Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

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Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Johnstone McGuckian on Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:36 am

I'm a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and think that they really are as good as they're said to be. However I've always found the films to be average, none of them are amazingly good and I've n ever been able to put my finger on why. I think it's because films simply can't tell such a complex tale. The fifth and Seventh films have both been a confused mess, I'm surprised that anyone who hasn't read the books had a clue what was going on. I also blame the direction a fair bit, I'm really not a David Yates fan.

But think how different it would be if this were a TV series. Not only could we get the story in full, as opposed to the film versions which seem to be missing at least 25% each time, but it could even be fleshed out, more could be added to the story as even some things were rushed in the books.

So could Harry Potter work as a TV series, say 1 series per book? Or is film the better medium for the franchise?
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by The Co=Ordinator on Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:40 am

IMO the books couldn't possibly be realised for a 21st century audience on a TV budget.

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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Sid Seadevil on Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:49 pm

The Co=Ordinator wrote:IMO the books couldn't possibly be realised for a 21st century audience on a TV budget.
Agreed without reservation.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Johnstone McGuckian on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:37 am

Also agreed.

The films certainly haven't done it amazingly well though. Perhaps they should just be books...
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by The Browncoat Cat on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:52 am

I cannot see a television adaption of any of the Harry Potter books happening for at least ten years after the last movie gets released. The market is too saturated with HP at the moment. By 2021 there will be a new generation of kids who love the books. Who knows what SFX could be achieved on a TV budget in 2021.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Sid Seadevil on Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:17 am

Johnstone McGuckian wrote:Also agreed.

The films certainly haven't done it amazingly well though. Perhaps they should just be books...
Or perhaps as very, very high quality animation.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Zoltar on Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:14 am

Johnstone McGuckian wrote:The films certainly haven't done it amazingly well though. Perhaps they should just be books...
The films started off well, but then started editing the longer books down and losing good plot points. Perhaps doing "special edition" versions for DVD like Lord of the Rings would've been an idea.

Sid Seadevil wrote:Or perhaps as very, very high quality animation.
That'd work too. Especially since an animated character can age at any rate you like. So you can take all the time you need to produce quality versions and not have to worry about your cast growing too old to continue to play their characters.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Sid Seadevil on Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:46 am

Zoltar wrote:The films started off well, but then started editing the longer books down and losing good plot points. Perhaps doing "special edition" versions for DVD like Lord of the Rings would've been an idea.
Good call. Also, like the LotR's films, perhaps the series or any future adaptation of it would benefit from the unity of vision that Jackson and his scriptwriting collaborators brought to Tolkien's work.

Zoltar wrote:That'd work too. Especially since an animated character can age at any rate you like. So you can take all the time you need to produce quality versions and not have to worry about your cast growing too old to continue to play their characters.
Exactly. Possibly the only really viable way of pulling it off.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Zoltar on Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:07 am

Sid Seadevil wrote:Good call. Also, like the LotR's films, perhaps the series or any future adaptation of it would benefit from the unity of vision that Jackson and his scriptwriting collaborators brought to Tolkien's work.

Having someone oversee the look and feel of the entire series would be great, yep.

Sid Seadevil wrote:Exactly. Possibly the only really viable way of pulling it off.
It's one of the reasons why I've always liked animation. No need to worry about costly sets or complex stunts, and doing flashbacks to the younger days of certain characters or flashforwards to when they're older is easy as can be.

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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Patrick on Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:19 am

I'm going to be the contrarian here. I've maintained for a while that a full television season (usually 24 weeks if we're talking the North American broadcast schedule) is exactly the place to tell all seven books. I've had this opinion since reading "Prisoner of Azkaban" and realizing there is no other way to do justice to the character development of the satellite characters around Harry, like the Weazly twins, Neville Longbottom, Sirius Black, Dobby and Kreature (house elves), even Harry's muggle family and Peeves the Poltergeist. This is also the only way you could properly flesh out all the sub-plots and themes explored in each book under JK Rowling's over-arching theme of alchemy as her metaphor for change.

I do believe it could work.

The Co=Ordinator wrote:IMO the books couldn't possibly be realised for a 21st century audience on a TV budget.

So, how much did it cost to produce a season of Battlestar Gallactica? Or Lost? Those were not cheap shows to produce.

