Netflix Narnia in the Works, Yet Another Attempt to Adapt

Book adaptations are popular commodities in the streaming world, and some are better and more faithful than others. Disney+ just recently released the first season of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, a satisfying and well-done series with a great cast that is true enough to the text to satisfy readers while also paced and editedThe Chronicles of Narnia Series and Films Being Developed by Netflix appropriately to keep up screen momentum. Amazon Prime’s Wheel of Time, by contrast, is a sleek and sexy series that Robert Jordan, may he rest in peace, would not recognize as having much in common with his behemoth book series. It is no surprise, then, that Netflix already has its hooks in The Chronicles of Narnia. Although the streaming giant has had the rights to the series for years, it look like it is actually now planning to put a Narnia adaptation into production, and there are those who are excited for the series as well as those who are less than enthusiastic about what this adaptation may entail. After the jump, let’s look at some of the previous attempts at Narnia adaptations and ponder some of the news that we have so far about the Netflix project.

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Anne Bradstreet: America’s First Poet, A Great Books Podcast

Over the summer, I was privileged to be a guest as part of National Review‘s wonderful Great Books podcast series on The Chronicles of Narnia. I was honored to be asked to join the brilliant host John Miller again a few weeks ago to discuss one of my other favorite authors, the incomparable Anne Bradstreet, America’s first published poet. As many Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, this is a wonderful time to reflect on the work of Bradstreet, a Puritan wife and mother who was also a phenomenal poet whose influence continues today. I hope you will enjoy listening to our conversation about Bradstreet as much as I enjoyed having it! On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the many authors whose work has been a powerful influence in my life. Sixty years ago today, C.S. Lewis left this earth. Hardly anyone noticed (Aldous Huxley died then, too) because President Kennedy was assassinated the same day. Anne Bradstreet lived four hundred years ago, and yet, her voice remains powerful. May you be blessed this Thanksgiving with great reading!


Hollywood Gamemakers and Some Lovely Tunes: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Comes to the Big Screen

Over ten years ago, I shared my thoughts  on the first Hunger Games  film, which was largely filmed just down the road from where I live and included some of my friends and students as extras. Despite the fact that the movie gave a nice tourism bump to my region and was a fun viewing experience since I had my English classes reading the novel, I am not particularly fond of it as an adaptation, and I saw the subsequent films as mixed bags that frequently failed to match my expectations compared to Suzanne Collins’s wonderful trilogy. Thus, when the film adaptation of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was announced, I was not particularly hopeful. The prequel to the original Hunger Games Trilogy is a brilliant novel, and I was not optimistic about what the Hollywood Gamemakers would do to it. I donned my T-shirt that says “The book was better,” and off I went to be underwhelmed, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Although there are certainly some aspects of the film I found lacking, there were others that hit some very nice notes, just like a song. Join me after the jump for some thoughts on sets, Snow, symbols, songs, and much more from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Be warned, spoilers and venomous reptiles lie ahead.

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The Redemption of Loki: Observations on the Series Finale

Despite the fact that comic books and their readers sometimes have to be defended against charges of being less sophisticated than “real” literature, the stories and characters that we know from the world of comics and their adaptations can carry serious literary weight. Such has sometimes been the case with the films and series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The latest of the original series to premiere on Disney + is Loki, and the conclusion to the second season (and apparently to the series) reveals both literary and mythic depths that are both surprising and satisfying. Warning: If you have not yet experienced all 12 episodes of the series, major spoilers lie ahead, so beware!

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Elizabeth Baird-Hardy’s Strike Favorites

In the interest of being as un-influenced as possible, I have collected my list of Strike novels, ranked from least favorite to favorite, without looking at anyone else’s list. I look forward to seeing how my fellow professors here at HogPro list the books, as I have been scrupulously careful to avoid seeing them yet. As with any list, there is always room for debate. While I always enjoy those countdown lists on the radio, usually around New Year’s, I often find myself shouting at some faceless host who has the gall to rank one of my favorite songs outside the top ten on the list of “Greatest 80s Songs,” so I understand the complexities of lists and personal opinions.

In ranking the adventures of our favorite Denmark Street detectives, I am considering my own tastes and interests, of course, as well as what seem to be more empirical standards. It is worth noting that I do not consider an error (like some we have noticed and discussed here over the years, unsurprising considering the amount of text covered by these books) to be an automatic reason to devalue a book or move it down the list. I find that all the novels are worthwhile, so even my Number 6 is not a bad book; I just like the others better, and there is something I like very much in each book, just as there are aspects I don’t like as much. While my number 1 book has not changed since its publication and is likely to remain my favorite in perpetuity, I have found some of the others shifting position on my list, and they may continue to move about with time. I do look forward to discussing all of our lists to see where we differ and concur. Since  I have not read anyone else’s lists, mine may be more or less detailed. So join me after the jump for my humble (and spoiler-laden)contribution to the Strike Ranking Extravaganza! [Read more…]