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Adaptation Expansion / Live-Action TV

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Adaptation Expansion in live-action TV.



  • 12 Monkeys: Necessary, given the transition from a 2-hour feature film to a multi-season television season. The significant expansions include a conspiracy surrounding the Army of the Twelve Monkeys and the assassin known as "Pallid Man", and the mysterious Big Bad known as "The Witness", greater exploration of the post-apocalyptic future, and many more time-travel missions for Cole.
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  • 13 Reasons Why expands greatly on the novel. In the novel, Clay listens to the 13 tapes explaining Hannah's suicide in one night and has minimal interaction with the subjects of the tapes, with much of the story being flashbacks. The show expands this to weeks of him listening to the tapes. It also adds more depth to the subjects of the tapes as well as a subplot about them trying to stop Clay from releasing the information to the public and Hannah's parents suing the school for neglecting to notice the bullying. The show also received a second season, which is all original content (since the book's plot was wrapped up in the final episode of the first season).
  • The 100 TV series was never the most faithful adaptation, but what plot points it did take from the book were covered within the first few episodes, most of them just within the Pilot. Naturally, the show proceeded to create its own plots and characters from there on out.
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  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does this for Skye/Daisy Johnson/Quake. In the Secret Warriors comics, all that's ever really revealed about Daisy is that she's the long lost daughter of Mister Hyde, and that she's the personal protégé of Nick Fury. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. essentially provides a season and a half worth of background info, explaining her parentage in greater detail and exploring her life before she was revealed to be one of The Inhumans.
  • Similar to the above, Angel, another Joss Whedon work, has a Bolivian Army Ending, but it gets a comic expansion to help sort out the loose ends.
  • Filipino Cop Show Ang Probinsyano (lit. The Man from the Province) shared very much the same premise as the 1997 Fernando Poe Jr film, i.e. a twin brother assumes the role of his fallen cop sibling who was betrayed and killed by corrupt police officers in a drug sting operation, but further expanded and modernised the plot, often incorprating Comic Relief, Slice of Life and real-world references to locally-occuring crimes and other such incidents into the mix.
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  • The Being Human (US) has more episodes per season than the original, with more plots added alongside the original's. This happens often - the main reason British shows are remade rather than aired straight is that American television has more episodes per season. (Syfy seasons are short by American standards and Being Human has gone up from six to eight episodes per season, so it's no longer a huge example of this.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer was originally a movie, before becoming a seven-season TV series. Specifically, the show depicts what (supposedly) happened after the movie, when the Summers family moved from L.A. to a small California town.
    • Then, the series spills over into a comic adaptation after concluding its TV run.
  • The Casual Vacancy expands upon Barry Fairbrother's interactions with other characters.
  • In The Dead Zone TV series, the Big Bad of the book and movie is still around, but rather than being obsessed with him, our hero is too busy solving the Mystery of the Week to worry much about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Dirty Dancing: In addition to the Adaptation Name Change of both Baby and Penny, the show introduces a number of new characters and plot lines that don't appear in the film or stage versions.
  • Elementary expands Sherlock Holmes' addiction to an extremely relevant arc in the first season that is the premise of the show and changes Watson role from a mere foil/sidekick to Deuteragonist.
  • Shelley Duval's Faerie Tale Theatre expanded on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
  • With the exception of Bob, Luc Besson's original Nikita did not spend a lot of time with the organization that kidnapped and trained the title character. We briefly meet some of the people there—the director, a tech, a quartermaster, Amande the charm school instructor—but the film is not, in the end, concerned about them. The 1997 - 2001 La Femme Nikita, in turn, expanded on all of these roles, making them into the series' regular cast.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn follows the plot of the movie relatively faithfully, but at a much slower pace. At the same time it adds new characters and provides a backstory absent from the original film.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: The series fills in a lot of the details on events which were only mentioned by the book. Among them are what happened prior to the regime taking over, and Ofglen's fate after she's taken away. The series also looks at the pre-Gilead backstories of Offred, Luke, Commander Waterford and even Nick.
  • While NBC's Hannibal draws on the entire Hannibal Lecter franchise, is it most directly and specifically based on the novel Red Dragon. The series takes two and a half seasons to cover a handful of incidents briefly described in the novel's backstory — the Minnesota Shrike killings, Will Graham's spending time in a sanitarium, and Hannibal Lecter's incarceration — while majorly expanding on the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. The show only starts on the main story of Red Dragon (the Tooth Fairy killings) in the second half of season 3, and the added context changes the plot somewhat.
