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Quackcast 647 - characters screwed over by adapters

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Aug. 8, 2023

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We're having a chat about characters that differ from the source material and turn out crap because of it. Characters where the people adapting them didn't care, understand, or even take time to read the original stuff because they thought they knew better.

There are a lot of instances where characters are adapted from source material and get totally messed up because the writers either don't understand or care about the source material they're taking from. Were not talking about being exactly true to a book, we're talking about understanding and respecting the characters so you can translate them to another medium and still have them recognisable and be themselves.
There are many examples of poor character translation… apparently this is what happened with The Witcher in the 3rd season of the show. The story is that the led actor, Henry Cavil is a fan of the character from the books and games and took exception to the character's dilution and sidelining as the series progressed. We've been told that the writers for the show would openly laugh at the source material, something they're not really qualified to do since even the well regarded first series is extremely badly written and only gets the praise it does because of Cavel's portrayal of the lead character.

An example that's very near and dear to me is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. This is a sort of a special case since the author had SOME involvement in it before he died but not enough apparently. the characters of Arthur Dent as played by Martin Freeman and Ford Prefect by Mos Def are terrible interpretations, so much so that they end up actively damaging the movie and harming the story. The essence of Arthur's character is a bemused, suburban British superiority: He has an expectation that as a British citisen his rights should be respected, his opinion should be listened to, people should understand his language, and things should conform to his suburban understanding of what is normal and good, all this is signaled by his wearing of Pajamas, a dressing gown and slippers the whole time. Whereas Martin Freeman's version simply doesn't understand what he's seeing and goes through the whole movie with an affronted frown on his stupid face. This is absolutely incorrect! Rather than not understanding anything Arthur is suppose to believe that he understands everything, but only in simple, suburban British terms,so that he can go through the story with a sense of befuddled superiority.

Ford Prefect is supposed to be cool. He's easy going, and just meshes with whatever situation he's in, even if he doesn't understand it. He's very smart and quick to adapt. Mos Def's version is just a moron who looks good. All that said,Sam Rockwell's version of Zaphod was more perfect than perfect, and Zoe Dashenell was perfectly fine as Trillian, but that character was never ever written well to begin with in the original.

What characters do you think with translated poorly in an adaption? Adam West's Batman? Hernry Cavil's Superman? Who?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme inspired by Oi Tales of Bardic Fury - A Jangling, reverential, exotic, evocative sound of places far away, the smell of sweet spices, mulled wine, and cured meats on the warm breeze in the salty air…

Topics and shownotes

Future cast: TRON and TRON 2


Featured comic:

Featured music:
Oi Tales of Bardic Fury - - by Omeow, rated E.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Tantz Aerine -
Banes -

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Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Aug. 11, 2023

@Kou the Mad - True!

Kou the Mad at 4:02AM, Aug. 10, 2023

There's honestly way too many examples in recent years to name. And that's kinda horrifying.

Ozoneocean at 5:18PM, Aug. 9, 2023

@elektro - Ahhhhh! Yes, that show! I only just recall it.

Ozoneocean at 5:18PM, Aug. 9, 2023

@JillyFoo Thankyou so much! ^_^ I was really happy with it myself haha! :D

elektro at 3:42PM, Aug. 9, 2023

@Ozoneocean Captain N was this really cheesy Saturday Morning cartoon from the 80s. Let me see if I can find a clip.

JillyFoo at 8:41AM, Aug. 9, 2023

Just wanted to comment and say I liked the Witcher duck illustration. :D

Jason Moon at 8:01AM, Aug. 9, 2023

It never occurred to me or I just didn't realize it when watching the seasons.. In the video games you play Geralt so I felt like I knew a lot about him but not so much the other characters introduced later in the show. Never read the books so I thought they were being loyal to the series just because I had no idea.

Ozoneocean at 4:10AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@takoyama - They didn't have much to go on with Tomb raider, The game version doesn't tell us much. The Angelina Joeli movies weren't very close to the game's original spirit but were similar to what the later ones were like. I think they did ok. i haven't seen the latest film because it's based off of the later games which simply have nothing to do with the original Tomb Raider and I despise what they're turned the character into- from a highly competent, composed bad-arse James Bond- Indian Jones type explorer, to a dirty victim, survivor character with hunger Games pretensions.

