Throwdown Thursday: TV vs Movie Adapations


Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!

Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:


There is nothing greater than hearing your favourite series has been greenlight to come to life. But which is better: a TV series or a Movie Adaption?

Like I did for my eBook vs Physical Book Throwdown, I’ve modified my traditional Throwdown Thursday post as there are so many variables when it comes to picking a winner. Some series are just meant to be shown on TV while others are meant to be on the big screen (movies). So, instead, I’ve thrown together 3 “Considerations” that I think are important for deciding whether you want your favourite series to be a TV Series or a Movie Series. I’ve also thrown in some of my thoughts on recent adaptions and failures that I think highlight my main ideas.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment at the end of this post and vote in my poll!

Consideration 1: Length

One Hour a Week vs One Hour a Year

Character Development vs Plot Development

In the grand scheme of things, I feel like TV shows care more about character development and progression more than they do about a getting to the nitty gritty of the story. That’s because they have the time on a weekly basis to slowly unwind the plot. They want to you get attached to these characters so that you come back week after week to see what is going to happen to them next. And the little bits of a plot you get at a time keep you coming back because you never saw those twists coming…and they have more of an impact because you love these characters.

Movie on the other hand only have a set limit of time to develop both the characters and the plot. Usually, they condense one book into 2 hours–unless they are following that awful trend of splitting the last book into 2 movies (a la Hunger Games and Twilight)–which means they only have so much time to get you to like these characters and learn everything that is happening plot wise. For some novels/series, this format is better; especially if they are high actions ones that would benefit from the visuals and lack the character development in their novels.


  1. The Mortal Instruments Movie
    • The movie was a surprisingly huge flop but the recent development of a TV series has me super excited. This book series has always been about the characters for me and there are so many interesting parts to this world that a TV series seems like the perfect way to fully explore all of these fascinating bits without leaving anything out.
  2. Game of Thrones TV Series
    • The sheer size of these books terrify me! I have yet to read them, but feedback from friends who have lead me to believe that a TV series is the best route for this series. There are just so many interesting characters with dynamic and complicated plots that it makes that the length of a TV episode is much more effective than the length of a movie.


Consideration 2: Budget

Smaller Budget vs Larger Budget

Smaller risk and reward vs a big investment and little return

TV series come and go. At the start of the fall season there are always a bunch of fresh faces hoping to be that freshman show that breaks out into the big leagues and not a freshmen flop. But I feel as though the pitch to make a book into a TV show is one that is much more cost effective. Well, that is my opinion as someone who knows absolutely nothing about the entertainment business. I’m just going off the knowledge that there have been quite a few series that have had pilots filmed and then nothing ever happens to them.

To me, movies seem to be the hard sell because we are talking millions upon millions of dollars in profits and cost. It takes years for anything to be green-lit because no one wants to be associated with a box office flop. High risk, high reward but even higher losses. There are numerous series that I know have been optioned for films yet nothing ever happens. It also explains why movies about once popular series are released years later.


  1. Delirium Series TV Pilot
    • A few years ago, a TV pilot was filmed for this series with Emma Roberts and apparently, it was awful. I have to agree because I’ve watched a portion of the pilot and I can see why nothing ever became of it. I think this was one of those cases where the budget really wasn’t there in order to get the right writers and actors to get on board.
  2. Twilight the Movie
    • Say what you will about Twilight but the movies are absolute pop culture marvels. The movies came out right in the height of Twilight-fandom and one company capitalized on it. This is one of those cases where the risk was high and the reward was even higher. The first Twilight film cost an estimate $37 million and reaped in close to $400 million at the box office. New Moon cost an estimated $50 million, returned $709 million and the rest of the series follows similar results: and increased budget and even higher return.

Consideration 3: Faithfulness to Novel/Series

You’ll see that I don’t have a creative subheading for this one because this consideration can be all over the place. Some movie adaptions are spot on faithful to their book origins while others are all over the place. The same can be said about some TV Series.

I think the general feeling but all fans is that they love their original stories and they seriously dislike unnecessary modifications. I say “unnecessary” because I think even the most zealot of fans understand that some changes need to be made. I don’t like change, but sometimes I think change is for the better. There are a few movie/tv adaptions that I think capture the essence of the novel better than the novel does! (You can catch those thoughts in my various Movie Monday, Throwdown Thursday or Series review posts).


  1. Fight Club Movie
    • I’ve only read Fight Club (never watched the movie) for an English class in university but from that study, I know that Chuck Palahniuk (the author) actually prefers the movie adaption of his own novel over his novel! He feels it better captured the essence of what he was trying to say. Or at least, that’s what they say…we all know the first rule about Fight Club 😉
  2. The Vampire Diaries TV Series
    • After reading the books, I really enjoyed how the series added more to these basic characters. The TV series has more action, more romance and more substance to it overall. The changes they made were necessary in order to get the appeal of the next generation and to make it an interesting TV series. The essence of the show is the same: good vs evil with the hope that good will always win but the TV show makes that battle so much fun to watch.

Final Thoughts:

Like I said at the start, it really depends on the story that needs to be told. Some book series would make better TV shows than they do movies–that’s just the way it is. In general, I take the stand that series that focus more on character relationships and character development are better suited for TV because they have the time to develop that all. But series that are usually trilogies that focus more on the action or world are better suited for the movies.

Here are a few of my wishlist Adaptions:

My TV Adaption Wishlist:

My Movie Adaption Wishlist:

What are your thoughts: on book adaptations? Which novels or series are on your adaption wishlist Leave a comment below!

Next Time: Book Series vs Standalones

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