An Open Letter to Book-to-TV Producers

Kate Krug


Kate is a 2011 Drake University grad, where she received her BA in magazine journalism. A hopeless romantic with a cynical heart, Kate will read anything that comes with a content warning, a love triangle, and a major plot twist. Twitter: @katekrug Blog: http://snarky-yet-satisfying.com

Dear TV producers of the world,

There’s only one thing that bugs me more than book-to-tv adaptations that royally suck: it’s book-to-TV adaptations that just don’t know when to stop.

When you have a hit on your hands, I understand the impulse to milk as much money as you can out of it. However, there’s a reason why the author ended the story. There’s a reason why it’s a standalone novel. There will always be “more story to tell.” Please quit messing with the world the book has created.

Whatever your opinion on the controversial 13 Reasons Why, the Netflix series has made a splash. It was recently announced that it will be returning for a second season. Netflix also revealed via Twitter a series of plot points they want to explore, including: more insight into Hannah’s story, Jessica’s healing process, and possible comeuppance for Bryce. The only one I can get behind is the one about Jessica. I understand the appeal of Bryce’s downfall. Everyone wants to catch the bad guy. But you know what? How many sexual assault cases are out there where the perpetrator doesn’t face legal ramifications? Yes, it would be a satisfying thing to watch, but is it necessary?

Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale has also been given a second season. Now, the first is still airing, so I can’t say for certain if the entire book will be covered and they NEED a second to tell the entire story. But this quote from Elisabeth Moss aka Offred, makes me think otherwise: “There’s a huge gap between the epilogue and the end of the book where there’s a lot of unanswered questions. There’s so much that hasn’t been said in that book and we’re looking to explore that with Margaret.” Again, I understand the appeal: the story is fascinating and super timely. But, for me at least, part of what made the ending so chilly is because of that gap. Your mind is forced to fill in the blanks and isn’t that one of the best parts of a good dystopian novel?

There’s also been a clamoring for a second season of Big Little Lies. HBO, I’m begging you to let it be. We got a satisfying conclusion. No need to create additional drama for the sake of creating it. If you’re THAT keen, Liane Moriarty has a sizable catalog of other novels to chose from. Also, the cast is full of Hollywood A-listers. It’s not like they’re never going to work again.

“Miniseries” or “limited series” is a legit category in most major award shows for a reason. Embrace it. Don’t ruin the narrative if the only reason is to make money and appease hungry fans. Viewers will find something else bright and shiny soon enough and you can remain proud of the stellar show you created.


An impassioned reader and avid TV watcher