The Browncoat Cat wrote:I cannot see a television adaption of any of the Harry Potter books happening for at least ten years after the last movie gets released. The market is too saturated with HP at the moment. By 2021 there will be a new generation of kids who love the books. Who knows what SFX could be achieved on a TV budget in 2021.

The thing is, if you look at it from the perspective how long it's been since Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, we're already at a decade since the movie franchise first started. I think all you'd really need to do is wait for a couple years after the seventh book is translated to the big screen and you could start over with the first book.


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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Zoltar on Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:51 am

Patrick wrote:So, how much did it cost to produce a season of Battlestar Gallactica? Or Lost? Those were not cheap shows to produce.
I don't know about Battlestar Gallactica, but Lost's primary cost issues were the expenses of filming in Hawaii, were they not? Beyond that, there really weren't many complex special effects or overly elaborate settings to reproduce. There certainly weren't magical creatures to create in CG and interact with.

Patrick wrote:The thing is, if you look at it from the perspective how long it's been since Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, we're already at a decade since the movie franchise first started. I think all you'd really need to do is wait for a couple years after the seventh book is translated to the big screen and you could start over with the first book.
Demand will dictate how quickly the franchise is revisited. Some projects can be revisited quickly, cos the audience wants more. Some need to be benched for a while to rebuild interest. Then there's the challenge of recasting all the main parts for a prospective TV series when people are still attached to the current cast. An animated series has the advantage there as well I think.

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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Sid Seadevil on Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:45 pm

I'm going to have to agree with Zoltar on this. Lost can't really be used as a yardstick by which to gage something like a Potter series. In a way neither can Galactica or just about any other sci-fi/fantasy series produced in dacades.

It's just too big and sweeping in scope. Even as a multi studio co-production it would be a huge undertaking for television.

No, the only truly viable way to do it would be via the animation route - and even that wouldn't be cheap for a genuinely quality mounting of the series.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by The Co=Ordinator on Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:57 pm

Ain't gonna happen.

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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Sid Seadevil on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:13 pm

Of course it isn't. What is amusing though is that if this were the 60's, 70's or early 80's, you can be damned sure the BBC would have attempted it anyway.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Patrick on Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:56 am

It should be pointed out that whenever a studio "green-lights" production of a new series, the gamble isn't just whether they have can get a committment from a network to transmit the show. They generally already have that in hand once they've sold the pilot episode. What the studio- who owns the production and all the finished episodes- is banking on is that they can also sell the series to run in syndication on cable networks, as re-runs to broadcast stations in local markets, and of course for video box-sets. Anyone priced what a box set for Seinfeld episodes costs, even a decade after it finished its original run? That's how a studio re-coups its initial capital outlay- many times over.

We know Warner Bros. owns the exclusive rights to make the Potter movies. What if they decided to develop it as a TV series sometime after "Deathly Hollows, Part 2" is released. Call it years later, the actual time isn't important. Consider this: the sit-com "Two And A Half Men," which has probably just been cancelled as a result of Charlie Sheen's self-inflicted sabotage, is also produced by Warner Bros. At a cost of just under $4 Million per episode. Call a full season 24 episodes, and that's $96 Million for a year. For a sit-com. Even if the show has been cancelled, Warner Bros. has something like 187 episodes over eight-plus years as an asset it can sell on a variety of platforms and make its money back.

I have to believe the cost of a production for a television series version of the Potter novels is not an insurmountable issue.

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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Zoltar on Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:08 am

Patrick wrote:It should be pointed out that whenever a studio "green-lights" production of a new series, the gamble isn't just whether they have can get a committment from a network to transmit the show. They generally already have that in hand once they've sold the pilot episode. What the studio- who owns the production and all the finished episodes- is banking on is that they can also sell the series to run in syndication on cable networks, as re-runs to broadcast stations in local markets, and of course for video box-sets. Anyone priced what a box set for Seinfeld episodes costs, even a decade after it finished its original run? That's how a studio re-coups its initial capital outlay- many times over.
I'm sure we're all aware of that. I don't think anyone's argued that Warner Bros. wouldn't make some money back on the show, assuming it were successful. They wouldn't make it - or any other show - in the first place if they didn't think they could profit from it.

