When beloved books are turned into television series or movies, there’s always a degree of apprehension from devoted fans of the source material. Will they get the casting right? Will they keep your favorite parts intact? Which characters will be left on the cutting room floor?
That was our reaction when we heard that Lauren Oliver‘s “Delirium” series, one of our favorite YA books in recent years, has been adapted to television. FOX has picked up the “Delirium” pilot, adapted by Karyn Usher.
Oliver’s novel is set in a dystopian future, where love has been redefined as a disease and a “cure” has been developed. It’s more or less a lobotomy, and all Americans are expected to undergo the procedure at age 18. They’re then assigned to a spouse, deemed compatible by an examination. The uncured “Invalids” live on the run, in undeveloped areas. Lena Holoway, whose mother is committed suicide because she could not be cured, is a few weeks away from getting cured when she falls in love with Alex, an Invalid who has been posing as a cured, upstanding citizen.
We got our hands on the script (and we love it!) but book fans should
prepare for some big changes if the show gets picked up for the 2013
season. Read on for the four major adjustments.
1. Julian Fineman. In the novels, Julian is a character introduced in the second book, “Pandemonium.” His father is a public figure, leading the DFA — Deliria-Free America — cause against the Invalids. In the proposed television series, Julian is introduced right off the bat, as a sickly young man who lives next door to Lena’s best friend, Hana, and is confused by his powerful attraction to her, though she’s not particularly interested. Yes — Julian and Hana.
2. Lena’s mother. In the novels, Lena’s mother’s suicide makes Lena long for the cure and fear the dangers of love. In the pilot, it’s actually Lena’s father who she believes died because he was infected with “Deliria.” When she learns some shocking revelations about what actually happened to him, she’s driven to take drastic measures.
3. Ren. The pilot introduces a new character, Ren, another Invalid who is Alex’s best friend. Though Alex falls hard and fast for Lena, he’s oblivious to the fact that Ren’s feelings for him go beyond friendship. She’s a key part of the Invalid’s plan to resist the DFA, and ultimately goes undercover to infiltrate the government she’s planning to revolt against.
4. Pacing. The first episode of the TV series actually covers the entire plot of the first book, in addition to including information about Julian and the DFA that readers didn’t learn until the sequel. Of course, in order to cram all of that into 42 minutes, there are certain moments that are lost — particularly key bonding moments between Alex and Lena, like when he took her to his home in the Wilds, and the first time she was introduced to poetry. We’re hopeful that those things will come into play later.
What do you think, book fans? Are you looking forward to a potential TV series? Do you have any dream-casting suggestions?