Tag Archives: Adaptation

TV Tuesday: Riverdale

MV5BNTkzOTA4ODE3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODIzMTQzMTI@._V1_UY268_CR18,0,182,268_AL_
TV Tuesday, written by Ainsley Peace

For the first TV Tuesday I will talk about The CW’s hit neo-noir drama Riverdale; an adaptation of characters from the Archie Comics focusing on the town and its inhabitants. The first season revolves around the investigation into the murder of Jason Blossom and the affect it has on the less than picturesque town. These aren’t the characters we see in the comics. While fans of the comics may fear this to be “just another teen drama,” it has a lot more to offer. The mystery mixed with the complexity of the whole story, Riverdale gives us something to root for.

In Riverdale Archie is an oblivious brooding jock with a heart of gold. Always wanting to do the right thing, Archie often makes mistakes regarding his relationships but always tries to make it right. Torn between music and football, Archie is falling more in love with his musical side everyday and he might just leave the sport behind as he teams up with his musically inclined friends to pursue his dreams.

Archies best friend is Jughead Jones, most known for his love of hamburgers in the comics. However Riverdale’s Jughead is a little different then the character we know and love. While he spends the majority of his time at Pop’s, Juggie as Betty affectionally calls him spends more time consuming coffee then food. He is writing a book about Jason’s death and becomes a suspect in his murder early on. Still sporting his ever present hat, Jughead is the outcast of the town and who often has to deal with the many bullies Riverdale has to offer.

Betty begins the series as a lovelorn girl who wants to be more than friends with Archie. The Betty of Riverdale has a darker side that scares her but excites us none-the-less. Wanting to make a difference and tell the truth, Betty reopens the Blue and Gold at her school, gets revenge on Chuck Clayton for his slut-shaming behavior and joins the river vixens along side reformed mean girl Veronica Lodge.

One half of V & B is struggling to accept her new life and to live below the means she has become accustomed. While the version of Veronica in print is a rich white girl, Lodge at sixteen in Riverdale is a woman of color who’s rich father has gone to prison for Ponzie scheme antics. The cast is full of adapted characters including mean girl Cheryl Blossom, gay best friend Kevin Keller, Archies rival Reggie Mantel, front woman Josie McCoy, appearances by Jason Blossom, Dilton Doiely, Chuck Clayton, Ethel Muggs and a bevy of others.

Riverdale is a great show for women to sink their teeth into. The female characters may be role models but they are real. The female characters of Riverdale are people who change, grow and develop like the male characters of the show. They fight back, make mistakes and lose control without it being used to titilate the male audience. There is kissing and crushes but hardly any sex. The affair between Archie and his teacher Ms. Grundy, don’t worry she is younger than the white haired lady from the comics, made some cringe but it gave was a look at the female predator. In her exit we see who she really is. A woman devoid of remorse and any understanding of her actions and we the audience are devoid of sympathy for her.

The show contains great direction and cinematography. It is well written with witty dialogue and a slew of smart pop culture references. The cast members and the characters they play are perfect. While they mirror the characters in the comic universe, the Riverdale incarnations are more complex as are the relationships. You even sympathize with the bad girls and get mad at the good ones. The good guy has you livid at times and the bad guys have out root for them. Riverdale is how a teen drama should be written and how a comic book like Archie should be adapted.

At the end of the first season we learn who killed Jason Blossom but not everything is tied up with a bow. The actions of the first season and the last episode will spill over into season two. Character development will continue and relationships will struggle. New characters will be introduced and the darkness of Riverdale will remain. If you are looking for your typical teen drama, Riverdale is not for you but if you are looking for something with substance and intrigue you might want to give this show a shot.

Riverdale will return to The CW on Oct 11. Riverdale is available to stream on Netflix. Grab a milkshake, a burger and some fries and settle in to a night on the couch as you binge this teen drama with a twist.

Suspense Saturday: The Talented Mr. Ripley

Talented_mr_ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley

Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s best selling novel of the same name, The Talent Mr. Ripley follows Tom Ripley, a young man who goes to extremes to live a life of luxury.

