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Overtook the Series

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In Overtook the Manga, the adaptation and the source material are being produced at the same time, but the adaptation goes faster than the ongoing source material and is forced to find numerous ways to make up for this. This trope is almost like that trope outside one important distinction: the source material isn't ongoing.

No, in Overtook the Series, the original work already had an ending. In some cases, that original work wasn't a multi-part or even long-running series, but instead a shorter, standalone work. Either way, there are no plans on the part of the original creators to continue the source material any farther, but the writers behind the adaptation have already adapted everything and want to (or are told to) keep going. Padding is no longer an option; it's time to rely on brand-new, original plots from that point onward.


These new stories may or may not be made with the help or supervision of the original creator, though that also hinges on whether they are still around. That said, not having the original author isn't a bad thing, as the creators of the adaptation could turn out to be fantastic writers in their own right that can match or even surpass the quality of the original. But if the original creator isn't involved and fans dislike those stories? Be prepared for comparisons between "bad fan fictions" and how the new stories serve as proof of how the adaptation should really have stopped on the same ending as the source material. Sequels based on works from the Public Domain tend to get this negative response the most, being viewed as blasphemies of classic stories that dare to continue something that was never intended to continue at all, even if it's just an adaptation.


This seems to be particularly common with British mystery series. Compare Adaptation Decay, Adaptation Distillation, Adaptation Expansion.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The manga series B't X ran from 1992 to 2001. Unlike the author's previous series Saint Seiya, the show's anime didn't start until 1997, possibly with the assumption that a five-year head start would avoid the problem of filler. The good news? To an extent. The bad news? A number of fights in the manga had to be cut out and the final battle is entirely different, simply because they couldn't go at a slow enough pace to match the manga.
  • Dragon Ball GT is an anime-only continuation of the series after Akira Toriyama ended the Dragon Ball manga.

     Film — Live-Action 
  • Over time, the James Bond movies went from being fairly close to Ian Fleming's novels to increasingly In Name Only adaptations. Finally, when Fleming's titles were all but used up, they began using original titles starting with Licence to Kill. The Continuity Reboot began with an updated version of Casino Royale (2006), followed by an In Name Only adaptation of Quantum of Solace (only taking its title from a Fleming short story), and then resumed with original stories as of Skyfall.
  • Jurassic Park was pretty faithful to the novel for a big-budget Hollywood adaptation. The Lost World: Jurassic Park didn't fare nearly as well, but at least had one or two scenes from the book. Jurassic Park III, on the other hand, was made up almost entirely out of whole cloth, other than a scene in a pterodactyl aviary. The subsequent Jurassic World films are an original continuation of the story with an almost entirely new cast of characters, both human and dinosaur.
  • The first The Neverending Story movie was loosely based on the first half of the book of the same name. The second movie was very, very loosely based on the second half of the book. The third movie was apparently based on little more than the opportunity to milk the franchise.
  • The Rambo film franchise outlasted the original First Blood novel by David Morrell due to the fact that unlike in the movies, Rambo died in the original novel. Morell would go on to write novelizations of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III, but he had no involvement in writing the actual movies themselves.
  • Blade Runner was adapted from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and was in turn followed by a trilogy of novels written by K.W. Jeter that combined the story of the film and book into one. The books were titled as if they were numbered sequels to the Blade Runner film (e.g. Blade Runner 2: Edge of Human, Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night, Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon), which is why the actual movie sequel that was released years later (Blade Runner 2049), had to be titled after the year it was set on.
  • There may be four (or five, if you include the spinoff) Shrek films, but only the original film was a direct adaptation, albeit an extremely loose one. This is because Shrek! was always one of cartoonist William Steig's lesser-known children's books, and it never sold well enough for him to write a sequel, even after the huge success of the film. Granted, Steig died shortly after the film came out.

