There can be various reasons that lead a television adaptation to depart from the original printed material, as is the most recent case of Shadow and Bone. The reason why a TV series, especially in the finale, decides to take certain liberties may be due to productive, narrative choices or from the need that the television medium often requires with respect to the book. Whatever the underlying motivation, such decisions can lead to an unhappy outcome that destroys the original meaning of the work, or to a completely opposite result. The TV series that we have decided to include in this list are among those that, in our opinion, despite changing the ending have managed to remain faithful to the spirit of the reference work without affecting the story in any way.
From Defending Jacob to Shadow and Bone, here are 5 TV series whose non-original ending was perhaps better than the original ending. What do you think about it?
1) Defending Jacob
Let’s start this list immediately with a title dated 2020 that you absolutely must recover. It’s about Defending Jacob, the Apple TV miniseries based on the thriller novel by William Landay. In the miniseries Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery and emerging Jaeden Martell play members of the Barbier family, respected by their community until their son Jacob is accused of murder. When schoolmate Ben Rifkin is found dead, the main suspect turns out to be Jacob due to several comments on social media. A real hell begins for the Barbers, not only for the public pillory they suffer from neighbors and acquaintances but also because the mother Laurie is not entirely convinced of the innocence of her son.
And it is precisely with regard to Jacob’s guilt that the TV series and the book take two different paths. If there is no room for doubt in the book, the ending of the TV series is deliberately more ambiguous. The little girl named Hope that Jacob meets in Mexico is found dead in the book, not on the show. This failed homicide, which in the novel represents the decisive test for Laurie, leaves the viewer and the Barbier parents more doubtful . So much so that, in the TV series, the car accident does not cause Jacob’s death but simply sends him into a coma.
2) Daisy Jones & The Six
It is perhaps one of the best miniseries of this year, even if we are clamoring for a second season. Daisy Jones & The Six takes over the world of “sex, drugs and rock’n roll” to destroy it and reshape it again. The story of the fictitious band The Six, their meeting with the free spirit Daisy Jones and the visceral bond that binds her to frontman Billy Dunne tell of another world, without constraints and alive. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s adaptation of the novel stays true to all the sensations emanating from the novel while enriching it with humanity and nuances. Thus, all the changes made in the Amazon Prime Video show come out not only well inserted but even better than Reid’s original choices.
LThe choice to go beyond the mere platonic relationship that Billy and Daisy share in the book also has repercussions in the ending. In the novel, Camila gives her daughter the famous note in which she gives her blessing but the question remains open. No reference is made to Billy and Daisy’s actual reunion. In the TV series it is quite different. The last scene sees the singer on Daisy’s doorstep who opens the door for him and smiles at him foretelling some kind of happy ending.
3) Shadow and Bone
Jessie Mei Li e Ben Barnes (640×427)
The second season of Shadow and Bone must have surprised fans of the literary saga very much, who were faced, in fact, not only with the adaptation of the second volume but also with the third. Once again the show picks up and mends the starting paper material with some further twists compared to what was done with the first season. Many storylines are modified, others cut due to lack of time and that of the Crows is, again, written from scratch to be able to intertwine with the story of Alina and the Darkling.
What really surprises about the many changes made by Netflix is undoubtedly that ending so different from the original. The motivations are almost undoubtedly of an economic nature, with the intention of wanting to continue Alina’s story for other seasons or ride the wave of success of the spin-offs. Contrary to what happens in the literary saga, where Alina makes a real sacrifice confirming herself as a martyr and saint of the Sun, in the TV series the ending is deliberately left open. With Alina’s mysterious smile, still in possession of her powers, the doubt remains about the protagonist’s possible transition to the dark side. As foretold by the Darkling.
A new and unedited version of Alina could be waiting for us in the third season of Shadow and Bone.
4) The Haunting of Hills House
In the case of the product signed by Mike Flanagan for Netflix, we are faced with an entire story turned upside down and rewritten for the small screen. With excellent results according to us! Based on Shirley Jackson’s book of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House no longer revolves around a professor and a group of strangers contacted to pursue research, but around a cursed and unfortunate family. If in the novel the paranormal events focus on the young Nell – a fragile, confused and naive female figure – in the TV series it is the whole Crane family who are at the center of the dramatic events. The experience lived in the house and the tragedy that happened to her mother dragged on over the years with serious consequences for their growth.
The ending, in this sense, represents only the apex of the path that Flanagan has decided to have its protagonists undertake. The names and the structure of the two works are the same but the very heart of the story lies elsewhere: in that bond of love and protection that binds all the members of the Crane through an invisible but impossible to break thread.
5) Pieces of Her
The miniseries starring Toni Collette and Bella Heatchote is based on the homonymous book by Karin Slaughter and tells the story of a very complicated mother-daughter relationship full of secrets. One evening, apparently like so many, Laura and her daughter Andy witness a murder that brings to light a part of her mother long dormant and buried in the past. Over the course of the eight episodes, we gradually see the different pieces of the puzzle come together to reconstruct Laura’s story and her true identity. They are fragments, in fact, of a woman divided between her life that she has left behind her and the monotonous and quiet one that she shares with Andy.
Although some differences from the novel are evident in the course of the Netflix TV series, the main plot remains practically identical. What really changes is the ending. Why? In the book, Slaughter decided to give her protagonists a happy ending, a new beginning and a new life. In the TV series, however, things are left open and the ending gives us a half-cliffhanger. An interesting choice, perhaps thanks to the desire to explore and continue the story, but so far no renewals.