It is 1950s Manhattan and Tom Ripley pretends to know Dickie Greenleaf as he chats with his father at a garden party. He is offered a large sum of money to head to Italy and retrieve Dickie. A master of impressions and forgery, Ripley has no problem pretending to be something he is not. He attaches himself to Greenleaf and his fiancé but when he fails in his mission Ripley takes things too far and soon becomes the man he was sent to retrieve.

I do not consider myself much of a Matt Damon fan so I would be a little off to mention this as my favorite performance of his being that this is one of the only ones I really know. Same goes for Jude Law who I know more for his good looks than his films but I would have to say that this is an amazing film featuring both actors who are perfectly cast in their roles. Damon churns out one of hell of a performance as the man you hate to like but a piece of you can’t help it when you want him to win. He is a sophisticated and talented con-artist and with victims like the entitled Dickie Greenleaf you have more of a desire to watch him get away with his crimes than pay for them.

An impressive adaptation of a well written crime thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley plays with our heads. Somehow, despite our own conscience, we manage to relate to the villain of the story. Maybe because we see ourselves the way Ripley does. We are the victims of the world around us and wish to be something we are not. Maybe we are not exactly like the sociopath who masters imitations and manages to fit into worlds that are not his own. However we all have something we want and can’t have and how can we not admire someone who will stop at nothing to get it? Even if that something is murder. It’s funny how certain things grab onto us and The Talented Mr. Ripley grabs on to something we didn’t even know was there.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Band of Robbers

band-of-robbers
Band of Robbers

Starring Kyle Gallner, Adam Nee, Matthew Gray Gubler and Hannibal Buress. Directed by Aaron and Adam Nee and adapted from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Band of Robbers is a modern adaptation worthy of your time.

Available on Netflix, I originally watched the film a year ago. Ready to write a review I took to the computer but didn’t finish it. Saved to drafts I am happy to finally be sharing this independent gem with you. Fallen under the radar, Band of Robbers stars a few of your favorite TV stars including Matthew Gray Gubler, known for his work on Criminal Minds and Kyle Gallner, who’s had many guest starring roles on TV and many roles in Independent film. The characters are all adapted from the work of Mark Twain and are imagined in a modern setting as grown ups.

After a stint in prison, Huck Finn wants to turn his life around. Upon his release friend and cop, Tom Sawyer have other plans. Sawyer, along with friends Joe Harper and Ben Rogers form the “Band of Robbers,” in order to find Injun Joe’s treasure. When things don’t go as planned there are dire consequences.

There is a little Tom and Huck in all of us but some of us grow out of wilder days but a reckless childhood turns into a reckless adulthood for this pair of literary heroes. Of course Sawyer grows up to be a law man while his good ole friend Huck Finn is a criminal just out of prison. Bad news for Finn, his best friend isn’t the good old boy everyone has him figured out to be.

If you are looking for a film to check out this week while you sit around your apartment after a long day of work and errands, Band of Robbers is a funny thrill ride paired well with a bucket of popcorn.

Suspense Saturday: And Then There Were None

ysymb5o2
Released in 1945

Adapted from the novel and play by Queen of Crime Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None adapts the plays more Hollywood friendly ending. Released in October of 1945, And Then There Were None received rave reviews and currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That probably wouldn’t be the case if were made today. Mostly due to the changing times, there is less of a need for happy endings and for pretty  people to win. Today we want more realistic and honest stories. While the book and a more recent adaptation gives us that, And Then There Were None is given an ending that reflects the production system of its era and not the truth of the situation. That being said, And Then There Were None is still an enjoyable film and a must see for mystery lovers.

Today’s audiences and lovers of cult classic Clue probably recognize the story as And Then There Were None is one of the most adapted and used plots of the 20th century. Before the release of the novel there wasn’t many like it. That changed after the publication and popularity. With the release of the film and the success of the play the plot has been adapted and reworked plenty of times.

Ten strangers are summoned to a remote island. As they wait for their mysterious host to arrive they listen to several recordings dealing out serious accusations. Soon they begin to die one by one and they reach the only conclusion that makes sense. One of them must be the murderer.

The film is available to stream on Amazon Prime.