The Shannara Chronicles

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Wolfing it up!
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The problems come from many sources including:

1) TV shows have formulas and theories of good success which often don't well translate when you try to re-tell a story over the top of them. A common one is that a series, especially the first, is done without any guarantee of a followup series. Furthermore some get killed part way through (Firefly!).
As a result writers want to have a first series that ties itself up nicely at the end; but also presents episodes throughout that are not going to lose poeple who only just picked it up story wise.

2) Writers often only use the source material as a guideline and instant fanbase builder. Once done they are often then more apt to change things toward what they "really" wanted to make but couldn't because it was a unique new thing that wouldn't have had an instant appeal from a pre-existing fanbase.

3) Writers of scripts are only one part of the equation; producers; directors; actors etc.... many people can edit a storyline. Often what can happen is the production companies will impose or restrict certain things based upon what they want of the product. This can very well hack apart a storyline and can result in gaps or missing parts or even huge changes.

4) As small changes build up bigger things have to shift to keep it faithful to itself at the very least. You can see this in nearly any adaptation; whilst some might even keep the end goal in the same place; the small things left out or bits added mean that things have to change to keep it working.
Thus even minor changes early on might break things if what a few in the production system feel isn't needed in an early episode and is thus cut.

5) Cutting to fit time slots. Happens a LOT with films (this is why directors cuts exist) but also TV shows. Productions have to fit slots and sometimes this means bits get cut out to ensure that it fits into that time slot that its allocated. This can mean key things get chopped out - especially if you get to the end of making a season and its running over its time slot and number of episodes.

6) And yep on that note if you've only got X amount of time and episodes you've got to cut and condense things. This is without considering that some things in writing (like visual descriptions) are very quick in film but other things (like mental background info and such) are often very hard and slower to convey. So you can easily run out of time to fit everything in that you want.
 

Mathius

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Well, that certainly is a comprehensive list, but my question was rhetorical.

Besides which, I think the real answer is that studios are greedy and they'll do anything to cash in on a name, without regard for the actual fans. Which is exactly why the rights are bought and sold left and right in hollywood more often than actual shows are put out and why certain studios have been caught in the past throwing a movie out at the last minute just so they didn't lose said license.

Television is actually the perfect media for these long book series' You're not limited to two hours like an actual movie. If they took the time to pace themselves and put the story out there as its presented, and put out a quality product, the continuity and renewals would take care of themselves.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that some things in books don't translate the same to a television screen, but butchering the spirit of a story because some writer wanted to try something new just disgusts me. Go write your own original story, don't take something I love and destroy it.
 

Anakin

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I tried to watch this show, but there's so many things that make me cring. I, personally, thought it was really bad, boring, stereotypical. I just stopped watching it after a few episodes.
 

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