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Better Than Source

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An opinion that says an adaptation is better than the pre-existing source.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Revolutionary_Jack on Oct 10th 2018 at 11:57:54 AM
Last Edited By:
Revolutionary_Jack on Oct 15th 2018 at 10:20:32 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

In most cases, when a work gets adapted into a movie, a play, an opera, a comic, a musical, a videogame, and for that matter even a book, you instantly have a crowd who catalogues changes and differences from adaptation to adaptation. Regardless of whether something is successful or not, there will be audiences who insist that the original source in whatever medium is better than the adaptation. This becomes especially heated if the work that succeeds commercially is held to have made severe changes to the material and yet those changes become how many perceive the original work.

Then there are the exceptions. Those works which after being adapted turn out to be accepted by a good consensus of the public and the critics to be superior to the original sources, and vastly innovative in that regard. These adaptations become the more influential and important works than the original sources, considered to be more artistic and more aesthetic.

This trope is related to but different from Better Than Canon. That relates entirely to fan-made content and fan-art. This is a case of a professional adaptation made for general exhibition that is based on a pre-existing source. In some cases it might be an adaptation by the same creator or the same original company. It can also refer to Expanded Universe where some prefer the expanded content over the source it derives and spins off from. It's entirely separate from sequels which are technically adaptations from the original sources and oftentimes by the same creator, but most of those entries are covered in Even Better Sequel. It also differs from Adaptation Displacement. This isn't about an adaptation being more famous than the original, it's about a fan and critical consensus saying that the adaptation is superior.

Since this is based on opinion. It's obviously a YMMV trope.

    open/close all folders 

     Comic Books 

     Film 

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The M*A*S*H TV Show is considered better than the movie. It's certainly had a bigger cultural and social impact than the film did.

    Theatre 
  • Mozart's Don Giovanni is considered greater than the original Don Juan plays in Spanish and French. It is considered the most significant artistic adaptation of the Don Juan legend.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series is considered by some to be the definitive take on the Batman mythos, better than any movie and by some to be greater than the comics. Many comics creators openly admit to being more inspired by this cartoon in their takes on the character than anything else. Specifically many cite the Mr. Freeze of the show to be the ultimate version of the character.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood is considered greater than the original comic by Judd Winick, notably by author Judd Winick himself.

Feedback: 28 replies

Oct 10th 2018 at 12:00:09 PM

Wait, how can it be YMMV but exclude Real Life examples? YMMV is about real-life opinions.

Oct 10th 2018 at 12:14:56 PM

Yeah, I removed that. I mistook it. I meant you shouldn't put historical figures and real life figures, i.e. so-and-so is better than the previous prime minister or general.

This is entirely fictional media.

Oct 10th 2018 at 12:26:33 PM

^ Whoops, you need a laconic for your edits to go through. I'm also tossing a bomb just to balance the hat.

Oct 10th 2018 at 12:48:46 PM

Bombing for lack of examples.

Oct 10th 2018 at 1:12:28 PM

I am trying to add examples but the edits are not taking it in.

Oct 10th 2018 at 4:59:02 PM

I seen this type of proposal before. I do believe it has merits.

Oct 10th 2018 at 6:26:27 PM

This is a provisional list of entries that didn't get in:

    open/close all folders 

     Comic Books 

     Film 

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The MASH TV Show is considered better than the movie. It's certainly had a bigger cultural and social impact than the film did.

    Theatre 
  • Mozart's Don Giovanni is considered greater than the original Don Juan plays in Spanish and French. It is considered the most significant artistic adaptation of the Don Juan legend.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman The Animated Series is considered by some to be the definitive take on the Batman mythos, better than any movie and by some to be greater than the comics. Many comics creators openly admit to being more inspired by this cartoon in their takes on the character than anything else. Specifically many cite the Mr. Freeze of the show to be the ultimate version of the character.
  • Batman Under The Red Hood is considered greater than the original comic by Judd Winick, notably by author Judd Winick himself.