Ozoneocean at 4:04AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@takoyama - in the case of Hitch Hiker's Guid to the Galaxy it's definitely nothing to do with things translating different to different mediums because those characters were already made more a radio play first, then a book, then a TV show, then a radio play again, then books and then radio plays again after that and they stayed the same all the way though. They just got messedup in the movie due to terrible writing. :(

Ozoneocean at 4:00AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@KAM - I'm unfamiliar with Hatari and Mat Helm

Ozoneocean at 3:58AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@elektro - What's Captain N?

Ozoneocean at 3:57AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@Jason Moon - how did you feel about the main character being so minimised? Even in the first series he became almost a side character,

Ozoneocean at 3:56AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@Soda-Pop With Flash Gordon and The mask I feel that though they're also both inaccurate they both retain the spirit of significant aspects of the characters. The Mask never goes dark and chaotically evilly selfish, but it's a good version of the wild, surreal, magical, fun side of him. and even though Flash isn't as clever as the original, being just a big, dumb jock, it still has his fantastical heroic space opera side.

Ozoneocean at 3:51AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@Soda-Pop - for this we definitely didn't mean inaccurate, because something like Conan The Barbarian is an inaccurate translation of the character but he's "spiritually" correct. The movie version retains the essential qualities of the character so he works just as well as he did in the original Howard stories. While someone like Arthur Dent in the movie simply doesn't work as he's supposed to

Ozoneocean at 3:48AM, Aug. 9, 2023

@dpat57 - it's annoying when the creators of a show just simply want to go in a different direction the characters.

takoyama at 1:51AM, Aug. 9, 2023

I only saw the movie and didnt read the books so I will have to take your word for it being made different than the writer wrote. some things translate different to different mediums. the tombraider original games were great to play but showing that isolation of gameplay in the movies and lara not having much in character development in the games except a few sassy lines didnt go over well in the Angelina movies. the man of steel movie was a dark and brooding superman not the movie i loved in the 70s with margot kidder and gene hackman. but on the other hand superman TAS seemed to get the character right.

KAM at 2:40PM, Aug. 8, 2023

Lex Luthor in the third season of Superman & Lois bore little resemblance to any comic characterization of Luthor I've read and was unpleasant to watch. - The Matt Helm novels vs. the Matt Helm movies. The movies are fun James Bond parodies, but they are a far cry from the tough, serious Matt Helm of the books. - An odd one since I don't know which came first, but Hatari the movie vs. Hatari the book. They are mostly similar except for the character of Brandi. In the movie she's a sweet & innocent young woman, but the book has her as... a slut.

elektro at 10:22AM, Aug. 8, 2023

Pretty much every video game character in that Captain N show got royally shafted adaptation-wise, but Simon Belmont got it the worst.

Jason Moon at 8:02AM, Aug. 8, 2023

Really cool music by Gunwallace. Always a joy to hear your guys' thoughts and opinions. I'm sad to hear of Henry leaving the show because I thought he fit the role very well. I never read the Witcher books just played the video games. I found the first season to be good except I grew bored with the last few episodes for some reason. When season 2 came out I binged it and season 3 the episode (everyone has a plan til' they get punched in the face) was amazing in my opinion. The chaos after the party and how everyone was all over the place in battles. And that fight between Geralt and Vilgefortz was masterfully done. You really fear the guy after you see him beat on Geralt with his magic metal staff. I was deeply disappointed with the film adaptation of Stephen Kings Dark Tower book series. Not even close to the source material and washed down to please present culture.

Soda-Pop at 6:59AM, Aug. 8, 2023

I suppose it depends on if by poorly translated, we mean 'inaccurate' or 'badly served'. I mean, Flash Gordon was totally removed from his comic book self in the Sam Jones movie and The Mask never did get the more loyal, dark version of its source material on film, but they're both enjoyably cartoonish flicks, with plenty of fans. If I was to try to point out characters I felt hadn't been adapted well, I might think about the ones that would serve as a bad introduction. A version that might not compel a viewer or reader to delve further into the characters origins. Examples of this for me would be the absolute mystery that was King Koopa in the Supermario Brothers movie from the nineties or more recently, SheHulk.

dpat57 at 5:42AM, Aug. 8, 2023

I could point to The Boys, sure there are some great performances in the TV series but oh! the things they decided to change, veering away from the comics' clever storylines and characters and big reveals. I think I've re-read the comics twice this year already... but I've yet to even look at Season 2 of the TV show. So who knows, somehow they might get things back on track?

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