Is There Such a Thing as “Too Much” Story?

Hi everybody! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I keep meaning to post more book reviews but I always feel the need to read multiple books at once and I just end up slowing myself down. You all know how it is.
Today, though, I wanted to talk about something I’ve noticed other book nerds and authors talking about which is: when should a story truly end? This whole conversation has been spurred on by the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald, which is the much anticipated (and slightly controversial) sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I haven’t seen the movie yet so I can’t give my opinion on it but it got me thinking about franchises and if there really is such a thing as ending a story, especially when it is incredibly popular. (Note: I’m mostly going to be focusing on mediums like books, movies, and television. I’m not going to be talking about anime or video games as I don’t know much about those mediums and they would warrant their own discussion.) 

Let’s start with examples of franchises who have done a great job with universe expansion. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the first one that comes to mind. First off, the franchise has lasted for a decade now with some of the most successful trilogies and crossovers in the history of film. Regardless of whether you are in this fandom or not, you have to admit that the MCU has done an incredible job with story telling. They took the usual superhero story formula and found ways to twist it and shape into nuanced and interesting stories. They’ve introduced characters and remade characters that were, at one point, laughable. While MCU hasn’t “ended” certain characters’ stories, they have realized that other characters deserve a spotlight. Audiences are still getting answers about the original characters as well as the new characters. These have even spawned successful tv series. When they decide to “end” certain characters’ stories, audiences will still have other characters to follow. That is what will keep a franchise going. (Granted, MCU does have a vast collection of source material to choose from.) Comic book based franchises have always tended to do the best. The DC tv shows have been some of my favorites in the past couple of years because they took notes from MCU. These franchises know how to  keep audiences looking for more at the end of each episode or movie, just as the original source material did. 

Other franchises, however, have done this without a printed source material. The Star Wars franchise is a really good example of this. The newest trilogy has done a great job introducing compelling new characters and reviving the lore that fans want to learn more about. This is also what Fantastic Beasts has done and I truly enjoyed the first movie. What all of these franchises have in common is they know how to revive stories instead of just redoing the same old thing or trying to do too much with newer things that fans don’t care about. Taking it back to the printed word, authors often can’t help but  continue world building. JK Rowling is constantly dropping little tidbits about the Harry Potter series and, while I do love it, it can also be exhausting sometimes.  There are authors like James Patterson who are just constantly releasing books in every genre and it’s hard to get excited about these books anymore because you just can’t keep up with these series. It is really hard to get audiences excited when they have a market that is so saturated with extended franchises. That is why the actual world building process has to be carefully though out, like the MCU. The Harry Potter series has a really rich history and has characters like Newt Scamander, who have their own adventures. Authors, writers, and directors who genuinely care about their creative properties are going to have the most success in having a long lasting series. 

Let’s get to the franchises that flop. The biggest reason for this is because of money. Horror movie series are the biggest offenders of this. Over the summer, I saw the newest Jurassic Park movie and you could tell they tried really hard to make it fresh and new. At the end of the day, though, dinosaurs ate people and no one learned anything. JK Rowling is going to be mentioned in this section as well for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The play fell victim to its own hype. The lore got muddled in the process. The new characters fell flat while the older characters didn’t get any proper development. It shouldn’t feel like the writers are reaching for substance. I’m also fully aware that finances plays a part in why some of these franchises feel the need to keep going but, I’m not going to focus on that too much. The lack of involvement of the original authors has also caused problems. Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, has spoken about how he regrets not being involved in the movie adaptation process. You can’t just cobble together a franchise because one particular part worked out nicely. 

In conclusion, franchises can be kept alive if it is a well thought-out effort on everyone’s part. It is perfectly fine to end a franchise, even if fans will be sad about it. It is better to have a fulfilling ending than an empty sequel. There really is no such thing as “too much story” when the story is written in a dynamic and thorough way. 

Thanks for sticking around if you made it this far. I really appreciate it. Let me know your opinions about franchises and extended universes. 

Current Favorites: TV Show Edition

Hi everyone! I was really hoping to have my review of Children of Blood and Bone for you  by now but I have recently gotten I new job so that has taken up most of my time. I have to finance my book addiction somehow. The book addiction isn’t the only one I have. On top of being a movie addict, I love my tv shows. It’s nice to have that hour long escape from the world. TV shows give me something to look forward to during the week. For this post, I’m going to do a short list of tv shows (or mini series) I feel are underrated or not as mainstream then I’ll do a longer list of mainstream shows I like. I hope you enjoy both of these.

Legion

Legion (2017 – Present, FX Network): Based on the Marvel comics of the same name, Legion follows David Haller, a troubled young man who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. He soon learns that he has powerful abilities and he must stop dark forces that want to destroy humanity.

Legion is based on the X-Men comics but, trust me, it is not the like the X-Men movies. This show is cerebral, psychedelic, and it always keeps you wondering what is real and what is not. The cinematography is absolutely wonderful as it seems to change with every episode. The show is hard to keep up with at times but it is worth the watch if you’re looking for a unique take on the Marvel universe.

Preacher

Preacher (2016 – Present): Based off of the Preacher comics, this series follows Jesse Custer, a preacher in a small Texas town who is unwittingly given the powers of an Antichrist. He then enlists the help of his criminal ex-girlfriend and a reckless vampire to  hunt for God.

The plot summary is weird and the show doesn’t refrain from embracing its bizarre plot. Preacher is full of dark humor, gory fights, and a surprising amount of heart. It’s not as hard to follow as Legion but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t keep you thinking. I’m a little behind in watching this show but I do still love it. Preacher is hell of a ride and perfect for comic book fans.

American Gods

American Gods (2017 – Present, Starz Network): Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, American Gods follows Shadow Moon who is recently released from prison only to find out that his wife is dead. When a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday approaches him with a job offer, Shadow accepts and is thrust into a world where gods fight gods.

I’ve gushed about this book and I’ll gush about the tv show. This show is one of the best adaptations I have seen in a while. I was even satisfied with the changes they did make. If you love mythology then you will love American Gods. The cinematography is great, the cast is fantastic, and the plot points are incredibly relevant to today’s world. I highly recommend you binge this one before the second season.

Gotham

Gotham (2014 – Present (Final Season 2019), Fox Network): Based on the Batman comics, Gotham follows the up and coming detective, Jim Gordon, who learns about the true evil lurking in his city after the wealthy Waynes are murdered.

In case you couldn’t tell by now, I love shows based on comic books so Gotham has been on my radar for a while. It’s a refreshing take on the classic tale of Batman and it shifts the focus onto a broader cast of characters. Not only do you watch the journeys of heroes like Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon, but you also get to see the journeys of some of the most iconic Batman villains. The cast does an amazing job with these characters. The show is fun to watch as well as intense and heart breaking.

Hannibal

Hannibal (2013 – 2015, NBC Network): Loosely based on the novels by Thomas Harris, Hannibal shows the rise of the infamous cannibal as he forms a dangerous relationship with a young and troubled FBI profiler.

I am still upset this show was cancelled as it was both horrifying and enticing to watch. This one is another example of amazing cinematography. If you thought you wouldn’t find people appetizing then I suggest you watch this show. The cast gives absolutely amazing performances. The plot is full of suspense and chills. I cannot recommend this show enough as it had a short but amazing three seasons.

Lucifer

Lucifer (2015 – Present, Fox Network): Lucifer Morningstar was the King of Hell until he got bored and decided to start a nightclub in Los Angeles. When a murder happens in his beloved club, Lucifer ends up teaming up with Detective Chloe Decker and the two begin an unlikely partnership solving crimes together.

Lucifer is based on comics written by Neil Gaiman so I am biased but I do sincerely love this show. It is funny, touching, and a fun time all around. Unfortunately, it might be cancelled but, hopefully, it will be saved by the power of social media. Don’t miss the opportunity and watch Lucifer. 

Now that I’ve talked about more of the “indie” shows I like, here is my list of mainstream shows I enjoy. Note: Most of these shows are still on the air.

