i can do a more in-depth meta about this when i'm actually fresh off a rewatch but shadow and bone's self-contained storytelling is SO excellent. the reason it works so well is bc instead of doing a paint-by-numbers recreation of the books, the creators are working from a point of, "okay, how do we preserve the things that matter most about the story?"
while being AWARE that tv is a different form of media.
there are considerations to make writing a tv show that aren't so prominent in novel-writing, like:
how do we establish characterization externally, since we can't rely on an internal POV?
how do we make organic-feeling arcs when we only have a couple episodes to pack everything into?
how do we use visual and dialogue worldbuilding to replace the in-narration worldbuilding of the books?
how do we balance plot-driving action with slower character-establishing scenes?
how do we make a narrative that's easy for an average television viewer to digest while also containing deeper complexity?
what driving themes are pulling all of these storylines together?
how do we show the relationships between characters without internal narration/exposition telling us?
how do we keep the essence of this story if we have to alter aspects of the source material to fit tv?
what i've really loved about the show is that in every part of the direction and writing, i can see the showrunners asking that last question Over And Over Again. where there ARE marked differences from the books - in tone, plot, characterization, relationships, costuming, setting, etc - i can tell WHY the change was made, and why it works
if you're going to change aspects of a novel for a tv adaptation, you HAVE to understand what story you're telling. you have to be thoughtful about how you're creating that story. and this show is indeed incredibly thoughtful!! it works damn well as a beautiful compelling piece of media independent of the books, because the people involved Know What Story They Want To Tell !
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