Adaptation

3 Responses to “Adaptation”

  1. dmgin Says:

    I agree with Geraldine when she mentions that a great strength of Mad Men is the ability of its program’s characters to capture watershed moments in American history. “Nixon vs. Kennedy” is set on election night of November 8, 1960. An amusing moment occurs when Don Draper leaves the office for the night while Paul, Harry, Joan, Ken, Hildy and other a few other workers stay behind at the office. The moment that Don is out the door, they rush to watch the election play out on TV. However, they first make sure that several drinks are passed around. As the TV announcer declares that Kennedy’s odds of winning the election are slim, the group cheers and more alcohol is poured. The election soon takes a backseat for the characters as they become more concerned about having a fun night, than who is winning the Electoral College in each state. A victory for Nixon in Ohio becomes an excuse for Harry to kiss Hildy and then run off to his office to continue their fun. For the characters of Mad Men, watching the election is not about finding out who will be the next President of the United States but rather a chance to hook up with a fellow employee.
    For Don Draper, the election symbolizes his loss of identity. “Nixon vs. Kennedy” features Pete Campbell revealing that Don Draper is not the man he claims to be. Pete’s attempt to expose Don proves to be unsuccessful, however, it also proves to be the first time that his true identity is revealed. The episode ends with Don watching Nixon’s concession speech. Both men are sharing a loss. For Nixon, it is the election, for Draper it the loss of his greatest secret his identity.

  2. fmchubs Says:

    I think the comment above was meant for the Time and Place entry.

    As an adaptation, Game of Thrones is in a peculiar spot. It’s not based on a potentially-infinite serial like True Blood or Dexter, but with two books still to be written in the seven-book series, it doesn’t function the same way a self-contained source like Friday Night Lights. Instead, the show and the books are aiming for the same finishing line, and the books have to reach there first.
    From here on out I’ll refer to the TV show as GoT, and the book series by its canonical name A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF.) If we assume that GoT will not take any breaks in year-to-year season release, we can begin to plot out a timeline for the show. In 2012, the second season of GoT will be released, containing the entirety of the second book. As the books only grow larger with each installment, there has been talk of splitting each following book into two seasons worth of television. That means 2013-14 will be a book, 2015-16 another, and 2017-18 the recently released A Dance With Dragons. By 2019, if the next book has not been released, the TV series will have to be paused: a near un-precedented scenario in television.
    For any other author, this would be a wealth of time. George R.R. Martin, however, has released the most recent two books 5 and 6 years apart from their predecessors, respectively. At this current pace, the next will be out in 2016 and the last in 2021. This means that GoT may run out of source material before the conclusion of the series.
    If you’ve stuck through this light number-crunching, you can see how the influence of the adaptation has created an interesting situation for Martin; he has created a deadline for himself by agreeing to the TV show. Charlaine Harris and Jeff Lindsay are able to release (respectively) Sookie Stackhouse and Dexter novels a year apart. If GoT doesn’t get canceled in the interim, Martin’s artistic process is directly affected by the needs of the adaptation. There’s a risk for HBO to take on such a franchise, and just another facet of adaptation for television.

  3. fmchubs Says:

    Game of Thrones, as a strict adaptation, has a different narrative structure from most original television series. As we have read, episodes are built around an A-plot, a B-plot, and sometimes a C-plot. The A-plot is likely what you would use to synopsize the episode, where the B-plot allows necessary leaps in time for the A-plot and keeps the viewers engaged with more characters than just the protagonist and his/her needs.
    Game of Thrones very nearly does away with this. Since the first season corresponds to the first book of the series, the seasonal arc is joined with the narrative arc of the book. No episode has a plot that is introduced and concluded within the scope of its episode. So how does Game of Thrones still keep us invested in the story?
    The novel structure is what makes this work: where TV writers need a hook for each specific episode, authors are more familiar with cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. On Game of Thrones, a chapter may fly by in the span of one scene, but this is what lends the show a level of gravity to each beat. When ten written cliffhangers are conveyed on the screen in the span of an episode, every scene feels crucial, and the writers have many natural points to end each episode. The only difficult part may be finding the cliffhanger that provides the greatest punch. What you end up with is a show containing scattered plot threads, weaving and turning up again free of expectation. Even though this creates a structure that has no precedent, the attention required to follow these plots undoubtedly asks for a greater level of commitment for viewers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: