Sunday, March 19, 2023

watch, read, re-watch

"The Terminal List," as a streaming-video show, seems better the second time around. It still has the flaws I mentioned in my review, but reading the novel, then going back to the series seems, somehow, to round out the story. The series definitely adds a lot of elements not in the novel, but at the same time, it follows the novel's template fairly closely. It's obvious some changes were made for dramatic purposes, but the alterations made sense when moving from the print medium to the video medium. The character of FBI Agent Liddel, who relentlessly pursues Reece, isn't even in the novel, but I'm glad he's in the series because he acts as a great foil for Reece. Liddel initially comes off as arrogant but still respectful of military servicemen. By the end of the series, his relationship with Reece has evolved and deepened. It's not a friendship by any means, but there's a level of understanding.

This is a good reminder, too, that in some cases, the best video adaptation is the series format because it allows you to explore the details of a lengthy story more fully. Mark Greaney's The Gray Man lost so much in translation, when it was made into a Netflix movie, that it was almost unrecognizable. The Russo brothers really ought to have shown Greaney's story more respect even if it wasn't that great of a story.  I say that as someone who writes. The Russos could even have expanded on the storyline—as happened with The Terminal List—in order to end up with a more dimensional narrative. Instead, they went the cheap route, cutting and confabulating, and it was a $200 million effort. I hope the Russos think it was worth it. Maybe next time, though, consider a series.

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