grisha trilogy, as well as the Six of crows duology, both written by Leigh Bardugo. Shadow and bone is the first novel in the trilogy.
The Shadow and bone TV series is Netflix’s latest attempt to create the next Game of Thrones: A fantasy show rich in mythology that supports an epic adventure. The project was developed by Eric Heisserer, who wrote a video called Arrival a few years ago. It comes as no surprise between Heisserer’s film pedigree and the quality of Bardugo’s original material Shadow and bone has been extremely well received.
More like “Girl-bomb”, right? Based on Sophia Amoruso’s 2014 autobiography #GirlBossThe show followed the protagonist’s journey when she founded the company Nasty Gal – a retailer specializing in fashion for young women. The TV series was developed by Kay Cannon, one of the brains behind the Pitch perfect trilogy, as well as the director of the well-received raunchy comedy Blockers.
However, something was lost in the translation of a successful book into a hopeful TV show. Girlboss received a mixed reception from audiences and critics, most of whom seemed to have difficulty accepting the show’s obnoxious protagonist. Netflix didn’t give them much of a chance to change their mind and quickly canceled Girlboss after the first season.
A series of unfortunate events
We get it, you’re tired of it A series of unfortunate events adaptations since that Jim Carrey movie burned you in 2004 (or whenever you saw it on TV). But that’s the beauty of Netflix: it’s not a movie, it’s a TV series. That means the story is allowed to breathe and we can enjoy the characters as we did in the books – instead of feeling like we are experiencing the SparkNotes version.
So who manages to portray Count Olaf as Jim Carrey. . . not quite achieved? Well, the one and only Neil Patrick Harris, of course. And look, Carrey was doing his Jim Carrey thing, and that was fine. But NPH benefits from being able to nuance the character over three seasons. That’s how you do justice to an iconic book series.
Hey, it’s based on a comic book, that’s why it counts as a book-to-Netflix adaptation. At least we say it counts. Of all the Marvel shows in the Defenders verse of the streaming platform, Iron fist received the worst reception at a critical level and also from the public. Most of it was justified, too, as the show came across as haphazard and pale in comparison to its Netflix Marvel companions.
The (weak) connection with the MCU managed to keep Iron fist two seasons alive, and some would argue that the show actually improved during its second year. Still, very few people mourned its cancellation, and even fewer are crying out for a comeback now that Disney owns the rights to the character. A shame as we would love to see what Danny & Colleen and the rest of the gang would do under stronger leadership.
What are your recommendations when it comes to book-to-Netflix adaptations? Have you seen the …. Shadow and bone TV series already? Let us know in the comments!
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