BY KÉRA MATTHEWS '24
As a certified book lover, I often fall for television adaptations of my favorite reads. After all, who doesn’t want to see their favorite characters come to life on the big screen? Though my “high-expectation-reader” syndrome has raised my standards for said adaptations, I’ve managed to find a few that anyone would enjoy!
1. Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars is a chaotic mess of a show, but it’s undeniably entertaining. The show centers around the aftermath of teenager Alison DiLaurentis’ disappearance. Her best friends—Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Hanna—have moved on with their lives until they receive blackmail threatening to expose their darkest secrets from a mysterious “A.” To protect their reputations, the girls band together to get to the bottom of “A”’s true identity.
I read the many, many installments of the original book series in middle school, so I had high expectations for the show. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint, and I’d even consider it better than the original series. However, as engrossing as the show is, you can’t take it too seriously. The different ways that “A” messes with the characters are at times unbelievable, like the insertion of a paper message between the girls’ teeth. Both the show and the book series are easily binge-able, and though the thriller elements are what originally capture your attention, the insane romantic subplots will leave you reeling at the audacity.
2. Little Women (2019)
This movie is one of many adaptations of the classic novel Little Women. It follows the March sisters and their lives in a Civil War-era America. This adaptation jumps between their childhood during the Civil War and the present day in a post–Civil War world. The movie highlights the ups and downs that each sister faces, emphasizing that family is the one bond that can never be broken.
This movie seamlessly integrates word-for-word quotes that any close reader will notice, but it’s done so masterfully that, to a first-time watcher, these quotes seem like they were made for the movie. What sets the 2019 adaptation apart from other adaptations is its originality; its juxtaposition of pre-war and post-war scenes creates a clear path of character development that viewers can easily follow. These time skips don’t feel forced or awkward at all, and the subtle changes in lighting, angling, and character outfits are only some of the many small details that epitomize the movie’s ingenuity. Stellar production, along with outstanding acting by the star-studded cast, is what makes Little Women (2019) one of the best book-to-movie adaptations.
3. The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars is a tragic love story about teenagers Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters who meet at a cancer support group. As the movie progresses, their connection flourishes into an enduring and rare bond. Despite having little time left together, Hazel and Augustus embark on an adventure together that, although risky, could be the last thing that changes Hazel’s life.
Usually, I read the book before watching the movie, but, for this one, I made an exception, and I am very glad that I did so. The romance was, admittedly, pretty corny, but, by the end, I was drenched in tears. It’s hard not to sympathize with a story as heartbreaking as this one, no matter how it’s presented. It may feel a bit predictable when watching, but, in this case, its predictability is what adds to the emotional build-up of the storyline. By the end of the movie (and book!), you’ll want to take life by the reins and experience all that life has to offer before it’s too late.
4. Anne With An E
As the television adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, a coming-of-age story about Anne, a thirteen-year-old girl, Anne With An E is a wonderfully whimsical TV show that transports you to Anne’s world. Anne is just trying to find her place in the world after she is mistakenly adopted by siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, and both the book and show tell the story of her trials and tribulations through adolescence.
The best thing about this show is the quality of acting from Amybeth McNulty, who plays Anne. Her eccentricity, kind heart, and character growth make the show what it is. This show has a perfect ratio of side character development to main character development, and it excels where the book falls short by fleshing out emotional depth. The worst thing about this show is that it was canceled. I’m glaring at you, Netflix.
That’s all for my raving! Whether you’re a reader, a television lover, or both, you won’t be disappointed by either form of these stories. I recommend reading their books anyway, though :).