  • Happy! added a number of new characters and plot lines to the story from the original comic. The first season adapts the entire comic, so all plots and new characters from there on out are original.
  • Horatio Hornblower was first based on stories from Mr. Midshipman Hornblower. Numerous one-off characters are expanded and continue to appear in the telefilms based on the subsequent books Lieutenant Hornblower and Hornblower and the Hotspur. The first series also welded together elements from several of the stories, while the third took a few mentions of Irish unrest and made it into the overarching plotline. But the most notable example has to be the character of Archie Kennedy, who appeared in just two Midshipman stories as nothing more than a lighthearted fellow who joked with Horatio during a dull watch. The cast and crew liked Jamie Bamber's performance so much that they brought him back and made him Horatio's best friend and confidant. The Forester estate eventually ordered them to write him out because his presence was changing Horatio's character too much from the source, and so William Bushnote  can take his canonical role as Horatio's best friend. (Which they did, after a transition period in which they formed a Power Trio and they gave Kennedy a memorable Heroic Sacrifice.)
  • Gossip Girl, based on an 11 (eventually 12 + spinoff) novel series by Cecily von Ziegesar, ended up airing for six seasons and more than 100 episodes on The CW.
  • Gotham heavily expands on the death of Batman's parents (and subsequent investigation). It starts James Gordon on his quest to clean up the GCPD, precipitates a Mob War and the rise of Batman's enemies, and inspires Bruce to lead his first investigation into a conspiracy connecting his father's company to Arkham Asylum.
  • The American remake of House of Cards (UK) does this, in part because of the different political systems. In the original British version, it takes just four hours for Francis Urquhart to go from Chief Whip of the Conservative Party to being Prime Minister and ruler of his country. In the American version, it takes an entire season of thirteen 50-minute episodes (just shy of 11 hours) just to get Frank Underwood promoted from House Majority Whip to being tapped as the new Vice-President, and another thirteen to get him the rest of the way to the Presidency. Having an increased length is beneficial to the American version, considering that in real life, American politicians tend to rise more slowly than they do in Britain (in Britain, a leadership election can shift things in a fortnight; in the United States, there are no leadership elections. For the record, Barack Obama's rise from Illinois State Senator to President in four years was considered positively meteoric).
  • Insecure is based on the Web Original Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl, and Issa Rae created/stars in both. However, pretty much the only thing that remains exactly the same is the basic premise. Some elements remain similar, such as Issa being a Token Minority at her job and being an amateur rapper (although in the TV series they're turned into imagine spots for the most part). Additionally, in the web series, we learn almost no backstory of characters other than the lead (named J in the original) whereas the TV series spends a lot more time characterizing Issa's friends and love interests.
  • Jeeves and Wooster added plenty of extra material to the short stories being adapted, including events that Bertie wouldn't have seen (and therefore couldn't have narrated).
  • M*A*S*H was based on the same premise as the book and feature film of the same name, but even the earliest episodes had plots created specifically for the show, rather than drawing from the earlier versions. The longer the series went on, the more distance it gained from the source material; Season 4 replaced two characters adapted from the source material (Henry Blake and Trapper John) with characters original to the series (Colonel Potter and BJ Hunicutt respectively), Season 6 saw the replacement of Frank Burns with original character Charles Winchester, and with Radar's departure in Season 8, original characters outnumbered those who'd been in the book and movie.
  • In the Minority Report (2015) series, Dash and Arthur are main characters shown as much as Agatha is, whereas in the movie the Precog twins were only briefly seen.
  • The original British version of The Office ran 14 episodes and focuses on four main characters. The American adaptation runs about 200 episodes and features a much larger cast.
  • Once Upon a Time is this to a large number of fairy tales and classic stories, including most things that Disney has adapted (but some that they haven't, like Rumpelstiltskin). The basic thrust of the series is that, rather than being the events of stand alone stories, all of these things happened as part of a single large story. As an example, the story of Rumpelstiltskin's encounter with the miller's daughter is closely tied to the story of Snow White and the Evil Queen. Rumpelstiltskin also figures prominently in the stories of Peter Pan, Frozen (and the fairy tale from which it was adapted), and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, among others.
