I just finished watching the end of Legend of the Seeker, one of my favorite shows, and it made me wonder about why people that read book versions of t.v. shows seem to hate the shows so much when they come to the small screen (or big screen, for that matter). Sure, there are a number of reasons why we don’t like them, but as fans of the written version, do we go in to the television show without an open mind?
I think that in Legend of the Seeker’s case, Terry Goodkind fans had a lot of expectations. From some of the comments that I had read on Hulu at the time, people really wished that it could have gone the route of True Blood (HBO’s popular Vampire saga based on Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries series). True Blood’s first season was so much like the book that it was literally like watching the book unfold on the screen right before your eyes. It was able to capture all of the fans of the book series and not alienate them as they slowly plotted off course in the second season and added things that didn’t really happen exactly in the book (ex. the Maenad).
For Legend of the Seeker, the first season was a mishmash of other multiple books and story arcs to fill in the gaps of the “main quest” of the season. I think this is the problem with a tv series that has 20+ episodes; you have to fill those episodes and where else to get the ideas other than from the actual books themselves? Yeah, those things don’t happen for years in the timeline of the story, but chances are that you aren’t going to use all the material from an 11 book series in a television show anyway.
I have read 9 out of the 11 Sword of Truth books of which Seeker is based on and while I was disappointed at times to see a bit of twisting of good story that had already been told (i.e. Kahlan’s relationship with her father was changed, Darken Rahl’s relation to Richard), there were many good times in the series that seemed to outweigh the bad. It was a new twist on a series I generally like, but have been slow at reading as it dwindles down until the last couple of books. It is a series that started out very well, but has slowed since the middle. The tv show was a fresh take and every time that I watched it, I really wanted to sit down and read more about Richard and Kahlan…and especially Cara.
That’s what that show did for me – made me want to continue reading Terry Goodkind’s books. I’m sad that the show was canceled and I hope that another network might pick it up, but I am definitely not holding my breath on that one. Regardless, I shall miss it.