I’m excited about this adaptation of Stephen King’s “11/22/63” novel which I read last summer. Adapted from a very creative, imaginative and riveting novel on the President Kennedy assassination typical, of King’s superlative writing, this 9 part mini series (no premiere date yet set) should also prove to be inventive, creative, well produced, and directed (Bridget Carpenter).. And the acting chops of James Franco makes it even more exciting to me. So far this adaptation has all the ear marks of being of high quality.
Here we have a fictionalized account of a real life historical event that was front page news the world over. An event so catastrophic to our country and had significant impacts the world over. We all knew or now know of John F. Kennedy, his family, his background. Television gave us a visual play by play of his assassination. Taking this historical event and adapting it onto a relatively new format shown on Hulu, we anticipate the liberties that will be taken but don’t much mind because the adapted plot is already cleverly contrived and promises to be well executed and produced.
With the “Lizzie Borden Chronlcles” we already have more than just a glimpse of what to expect from this “fictionalized” 8-part mini-series of what “could have” happened to Lizzie post Trial premiering in April. We already know the manner in which Lizzie is presented – young, psychotic, over-sexed….. Oh well. Most of what constitutes this mess could be forgiven if it were a solid, quality piece of television drama. But it is not. Nor will it be. Adaptation of the basic story already sold out artistic excellence for ratings.
Adapted stories, i.e., adaptations of real life events and people from history or contemporary times is as old as the early performances at the Globe Theater in Queen Elizabeth the First’s time. But in judging the quality of such productions we must factor in the writing, the directing, the acting – the entire production. What separates a “good adaptation” from schlock is the end product of all these things.
CRITICIZING WHAT IS DEEMED TO BE SCHLOCK IS LESS ABOUT THE DEVIATION OR ABSENCE OF FACT THAN IT IS ABOUT A POORLY PRODUCED – ON ALL LEVELS – ADAPTATION OF AN HISTORIC EVENT OR PERSON(S).
And any past community college drama teacher (yes, you, Stefani Koorey) – should know that. Then again, perhaps Ms. Koorey didn’t teach her students to differentiate between the two.
As to her assertion that it will make people want to read more about Lizzie Borden – I can only say: “Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter” hasn’t exactly caused a rush of tourists to Gettysburg nor increased interest in our 16th President.
“Lizzie Borden Had An Axe” was a schlock production giving us every reason to believe (not to mention the previews, writer, director and producers) that the new adaptation, “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles” will be as well. By contrast, there’s a reason why The Walking Dead is the #1 TV show in the country.
Judging from the cast, director, writer, and producers of “11-22-63”, we can be much more hopeful.