Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The sad case of Riverworld

I've read the Philip Jose Farmer Riverworld book series, seen the 2003 Sci Fi Channel movie (before it was Syfy), and just saw yesterday's new 2010 version with Tahmoh Penikett. Whenever Syfy doesn't do a lot of publicity with a project, especially a miniseries... well, it's often a sign there's a problem.

The problem with Riverworld in this case is that in the end it just didn't make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, they didn't focus on what made the first two books great and instead got caught up in what didn't work when it came to Farmers later books.

When it came to the book series, the adventure was fun and the mystery was compelling. Trying to answer that mystery led to disappointment.

So, in case Syfy ever attempts to tackle Riverworld again, or in the very off chance that it becomes a series, folks focus on what made the first two books so great. Focus on the adventure and mystery, but without the incomprehensible aspect of it... including the whole dark tower thing, the hero failing to stop the bad guy, everything getting blow up, 8 years passing before he gets back to find that everyone died but the world started up again, and blue people talking about chess?

And one P.S.: The whole bit where the hero finally finds the girl and discovers she's thrown in with the bad guy... could her character have had any less development? And then when it's all over he still wants to find her instead of going for the hot Samurai chick... not so satisfying.

So sad... Maybe this is one that just won't ever translate on screen.

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