Today I’m going to be talking about Harry Potter and zombies. What does one have to do with the other you ask? Right now those two things have more in common than you might think. The other night I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and aside from liking it the most out of all the Potter films, there was something else that separated it from the other movies.

What separated it was the canvas that it was being given as a result of the seventh Potter book being split into two films. Because Deathly Hallows has four-plus hours to tell its story as opposed to the usual two-plus that the other Potter films (and most films in general) get, it can take its time and really tell a satisfying story and develop its characters. While I’ve enjoyed all the Potter films in general, this one felt richer to me, and it made me a little sad that the others can’t have multiple films to tell each of their stories as well.

While I was watching Deathly Hallows: Part 1, there was a moment where I got that feeling similar to when I saw each of The Lord of the Rings films. That feeling that you’re taking part in a big epic story that transcends a quick two-hour spin in the theater. Almost like you’re … reading a book? Which is exactly my point. The reason everyone always says the book is better than the film isn’t because films are by default inferior, it’s because film adaptations have to summarize books because they can only be around two hours. By widening the canvas you can achieve with visuals what you can only achieve with prose.

Now, on to zombies. For the last few weeks I’ve been hooked on Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the graphic novel series The Walking Dead. So far there are like 13 collected volumes of graphic novels, and instead of adapting the property into a quickie film, Darabont turned it into a TV series for AMC.

One of the great things about TV shows like “The Sopranos” and “Lost” was that they had the time to really develop their characters and tell an epic story that simulated the experience of reading a book. While those shows were originals, “The Walking Dead” is an adaptation, which means the filmmakers don’t have to summarize the story; they can take their time with it and really translate the story in all its epicness to the screen.

I’m pleased to say that “The Walking Dead” has been a huge hit, and I’m hoping that this will set a precedent in Hollywood, encouraging more filmmakers and producers to adapt books for TV instead of film. While the Potter films have been great, I hope they aren’t the final interpretation of J.K. Rowling’s incredibly epic story. Just imagine if every Potter book was an entire season of cable TV, and instead of two hours, each book got 13 hours to tell its story.

Personally, I would much rather see a fully realized epic version of a classic story than a two-hour quickie version. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of great film versions of books before, but I think it’s time for a revolution. At the end of the day, what we’re talking about is storytelling. When you strip away the happy meals and the cell phone tie-ins, movies are stories. Books are stories in their rawest and most uncorrupted state. The possibilities of bringing books and other long-form stories to TV are limitless, because that’s the only way to really tell the full story and capture the feeling of reading a book.

I truly believe that if more pre-existing properties were developed for TV, it would cause an increase of quality in film. Filmmakers would have to reinvent movies to be just as rich and compelling and tell stories that work better as a two-hour thing. Anyone who is bitter about Hollywood taking their favorite book series and turning it into a quickie film intended to be fiercely marketed for a big opening weekend, only to tank because they didn’t do a good job adapting it should celebrate this moment. If all goes well, this will prevent other great books from being turned into cheap, quickie, diarrhea films. And if you’re not ready to be part of the revolution, well … you just might find yourself trampled and stomped on by those who are part of it.

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