  • In a very odd tv/book reversal, the Target Doctor Who novelizations eventually adapted all of the source material (or at least, all that they could secure the rights to - they novelised all but four of the over 150 serials that made up the original series) and turned to unproduced scripts before finally striking out with new original stories.
  • Wishbone had several tie-in novel series, which continued for a few years after the show ended production. While some of the books were novelizations of the episodes, most of them ended up being original to the book series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dexter has gone down this route. The first season was a somewhat loose, but still faithful, adaptation of the original novel. The second season after that used some elements from the later books, but mostly went on its own. After that, the series has gone down its own path.
  • Many of the first season of the black and white Perry Mason series are based on the novels, but from then on it overtook the series. In an interesting twist, the early novels had so many plot elements that the screenwriters had to edit some out, so some of these unused elements from novels adapted in the first season were reworked into new scripts.
  • The first series of The Last Detective was based upon Leslie Thomas' "Dangerous Davies" novels, but the next three were entirely original plots.
  • Filipino Cop Show Ang Probinsyano (2015) (lit. The Man from the Province) shared the same basic premise with the original 1997 Fernando Poe, Jr. film, but the teleserye became so wildly popular amongst viewers that the series was expanded upon with original plots and story arcs based on real-world crimes, local incidents, as well as Comic Relief and Slice of Life elements, all of which were absent from the film it was based upon.
  • While the Inspector Morse series was already a mixture of adaptations and original plots, it now invokes this trope with Morse deceased and his partner Sgt. Lewis now having his own series.
  • Done after the first eleven episodes of the Inspector Lynley mysteries, resulting in an Alternate Continuity so divergent with later books that the characters of the novel series and the characters of the television series are generally considered separate entities by the fandom.
  • Inverted with Rumpole of the Bailey, as the TV show came first and John Mortimer then adapted his screenplays into short stories and novellas, and while Mortimer has written newer books, the series has ended.
  • The Worst Witch ran out of material to adapt after the fourth book. The actresses were all getting too old by this point, so the show was ReTooled into Weirdsister College, replacing half the cast in the process (although Felicity Jones returned as Ethel Hallow, after two seasons of the role being played by Katy Allen). After that, a new series was made out of whole cloth.
  • ITV crime show Midsomer Murders overtook the Caroline Graham book series long, long ago.
  • Wire in the Blood was based on a few novels by Val McDermid, but quickly ran out of books to adapt and developed new stories.
  • Tales of the Unexpected ran out of adaptable Roald Dahl short stories after a series and a half but ran on until series nine by adapting stories from other authors.
  • Happy Together, the Russian remake of Married... with Children, is already longer than the original by 69 episodes... and more are to come.
  • Even with a degree of Adaptation Expansion, Call the Midwife exhausted the source books in two seasons. Showrunner Heidi Thomas then sought out other people who were midwives in the 1960s, and used their memories as source material for later seasons.
  • All Creatures Great and Small, the TV adaptation of James Herriot's short stories about a vet in the Yorkshire Dales, ran out of source material from the original books. Although Herriot was initially retained as a script consultant, he became upset with the way the new scripts caused the cast members to behave in ways that he thought were out of character for them. As they were based on real people who were still alive, Herriot was forced into embarrassing apologies to the real-life "Siegrfried Farnon" (and Mrs Farnon) when his TV persona suddenly became a philandering divorcee. Herriot eventually disclaimed responsibility for later TV episodes unscripted by him.
  • The 100 TV series entered production almost simultaneously with the publication of the first volume of the book trilogy. The first book ends with a cliffhanger where the 100 discover that they're not alone on Earth. The TV series uses that cliffhanger for the ending of the pilot episode. From that point on, the TV series charts its own course, developing its story completely independent from the books.
  • The TV adaptation of Dalziel and Pascoe abandons Reginald Hill's novels after On Beulah Height, although there's a quick detour into Dialogues of the Dead.
  • On Game of Thrones, parts of season 5 and all of seasons 6-8 fall into this trope. However, the showrunners had a story outline given to them by George R. R. Martin, so they did have some idea as to how he wanted the story to end.
  • The Handmaid's Tale series' first season ends where the book ended but will continue Offred's story, with author Margaret Atwood as a consultant.
  • Again on HBO, the first season of Big Little Lies was an adaptation of the source novel. When the show proved popular enough to justify a second season, new plots were created.
  • The first two seasons of another HBO series, In Treatment, are fairly faithful, sometimes word-for-word, adaptations of the Israeli original. The third season was written entirely from scratch.

    Video Games 

  • The first Nancy Drew PC game were based on actual Nancy Drew books; the first five were adapted from the Spin-Off Nancy Drew Files series, with the next few coming from the primary Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. They drifted back and forth between the two series after that, including adapting both the very first book (The Secret of the Old Clock) and the most popular book (The Secret of Shadow Ranch.) Somewhere around The Legend of the Crystal Skull, they started writing their own stories.
  • Fist of the North Star had a console RPG adaptation titled Hokuto no Ken 3 (since it was the third game based on the series on the Famicom) that adapted the storyline of the entire manga (up to the Kaioh arc at least). The game ended up having a sequel titled Hokuto no Ken 4 that featured a new storyline set several years later that revolved around the next Hokuto Shinken successor.

    Western Animation 
  • Many of the Direct to Video sequels to Disney Animated Canon film fall under this, as many of the original films are adaptations to works (be they fairy tales, myths, or novels) that had no proper or official continuation.
  • Series 1-2 and 4 (and half of 3) of Thomas the Tank Engine were based on the Railway Series books, but the other half of Series 3 and Series 5 onwards have been original. Ironically, not every story in the Railway Series has been adapted to television, but since the books and TV series are now completely different from each other there is little chance of these stories making it to the screen. However, Season 20 adapted the book Small Railway Engines. Yes, 25 years later, more stories were adapted.
  • Franklin did an entire season based almost entirely on material from Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clarks' original picture books, but then went on to air six seasons as well as CGI spinoff of original material. The first two movies, however, were also based loosely on elements from the books, the first movie more than the second.
  • Hilda: The graphic novels that the show is based on contained only five books when the first season went into production, and the fifth had to be omitted due to ending on a cliffhanger that wouldn't be resolved for another few years. Meanwhile, the four books they did adapt only provided enough material for five episodes, so several new stories had to be created to get a complete 13-episode season.
  • Watership Down (1999): After the show runs out of source material from the novel at the end of season 2, it uses original storylines for its third season.
  • Mr. Benn: With one exception, the television series adapted all the original books, and even had a one-off revival to adapt a later novel. Later books, in fact, adapted episodes of the television series.


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