  • Power Rangers:
    • The first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers ended up trimming the 50 episodes of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger that Saban picked up from Toei into 40 episodes, with the "Doomsday" two-parter originally intended to be the finale. However, when the show proved to be a bigger success than expected, Saban had no choice but to contract Toei to shoot additional footage specifically for MMPR, since they were not ready to adapt the Super Sentai franchise's tradition of changing the team's costumes and robots every year. For the remaining twenty episodes of Season 1 and the first thirteen episodes of Season 2, MMPR used completely new action footage which featured the original Zyuranger costumes and robots with all new monsters that were not from any prior Sentai show.
    • Tensou Sentai Goseiger had Mons Drake, who was only the first Big Bad of three. However, his overseas counterpart in Power Rangers Megaforce, Admiral Malkor, was greatly expanded upon and instead serves as the overall Big Bad of said adaptation.
  • Preacher is quite an extreme example of this. It spends its entire 10 episode first season telling a story that the original comics told in the first issue. They do this so that they can take the time to expand on and explore the core characters and mythology before moving onto the comics' main Myth Arc at the very end of the season and into the rest of the series.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon adapted only the first arc of the manga, while adding in various new elements such as Sailor Luna, Zoicite's loyalty to Endymion, "Nephikichi", Darkury (in addition to Mamoru also turning evil), a teenage clone of Queen Beryl, and different Character Development for many of the characters, particularly Sailor Venus.
  • The Pretty Little Liars TV series is doing this, adding plots for characters that weren't major in the book, and adding characters as love interests, probably because the book series only had 8 novels and most of the plot involved them trying to find A.
  • Les Revenants, despite having fewer people coming back to life than the movie it's based on, has more time to develop both the plot and the characters.
  • Sherlock frequently makes feature length episodes out of short stories, sometimes by using them as a mere skeleton to hang a more complicated plot around, sometimes by creating a completely new story with a few of the same character names, and on at least two occasions ("A Scandal in Belgravia", "The Six Thatchers") by telling the original story in the first half, before saying "And then..." as the halfway twist.
  • The Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series extended short stories into hour episodes, either by including additional complications or by showing with more detail scenes that Watson only heard about second-hand. For example, the final episode, "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box", opens with the marriage of Mary and Jim, and includes a number of original scenes establishing the relationship between the three Cushing sisters, before Holmes gets involved (which he does earlier than in the story; Susan contacts him about Mary's disappearance before the eponymous box arrives). The brief reference to letting rooms to medical students until they became too rowdy becomes a scene of one medical student whose reason for being evicted ties back to the nature of the family. It also adds a subplot about grave robbing, and sets the events at Christmas to include scenes of Holmes and Watson celebrating both at home and with the police. While the story ends with the murderer's confession, the episode includes scenes of him in prison and Holmes and the police finding the bodies.
  • When $#*! My Dad Says was announced as an upcoming TV series, the Twitter feed it was based on had only 67 tweets. It's safe to say the show contains more words than that per episode.
  • The Story of Tracy Beaker, which had her repeatedly adopted by Cam/sent back to the Dumping Ground over the course of five seasons, along with lots of new material. (In the book, her adoption by Cam is the Happy Ending, and the later books in the series are about her living with Cam.)
  • Anthology horror series like The Twilight Zone often have episodes based on short stories which expand on the original stories considerably. In fact, the show itself got this treatment when some individual episodes were adapted into short graphic novels.
  • The Umbrella Academy's first season (of ten episodes that each ran over 30 minutes) was based on a six-issue comic book. Fans of the former are generally confused when they read the latter, which- while good- is a lot less story-focused and doesn't explore certain characterizations or plot points that were vital to the TV series.
  • V (2009): Originally a two-part miniseries, now turned into a full fledged series.
  • The Worst Witch has gone through this several times over. The TV movie padded itself with sequences including a "scaring contest" and an early sequence with Punk Charlotte Rae, and the later series would pad the same adaptation by using the "Ethel's a pig" sequence as the basis for an episode (introducing a whole new character in Mr. Blossom's nephew Charlie), while adding in a climactic chase through the school grounds. Bizarrely, it's otherwise managed to incorporate adaptations of the next three books as-is (although The Worst Witch Strikes Again was made into two separate episodes).

    Many of the episodes in the first two series have new plots not taken from the books, or expanded from small references in the books (e.g the main plot of first episode "The Battle of the Broomsticks" is based around a line mentioning that Mildred's Broom got broken after she flew it into some bins on her first day). The third series is entirely new material, as at that time the books only went up to the second year. Since then two books have come out covering Mildred's third year which are different to the third series.


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