TV Review: 11-22-63
In 2012 I read the book 11-22-63 by Stephen King. It's a book that if I was to write down my favorite books of all-time I would absolutely include this novel towards the top of that list. It's one of the rare books that I think about now four years later. I absolutely was sucked into the world that Stephen King built and am constantly thinking about going back and re-reading it. A year ago Hulu announced that they would be developing an 8-episode mini-series based on the book with James Franco starring and JJ Abrams producing.
It sounded like a dream come true. It was easily one of my most anticipated shows of 2016, and one that I made Jenn watch each Monday as they released a new episode. Which, side note, but I wish Hulu would have released the entire series at once instead of one each week. They also should have built the show like HBO/Netflix/Amazon without commercial breaks. But those are small nitpicks for Hulu and not necessarily the show.
I thought the first two episodes of 11-22-63 were actually really good. It captured the essence, tone, and style of the book pretty well. The story revolves around Jake Epping a high-school English teacher who is pointed too a time warp from his friend who owns a Diner that takes you back to the early 1960's. This time traveling ability is a critical piece of the book and it spends the first quarter having Jake go back and forth and he learns the hard way on how to blend in, in the early 60's. The show on the other hand has him do one back and forth through the time portal and jumps straight into his quest to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
That's where I'll stop the comparisons between the book and the show. Its at this point the show basically gives up on the book and develops its own story for better and more often worse. Jake's quest to stop the assassination of JFK feels contrived. I'm not sure I ever believed his plight. There are a couple of episodes too that completely fell off the rails for me. When he starts becoming a spy for example just felt so off for his character and his characters skills that it just didn't make sense. There was also one of my least favorite TV/Movie trope of convenient memory loss which drove me nuts.
With that being said it was still exciting to see the book I love come to life even with some of its faults. I enjoyed the series but its not one I will ever go back to again, unlike the book which I hope before 2016 ends I can say I've re-read Stephen King's masterpiece.