Book-to-TV-show adaptations can be problematic. Fans of the source material can often want the show to stay as close to the books as possible, and everything to look exactly how they pictured it. It’s clearly impossible to satisfy everyone. But, depending on who handles the adaptation, and how they approach it, it’s very possible to create a show that ticks a lot of boxes, pleasing existing fans and newcomers to the story alike. The latest Young Adult book series to get the television show treatment is Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle. Here’s how it’s shaping up so far and how we think it could – and should – go.
A strong showrunner and director
The series will have Andrew Miller – who created The Secret Circle – as the showrunner, and Twilight‘s Catherine Hardwicke will direct the pilot episode. That’s a strong combo.
Writer of the books, Maggie Stiefvater, recently asked everyone on Twitter what their favorite part of the series was – more specifically what they’re most excited to see on screen – and to say the fans were ecstatic at being invited to offer their opinions is an understatement. The Raven Cycle has a ginormous fan base and all want to have a say in what makes it to the series. Or at least feel like they’re being listened to. That Stiefvater is interested in the fan’s opinion bodes well. We hope you’re also listening, Andrew Miller.
The network is crucial
The network that makes the show is one of the most important aspects of the adaptation. Every network has their own signature feel that is consistent across everything they put out. With this in mind, Netflix seems like the best bet. Having seen what they’ve done with shows such as 13 Reasons Why and Stranger Things, they would absolutely do this series justice.
The books have a creepy factor to them, something that Stranger Things is known for, and the main characters are teenagers trying to wade their way through life, like in 13 Reasons Why. Adding The Raven Cycle to the mix would be the perfect addition to the Netflix roster. Plus, if we are to have bad-boy Greywaren Ronan Lynch come to life, we need him somewhere he can curse to his heart’s desire. Plain old standard TV networks won’t do that for him.
And casting is key
Casting the actors who play these cherished characters will be the most difficult part of adapting this show. The Raven Cycle is known for its unique set of characters. There’s Blue Sargent – a girl who lives with a family of psychics but isn’t a psychic herself and has been told her entire life that she’ll kill her true love with a kiss. Then there’s Richard Gansey III, the golden boy at private school Aglionby Academy, who is searching for a sleeping Welsh king. The next three Raven Boys are Ronan Lynch, a boy known for his tough exterior, honesty and fearlessness; Adam Parrish, a boy who lives with an abusive father and only attends Aglionby because of scholarship money and hard work; and last but not least, Noah Czerny, an introvert who keeps to the sidelines and has a deadly secret.
No casting has yet been announced, but that doesn’t stop fans from fan-casting certain actors who they think would fit the roles best. A lot of names have been thrown into the ring, and the show’s makers would do well to take note.
Casting and writing these characters according to how they’re described in the books is the most significant part of adapting this series and if that’s done right, the series has a lot of promise. But with every reader seeing these characters differently, that’s obviously a tall order. It’s not unachievable, of course – other book-to-screen adaptations have managed it and The Raven Boys should follow suit.
Keep the complex story
It may sound obvious to say it, but the story itself is also a very important part of the books and needs to be adapted for television carefully. The Raven Cycle is known for its intricately woven storytelling that will probably either be translated to the screen perfectly, or fail dismally. Also, Maggie Stiefvater has a very particular way with words that we don’t want to see lost amid the spectacle. If Andrew Miller can work closely with Stiefvater the way director-showrunner Barry Sonnenfeld worked with author Daniel Handler on Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, then they’re onto a winner.
Overall, The Raven Cycle has a lot of potential on the small screen and if it stays true to the books, it’ll be the next amazing book-to-TV adaptation. Don’t let us down, Andrew Miller!