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June 13th, 2011


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02:45 pm - Case Histories
I have now watched three episodes of the BBC adaptation of Kate Atkinson's Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs as Jackson Brodie, the very manly Northern private detective. The 6 episodes will encompass the first two Jackson Brodie books. I think that was a mistake, because they are trying to pack too much plot into too little time. Or it may be that it is too soon after reading the books for me to see a TV adaptation.

The series is actually quite enjoyable, the acting is good, and the host of interesting female characters are not overlooked or patronised. It's just it is like - I described my feelings on the show to altariel yesterday - it's like a mountain landscape which has been flooded by the sea, so only a few peaks show above the surface, little islands of plot, and the great mass of complexity is hidden.

Of course any adaptation means change. The type of change I was expecting was that each character's personality would be conveyed by visual rather than verbal means. But I feel that the loss was quite a bit more complete than that, and whole plot elements were reduced to single throw-away lines. But this is probably the shortest distance between reading and viewing ever, and that may be making me more conscious of loss than I would usually be.

I am emotionally engaged with the story and the characters, and I feel a lump in my throat, and I feel that Jackson is gorgeous as we are expected to. It's just probably they could have taken it slower.

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[User Picture]
From:gfk88
Date:June 13th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
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I missed last night's so I've only seen one so far (and missed another one then, bah, if there really have been three episodes and if my arithmetic is correct).

Obviously I thought it was great and very funny - are the plot holes so big in the books though ?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:June 13th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
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The books rely very heavily on implausible interlacing coincidences which tie all the characters together like in a Victorian novel. However the other aspects of the plot are more nuanced, rather than just being raced through like a ticky-box.
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From:katlinel
Date:June 13th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
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It's being broadcast on Sunday and Monday evenings, but the first two are still available on iPlayer, as is last night's, if you want to catch up.
[User Picture]
From:gfk88
Date:June 14th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
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Thanks for that - you know, I think I did see both the first Sunday and Monday after all, and my head scored that as only one episode.

I saw last night's without having caught up with Sunday's. J gave me the plot catch-up while the opening credits were rolling, so I was totally confused. It wasn't only the people on the telly saying "I thought you said he was dead...?"


[User Picture]
From:katlinel
Date:June 13th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
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I think I've definitely benefited in this case from not having read the books recently.
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From:communicator
Date:June 13th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
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Yes, it's been a strange experience. I read the books in between seeing the trailers and watching the episodes. As I read the books, I was visualising the characters using the faces of the actors from the show, which made it all the stranger to see these people I had been imagining for weeks, now behaving quite differently from the TV in my brain. It's been an unusual way of seeing an adaptation.

Edited at 2011-06-13 03:18 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:pinkdormouse
Date:June 13th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
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I'm with you on that, having listened to the first book (and loved it) immediately before watching the first two episodes. I'm currently waiting for the second book to arrive at the library.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:June 13th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
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I was listening to the first book on audio as I walked to work each day, and got totally sucked into it. The overlapping coincidences of the plot are less bothersome in a long book than in a TV show. But I watched it again tonight, and it is very lovely to look at.
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From:violetsrose
Date:June 17th, 2011 08:43 am (UTC)
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Kate Atkinson is my favourite author and I've read her books many times - I watched the first episode and had to turn it off after about 15 minutes as it was jsut so different to the books - I couldn't bear to watch a favourite story being mangled like that - the acting was good but the adaptation had wrenched the heart out of the story
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From:communicator
Date:June 18th, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
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I am going to try to read more Kate Atkinson. I went out for a meal with my poetry group on Wednesday, and when I mentioned her there was great enthusiasm round the table.

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