  • Doctor Who
  • Supernatural
  • Game of Thrones 
  • Arrow 
  • Flash 
  • Supergirl
  • Legends of Tomorrow
  • Black Lightning 
  • The Walking Dead 
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones 
  • Marvel’s Luke Cage 
  • Marvel’s Daredevil 
  • Stranger Things
  • Sherlock 
  • Star Trek
  • The Office 
  • The Twilight Zone 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events 

 

The Game of Thrones Tag

Ok, you might hate me for doing another tag but I couldn’t resist since I’m a big fan of the book series and the television show. Also, I figured since its the final season of the show I wouldn’t get another chance to do this tag. I’ve been seeing this tag all over the place but here’s the source I’m using specifically. @theclockworkbibliophile

Part 1

greyjoy

“We do not sow” – A book you would not be willing to invest in

When I first read Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov, I wanted to to be interested initially but I was too creeped out and just wanted to stop reading it. Unfortunately, I was required to read it for a class.

targaryen

“Fire and Blood” – A book that produced strong emotions for you

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows destroyed me because it was the last book in the series and all of the deaths were devastating in their own right.

stark 2

“Winter is Coming” – your favorite winter read

Well, obviously the Harry Potter books are always great for winter.

tully

“Family, Duty, Honor” – A book about strong family ties

Again, Harry Potter is a good choice but also The Hunger Games is a good one. Let’s face it, though, Game of Thrones is probably the best choice for this one.

tyrell

“Growing Strong” – A book you had low expectations for but it grew on you

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini definitely ended up having more of an impact on me than I though and I still love that book.

baratheon

“Ours is the Fury” – A book that made you furious

Allegiant, which is the last book in the Divergent series, pissed me off to no end. The Circle by Dave Eggers also pissed me off so much that I didn’t even read the whole thing.

martell

“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” – A book series you have unwavering devotion to.

I wouldn’t be here with Harry Potter, that’s for sure.

lannister

“A Lannister Always Pays His Debts” – A book you feel indebted to

American Gods by Neil Gaiman really opened my eyes and taught me more about writing and mythology.

Part 2

Who do you want to win the Game of Thrones?

As much as I love Daenerys to win, I think that she might unintentionally carry on the tradition of Targaryens being insane rulers so I’m going to have to pick Jon Snow. Also, I believe in the theory that he is also a Targaryen which would fulfill the title of the series, A Song of Fire and Ice. 

Part 3

Who do you think will die? Who do you think will make it to the end?

My list of survivors: Jon Snow, Tyrion and Jamie Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Asha and Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, Varys, Bran Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Daario Naharis, Samwell Tarly, Olena Tyrell

My list of casualties: Cersei Lannister, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, Jorah Mormont, Melissandre, Davos Seaworth, Gendry, Arya Stark, Tormund Giantsbane, Ellaria Sand

Part 4

Would you win or die?

I may not have a ton of resources but I’m pretty logical and strategic. Would I win though? I hope so if I play my cards right.

Part 5

Which house are you apart of?

I think I would be a member of House Stark because I have very bad luck but still somehow succeed despite the odds.

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to join me in this tag.

 

From Page to Screen: A List of Some of the Better Adaptations (in my opinion)

Whenever Hollywood announces a book-to-movie adaptation, bookworms everywhere tremble with fear and excitement. With such a hit or miss genre, it’s hard to be excited when you just want the details to be in order. I decided to do something different and give you all a list of some of the better and more accurate book transformations to have premiered on the small and big screens. Some of these are more mainstream while other are not but, either way, I hope you appreciate these suggestions. Also, I will only be focusing on novels and not comics or graphic novels. (Note: These will also be in no particular order.)

Movies:

The Harry Potter movie series (2001-2011): Arguably the most successful adaptations, Rowling’s novels helped kick off the adaptation craze. With Rowling involved in the script writing, the details and continuity are in place for an enjoyable eight-part series.

