Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oh, the Drama!

Terry Goodkind has written a rather impressive series called by the name of the weapon bestowed on the main protagonist at the beginning of the first book, The Sword of Truth. Although I haven’t completed the series, what I have read has been a joy. Mr. Goodkind provides a fantastical account with significant detail, a plot that twists its way beautifully through each book and subplots that provide enough closure at the end of each installment to relieve the reader of the frustration that so frequently accompanies serial novels.

Upon hearing about the creation of a television series based on these books, I was very excited. I neglected any leery feelings I might have had in favor of the hope this series would be at least half as good as the books. Certain disappointment resulted from the first episode and has repeated with almost every installment since. Although the producers stated they wanted to be able to diverge from the storyline as indicated in the books, I was not prepared for a complete neglect for or semblance to the story as originally written. Right from the start, blaring and wanton inconsistencies eliminated any hope that the dramatization would hardly resemble the books beyond the sword the main character might carry.

Television has been a source of much consternation over the years. Although much is available to suggest redeeming qualities may exist, the difficulty to find the needle of hope in the haystack of garbage is nothing short of unthinkable. What is supposed to be a public service has turned into a money grabbing debauchery. Even with this understanding, it is very disappointing when the opportunity to hit a home run is bypassed for obscure reasons. Drama, situation comedy and documentary alike could be so much more impressive. The network and local news programs are not any different. The news tends to focus on the sensational leaving little room for true substance. How rare it is to hear a news story on anything from the scientific or medical fields! Certainly, we can turn to the specialized broadcasts but the lack of science or medicine news is indicative of broader problems. Like almost all other programming found on television, news is a vehicle to sell advertising. The free market does not always provide for a better quality service. When 90% of the viewership is clambering for a certain kind of television, programmers are going to respond. Sadly, the majority has far more time they like to devote to viewing the same garbage that already overwhelms the airways.

The normal problems with the conflict between that which is normally accepted by the majority and quality programming has nothing to do with what has happened with the Legend of the Seeker television show. I just do not understand the purpose behind these changes. I simply do not understand. I don’t know if the market for this program extends much beyond those who have already read the books. It would probably not surprise many to find the Legend of the Seeker’s divergence from the story as written by Mr. Goodkind could repulse a good segment of otherwise loyal viewers.

I wholeheartedly recommend the books for their entertainment value. Although the tomes aren't necessarily written for those who like to finish a book in an evening's read, they are artfully written and very enjoyable. I cannot suggest the same for the television show. I'll probably continue to watch these shows but try my best to separate them completely from the books.
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