Oct 10th 2018 at 6:22:23 PM

^ I already said, you need to add a laconic to make edits.

And 4tell0life4 is right, we do have this one.

Oct 10th 2018 at 6:22:14 PM

Adaptation Displacement is about a work's fame being more than the original. It has nothing to do with expressing qualitative judgment. I think this trope is necessary because many fans use Better Than Canon for it when it clearly needs its own trope.

And saying Better than Source, doesn't necessarily mean that something has to be more famous and well-known.

Oct 10th 2018 at 6:26:46 PM

^^ I guess that might be true; the difference between this and Adaptation Displacement should be mentioned in the description.

Oct 10th 2018 at 6:28:33 PM

I finally figured what was stopping the edits from coming in. it was the four hashes. Added examples, laconic, and clarified change from Adaptation Displacement.

Oct 10th 2018 at 6:30:31 PM

^ I don't think it was the hashes, the lack of a laconic causes a glitch that prevents edits from being saved. Still, glad the edits are up now.

That said, I still have one more problem: The title should not be written like a wiki-word ([BetterThanSource]) but spaced out (Better Than Source)

Oct 10th 2018 at 7:12:45 PM

"This isn't about an adaptation being more famous than the original, it's about a fan and critical consensus saying that the adaptation is superior."

If one thing leads to another, we can simply put them in the same place.

Oct 10th 2018 at 7:39:50 PM

To War Jay 77, fixed the spacing.

To 4Tell0life4.

I recently managed to add some of my examples, so maybe you can check them to see what I am referring to.

It's not always the case that the adaptation entirely displaces the source in this case. Like in the mentions above, Carl Barks' Donald Duck is generally considered to be a better and more rounded, and influential, character than the cartoons but the cartoons are still most people's idea of Donald.

Oct 11th 2018 at 5:30:51 AM

The comment section for just about every single episode of Sword Art Online Abridged is guaranteed to have one or more comments that's a variation on "Better than the original Sword Art Online".

Oct 11th 2018 at 6:20:37 AM

I think this trope needs a little more work to be honest, it's a good idea, but I can easily see it being abused. But whatever, it has my hat.

Oct 11th 2018 at 12:23:46 PM

I think this is a needed trope, as some adaptations need the treatment. This is also a related trope to My Real Daddy, btw.

However, let's make a case with some adaptations. Manga/comic adaptations need to be complete in order to count, so we don't have a nuisance like the Dragon Ball Super fiasco.

Oct 11th 2018 at 1:05:24 PM

I am not familiar with Manga stuff. So perhaps you can provide examples to add up there.

My Real Daddy is when one creator separate from the originator is actually responsible for the major spirit or core of a property. It has nothing to do with making qualitative judgments on one adaptation over another.

Oct 11th 2018 at 1:11:53 PM

Sorry, but as is this is almost nothing but Zero Context Examples. *boom*

Oct 12th 2018 at 4:23:46 PM

It's supposed to be a YMMV trope.

Oct 13th 2018 at 11:17:33 AM

^ I meant it's too YMMV to work. Sometimes tropes get discarded for that. It's too up-to-interpretation and can lead to edit warring.

Oct 14th 2018 at 9:48:19 PM

HOLD IT.

Just because it's got 5 hats does not mean launch, especially if there are more bombs than hats.

Thus, it is unlaunched. Please refrain from launching until issues are resolved, or there will be consequences.

Oct 15th 2018 at 6:44:15 AM

I'm with Pichu-kun. This just seems way too debatable to be worth documenting.

Oct 15th 2018 at 10:19:03 AM

Well, we do have They Changed It Now It Sucks, which is the same thing but with a negative meaning. It makes sense to have a positive version of that one (or to delete that one as well, for similar reasons).

Perhaps the problem can be solved if the entries talk about reviews or actual fandom reactions, and not just a single troper's opinion.

Oct 15th 2018 at 10:20:32 AM

^ That would help, having a source for the examples would at least make it seem more objective.

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