THE DEAD ZONE
This Stephen King book has been adapted into a television series and a movie. The movie was more true to the book, but I enjoyed the television series more. I like the character Bruce Lewis, who is not in the book. Part of the reason for this is that Bruce plays a moral conscience role, keeping Johnny from dealing with his villain the way he intends to in the book. I feel that the other reason Bruce's character exists is to get the audience "out" of Johnny's head, saving the audience from "stream-of-thought" narration, which is rarely done well in a television drama. (Possibly because tv comedy has used it enough that we anticipate the voice-over to be funny.) While third-person-omniscient works well in books, it doesn't always work on screen. Bruce gives Johnny someone to talk to and also makes him less of a lone wolf. He can feel more like a "good" protagonist.
The Dead Zone is the first time in a novel Stephen King featured the fictional town of Castle Rock, though the tv show tends to refer to the characters as living in "Penobscot County in Maine," which is a real place. In the book, Johnny is about 28-years-old when he wakes up from his coma. Christopher Walken, who plays Johnny in the 1983 film, was over 40-years-old when the film debuted. Anthony Michael Hall was 34-years-old when the television show aired in June 2002.
In the novel, the "dead zone" is the part of Johnny Smith's brain that is damaged beyond repair, causing dormant parts to awaken in order to compensate, leading to psychic abilities; when information in his visions is obstructed, Johnny says it exists in the dead zone. In the movie adaptation starring Walken, a "dead zone" is a blind spot that only appears in precognitive visions, representing that the future can be altered. In the TV series starring Hall, the "dead zone" is not his brain damage but instead the previously dormant part of Johnny's brain that awakens and activates his psychic abilities.
A major flaw in the book and television show is that there isn't actually a part of the brain that is dormant or unused.
Magnetic resonance imaging shows that most of the human brain is active most of the time. In the course of a day, you use just about every part of your brain.
Eighty years of studies confirm that every part of the brain is active throughout the course of a day. Save those who have suffered serious brain injury, we use all of our brains, all of the time.
Is that what went wrong with the television adaptation? That a "dead zone" couldn't actually be a dormant part of a brain since there's no such thing? 🧠
No. It's that, behind the scenes, there weren't enough dedicated people to fight for it, and there wasn't enough money to keep it going as it could have and should have been.
Proof that even if the adaptation is from a book by Stephen "best-seller" King, budgets can still be slashed, characters added or removed, storylines shifted, and story arcs altered.