Patrick wrote:We know Warner Bros. owns the exclusive rights to make the Potter movies. What if they decided to develop it as a TV series sometime after "Deathly Hollows, Part 2" is released.

They'd need the TV rights. I'd imagine having the rights to make the films doesn't automatically give them that.

Patrick wrote:Call it years later, the actual time isn't important. Consider this: the sit-com "Two And A Half Men," which has probably just been cancelled as a result of Charlie Sheen's self-inflicted sabotage, is also produced by Warner Bros. At a cost of just under $4 Million per episode. Call a full season 24 episodes, and that's $96 Million for a year. For a sit-com. Even if the show has been cancelled, Warner Bros. has something like 187 episodes over eight-plus years as an asset it can sell on a variety of platforms and make its money back.
They were paying for Charlie Sheen there, I should think. They're going to take a huge loss on that show, and how much money they'll make from it in the future will depend a lot on whether there's a backlash against Sheen for his antics.

Patrick wrote:I have to believe the cost of a production for a television series version of the Potter novels is not an insurmountable issue.
Well, I never argued it was insurmountable, just incredibly expensive and that it would be more feasible to make an animated series. Which I think we can all agree would be much cheaper. Besides, you still have the issue of recasting all the roles when the actors are so identified with them. Animation is easier for that as well.

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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Sid Seadevil on Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:47 am

Zoltar wrote:I'm sure we're all aware of that. I don't think anyone's argued that Warner Bros. wouldn't make some money back on the show, assuming it were successful. They wouldn't make it - or any other show - in the first place if they didn't think they could profit from it.
Agreed yet again. Plus it should be noted that once again, a production such as this would be lightyears away from the usual studio fare in terms of complexity - costs, etc.

Zoltar wrote:They'd need the TV rights. I'd imagine having the rights to make the films doesn't automatically give them that.
They would need even more than the TV rights. IIRC Jo Rowling, only granted them the film rights on the condition that final approval of any major creative decision belonged to her - and her alone. This basically gave her an unprecedented amount of control over the movies - that would doubtless also be the case with a TV version. Can any one really imagine any group of TV Execs ceding that much power to an outsider?

Zoltar wrote:They were paying for Charlie Sheen there, I should think. They're going to take a huge loss on that show, and how much money they'll make from it in the future will depend a lot on whether there's a backlash against Sheen for his antics.
Sheen has behaved disgracefully and should never be allowed to work again. He's recklessly and selfishly taken work and potential future livelihood away from fellow professionals. And again - I maintain that no one studio could afford to produce a Potter series on even large TV budgets without entering into a co-production deal. I actually think something else that needs to be taken into consideration is the logistics of this. For it to truly work studio backlot filming is out of the question - as is filming in Canada for example. So we're looking at mostly likely Wales or Ireland; which means local crews/actors, etc and all the additional costs they bring.

Zoltar wrote:Well, I never argued it was insurmountable, just incredibly expensive and that it would be more feasible to make an animated series. Which I think we can all agree would be much cheaper. Besides, you still have the issue of recasting all the roles when the actors are so identified with them. Animation is easier for that as well.
The closest possible comparable for a TV version of Potter would likely be George Lucas' planned Star Wars live action TV series. Lucas has dropped the idea, citing the prohibitive cost and near impossible complexity of bringing the franchise to weekly life under current television production conditions. So, if George Lucas admits defeat - what chance a quality live-action Potter?

No, animation would be the only real viable option.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by stanmore on Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:53 am

I agree with most of what you and Zoltar are saying Sid, but...

Sid Seadevil wrote:Can any one really imagine any group of TV Execs ceding that much power to an outsider?

...well, yeah, if it was JK Rowling. I think you have to factor the high level of unusualness for film execs in a major studio ceding that much power to an outside. Getting Potter was a coup.
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Re: Would Harry Potter Be Better if Adapted for TV?

Post by Sid Seadevil on Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:27 am

stanmore wrote:...well, yeah, if it was JK Rowling. I think you have to factor the high level of unusualness for film execs in a major studio ceding that much power to an outside. Getting Potter was a coup.
Fair point, stan. When you put it that way I can see where you're coming from. But if getting JK to greenlight certain things means that production costs are hiked up by a considerable degree how long to do think the studio are going to want to continue down that path?
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