AppleTV’s miniseries adaptation of Lisey’s Story allowed Stephen King to improve on the original novel, proving the writer should adapt his work further.
While imperfect, the recent AppleTV adaptation of Lisey’s story proves that Stephen King should adapt his writing more to the screen. Based on the 2006 novel of the same name, Lisey’s story is a bizarre fusion of horror, romance and mystery from iconic genre scribe Stephen King. The source novel is the writer’s favorite among his many books, perhaps because Lisey’s story is one of Stephen King’s most autobiographical stories.
That said, the book and the ensuing miniseries are far from memories. On the one hand, the character most comparable to King in Lisey’s story, Scott Landon, died before the miniseries even began. From beyond the grave, Scott sends his wife on a sort of treasure hunt to uncover her dark and intricate past, which provides the main story for the miniseries (an obsessive fan’s attempts to hunt down his wife being subplot).
The mini-series adaptation of Lisey’s story is far from perfect, but with Stephen King adapting his book, he adds effective new moments to the original novel without changing the spirit of the story. Touches like the magical yo-yo and brutal cut scene from Episode 3 (both missing from the source novel), as well as King’s stellar ending for the otherwise uneven 2020 adaptation of The stall, prove that the author has matured enough as a screenwriter to understand how to translate his novels to the screen while also knowing what to cut and what to keep. King has a mixed history when it comes to screenwriting, but these recent efforts show a marked improvement in the writer’s abilities.
Early in his career, King was critical of screen adaptations he said failed his lines, with the writer loathing the film version of Kubrick. The brilliant because horror has strayed so far from its original novel. King’s own attempts to adapt his work have generally stuck to the text religiously, as evidenced by his adaptation of the inferior television miniseries of The brilliant, but on occasion, King has altered his original stories, bringing them to life on screen. Sadly, the most notable case of King attempting this was in 1986. Maximum overdrive, a critical and commercially disastrous adaptation of his new “Trucks” that led King to swear he would avoid the director’s chair for the foreseeable future.
However, while Maximum overdrive may not be an underrated classic, King’s additions to Lisey’s story flesh out the original text and add vital tension and stakes to the somewhat curvy plot of the source novel. Episode 3’s violent scene during Amanda’s hospital stay is heartbreaking, but it’s a brutal moment that ensures that (at this point) the show’s vague supernatural fantasy elements don’t completely obscure the climbing feeling Lisey’s story. Many of King’s greatest monsters, from Randall Flagg to Pennywise, merge fantastical elements with grim horror, but this surprisingly realistic shock takes the fantasy another way. Lisey’s story come down to earth with a bang. It is a well judged addition, and which proves Lisey’s story Scribe Stephen King is expected to bring more of his work to life despite his previous doubts about the adaptation process.
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