The Princess Bride (1987): This cult classic movie based off of William Goldman’s novel is a hilarious, action-packed, and romantic adventure that is so unique in its own right. The memorable quotes and iconic moments help to solidify the well-achieve notoriety this movie has acquired.

The Great Gatsby (2013): Baz Luhrmann’s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel is full of beautiful cinematography, awesome music, and verbatim scenes from the book. While there were certain parts I didn’t particularly like concerning Nick Carraway’s personal story, the movie is still enjoyable nonetheless. Leonardo DiCaprio emulates Gatsby’s charisma, charm, and dark past perfectly.

Pride and Prejudice (2005): This adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel avoids any melodrama that is typically associated with romance. The chemistry between Elizabeth and Darcy is palpable and eloquent in this particular adaptation. Paired with some gorgeous cinematography, any Austen fan is guaranteed to enjoy this movie.

The Shining (1980): Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick’s famous horror movie has still held up as being one of the most terrifying psychological thrillers. While King himself has spoken about his distaste with the adaptation, it is still a hypnotizing movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003): J.R.R Tolkien’s famous series bursts to life on screen with Peter Jackson’s direction. Though the movies are certainly lengthy, fans of fantasy still gush about this movie series. Though The Hobbit adaptation does not hold up as well, the first set of movies still holds its own to this day.

The Hunger Games trilogy (2012-2015): I actually saw the first movie in a midnight premier. Suzanne Collins’ intense YA thriller about a girl who must compete in a deadly arena-style competition provided four successful movie adaptations. While the fourth movie felt unnecessary and the movies fell under controversy for white-washing, the first and second movies are still enjoyable and provide plenty of gritty action.

Casino Royale (2006): Ian Fleming’s famous fictional spy steal the screen once again in this adaptation starring Daniel Craig. Though the James Bond films have been popular for since the 1960s, this one is unique because it is based on Fleming’s first 007 novel. This movie shows a darker take on Bond as he goes up against Le Chiffre, a man who finances terrorists, played by Mad Mikkelsen (who will show up again on this list soon.)

The Martian (2016): Andy Weir’s self-published novel packed a punch in this adaptation by famed director, Ridley Scott. When astronaut Mark Watney is mistakenly stranded on Mars, he chronicles his struggles to survive on this deadly planet. Surprisingly funny and written with real science in mind, this faithful adaptation is perfect for science geeks and bookworms alike.

Television/Netflix shows:

Game of Thrones (2011-2017): Though George RR Martin’s hit series is about to finish up its run on HBO, it has still proved to be a cultural phenomenon. Based on The Song of Fire and Ice book series, this popular show does not hold back in its shocking violence, dark story lines, and compelling characters. With plenty of action, this show about the struggle to rule Westeros is endlessly entertaining and will live on with its fan base even after it ends.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-?): This Netflix adaptation of Daniel Handler’s (aka Lemony Snicket) dark children book series was a hit with its witty and dark tone. Neil Patrick Harris as the infamous Count Olaf is hilarious as he manages to make the character as charming as he is evil. The newcomers who play the Baudelaire siblings are mature beyond their years and their talent holds true. Anyone who grew up with this book series is sure to enjoy the Netflix series as well.

Hannibal (2013-2015): Hannibal Lecter has long been a horror icon on the big screen but Bryan Fuller’s series shows Dr. Lecter before he became the killer in the glass case we know. In this short-lived series, Hannibal assists reluctant FBI investigator Will Graham as he solves the gruesome killings of the Chesapeake Ripper. This series does take some liberties from the original Thomas Harris series but it is still beautifully morbid and intense.

Sherlock (2010-?): This mini-series based off of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective has also become a pop culture phenomenon. This modernized take on Sherlock Holmes is surprisingly accurate and provides clever twists on the original. With a nice balance of humor and drama, this adaptation is a wild ride and will keep you guessing to the end.

American Gods (2017-?): You can check out my review of the original Neil Gaiman novel on my blog. This series is profound as it is darkly humorous. With Gaiman as an executive produce for the show, it maintains accuracy while building on the characters as well. Any mythology buff will love to binge watch this new and unique show about the old gods and new gods.