Film & TV

The Not So Original “Netflix Originals”

Daniele Huddlestan

With an obscene amount of book adaptations popping up on the world’s most popular streaming service, is the creation of new series based on books helping or harming our book economy? This can be reversed as well. When every other Netflix production is based on a book, how does this speak to the creation of new films and series?

Admittedly, I did not realise that most of the Netflix series and films I have watched are based on books. These have included The Stranger, Mindhunter, Girlboss, Birdbox, and You, which I gave full credit to Netflix for creating intriguing and brilliant stories. Therefore, I, like many others, completely overlook the author who the creation of the story should be credited to. This is admittedly a risk that the author knows they are undertaking when they agree to the adaptation. However, should Netflix make more of an effort to increase awareness that their production is an adaptation?

For some of the Netflix series and films, I feel almost cheated that I didn’t read the book before I watched the series. For some people this differs. Watching a series or film they enjoy encourages them to buy the book. This is great for the book economy as Netflix is increasing book sales. However, this is not always the case, as many people do not want to read the same story that they have just watched. The sense of wonder and excitement has been lost, as you already know how the story will end.

The dilemmas of adaptation are not just constricted to book sales, as there are also issues arising in the cinematic world. On one hand, high praise has been given to how seamlessly Netflix has completed the transition from book to screen, with most of their adaptations being a huge success. However, the sheer proportion of Netflix productions that are based on books does put into question if Netflix are capable of producing an original idea. A different set of creative skills are needed for adaptation- and these skills are highly valued. But, it may be worth more original content being created to give us something fresh and new, to develop Netflix as a production company.

This question of the success of Netflix adaptations, seems to be an unanswerable one. We enjoy the series and films that are produced, but often feel like we are missing out on the enjoyment of picking up a book and not knowing where the story will take us. In terms of literature, I am not entirely convinced it is successful in promoting reading but it does seem to validate the worthiness of a text, if the most popular streaming website in the world wants to adapt it. For Netflix, the adaptations are certainly enjoyable, but it would  be good to see some original ideas making their way from Netflix HQ to our screens in the upcoming year.

Categories: Film & TV

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