How's everyone feeling about Netflix?
*dusts off GMD a bit* So here we are, the end of 2020 is in sight. A rough year for all parties involved. How is everybody currently feeling about the Netflix production of Narnia at this point? (To post an unbiased comment, skip the rest of this post. )
Personally, and perhaps this IS 2020 affecting my overall outlook on life, but I'm definitely becoming more and more pessimistic about Netflix heading up Narnia. And that's saying something because several years ago I remember posting on this very forum wishing and dreaming Netflix would pick it up!
Fast forward a few years... My husband and I just recently cancelled Netflix due to the fact that every time I would watch a new show they had produced, there was always some little snipe they seem to have gone out of their way to put in to attack personal beliefs I have. That's fine, they have the right to make whatever they want, but I'm not going to use my money to support it. And for the record, no, I'm not boycotting Netflix, just taking a break for an undetermined length of time. 😉
And here's the problem... over the past year or two, I've seen more and more people cancelling their Netflix subscription for similar reasons to my own, and the vast majority of those people are huge fans of Narnia. Is Netflix aware they're picking off their established fan base? Or do they plan to change Narnia and "modernize" it to have it be more inclusive to pick up others outside of the fan base?
I don't have an answer to that, but the direction they've been going with the bulk of their content is making me more and more concerned for Narnia.
I guess the short answer is that I'm definitely going to watch it when it comes out!
The one thing that gives me hope is that Douglas Gresham will still be involved, and he'll step in if he feels like they are changing too much for the wrong reasons. It really depends though on what intentions Aldrich & co. have with the adaptation, whether being genuine fans of the books or just looking for an opportunity to compete with other streaming services and their fantasy adaptations (His Dark Materials - HBO and Lord of the Rings - Amazon Prime). If they are big fans of the source material, and view it as an opportunity to bring their own childhood memories to life, they'll want to deliver an adaptation that is mainly catered to people who grew up with, are in the process of growing up with + love the books for what they are (and that is already an incredibly diverse group).
While they may want to bring in some audiences from outside of this demographic (fans of the source material, that is), it would be stupid to alienate said demographic - not to say they won't, but I seriously hope they don't. Overall, I'm preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
This is the journey
This is the trial
For the hero inside us all
I can hear adventure call
I voted for "less optimistic", not so much because of any concerns about how the show would be handled, but rather because i am increasingly skeptical about whether they will even go through with it.
It's been several years now since Narnia was announced, and the television and entertainment landscape has changed significantly since then, as likely will Netflix's priorities at the executive level. Even with the developments in CGI that have made other fantasy series such as Game of Thrones, The Witcher and His Dark Materials much more practical for the small screen, Narnia still seems like an expensive investment by comparison, and i'm kind of doubting whether there is still the appetite to go through with it.
As for Netflix as a company, I personally have never interpreted them as being anything more than a platform for content. I have never seen anything to suggest they have an active hand in developing movies in the same way that a traditional studio would, nor that they have any particular ideology or worldview. If anything, their biggest successes and failures both seem to stem from the fact that they just repeatedly chuck a bunch of content at creators and then just let them get on with whatever they want to produce. Sometimes that works out great, sometimes that works out badly, but i've yet to see them really shape any project to meet any sort of corporate identity.
Take Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" for example - if that were produced at any normal studio, the execs would have been demanding he trim 30 mins-to-an-hour from the runtime in order to make it palatable for cinema-going audiences. As it was, Netflix had absolutely no reason to care about that one way or the other, and so didn't tell him "no". The result for me was a disappointingly compromised movie. Sometimes giving people full artistic freedom isn't the best solution after all - "necessity is the mother of invention" as they say.
My opinion hasn't changed. A lot of Netflix original content is adaptations, and Narnia seems like it would fit in. My only concern is tone. They've put a lot into fantasy YA content, and I wouldn't be surprised if they have Narnia skew a little older than the 8-12 range. However, they are also putting a lot into more kid/family stuff. And although there is some crossover between projects (Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things produced and starred in Enola Holmes), most of the series they put out seem to be under different creative teams.
The trick will be getting Narnia past the first two seasons, as that second season mark seems to be point where most series are likely to be cancelled.
Narniaweb sister to Pattertwig's Pal
I guess I'm feeling a bit more optimistic because we've heard actual updates after going a long time with none. I'm optimistic about it becoming a reality (which there were some fears about earlier) but I don't know how much my hopes for its quality or book-faithfulness have changed.
I will say that the show does seem to have a decent chance at not being a "Game of thrones wannabe" given that Netflix seems to already have shows for that purpose. I'm just worried that Netflix's previously stated intentions of making more family-friendly content could take it to the other extreme- insipid, dumb-downed fairytales.
Just hoping Gresham can keep good ideas in and bad ones out!
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I'm about the same as before — that is, cautiously optimistic, but not more so (or less so) than I was previously. It's one of those things where we'll just have to wait and see. If it never comes about, we're no worse off than we were before. If it does come out and they do a brilliant job, fantastic! If it's so-so or (worse) a total travesty that's not even popular with people who aren't familiar with Narnia, let alone those who are already huge fans, well, there it is. None of it's going to change the seven books by C.S. Lewis that are the only actual legitimate Narnia canon, after all. I would LOVE to see a screen adaptation that truly does justice to them at last, but I can still live quite happily if we never do get that! At least we know Netflix hasn't dropped the whole project — and the very fact that they were willing to take it up (and to buy the rights to all seven books) shows that they believe this is a worthwhile venture and it will get an audience. That says a lot about the enduring popularity of Narnia, even 70 years after the books were first published. So I'm content for now to just keep waiting and see what happens...
"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
I'm still waiting to see what happens. I've been reasonably pleased with the Netflix projects that have caught my interest so far, but on the other hand its been awhile since its felt like Netflix Narnia is moving forward through the production process so that could cancel out the positive feelings.
My opinion hasn't really changed much... I might be slightly more cautious though... but I am definitely planning on watching it and still confident they won't totally butcher it. Whether or not it lives up to the high standards of my favorite shows list is another matter 😛 I've decided to reserve judgement until I see it. I do enjoy a lot of the kid's shows on Netflix and I think ultimately how much I'm going to like it is going to depend on what age of audience they aim it for. Too old and I'm afraid they won't adapt it faithfully (given the whole GoT/LotR/HP phase going on right now... I don't want them to treat it as a copy of one of those.) Too young and I'm afraid they'll water it down too much that we miss some of the important messages and moments in the book. I'm hoping they make it suitable for families, but with deep enough material that even the adults will enjoy it.
"The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly." -John Muir
"Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed." -Richard Adams, Watership Down
My opinion hasn't changed too much, but I think I'm slightly less optimistic than I was at the beginning. When it was announced two years ago, I was worried more because I didn't know much about Netflix originals, and I assumed they were of poor quality. Now that I've seen some, I'm no longer concerned about quality. I'm actually not very worried about what they will do to the story either. Now, my biggest fear is that Netflix won't make it past pre-production. I know this kind of thing takes time, and little work can be done during a pandemic. But since Aldrich was hired in June of last year, we haven't heard much.
There is still a lot I don't know about Netflix. Some companies like to get fans excited by giving them updates frequently, but maybe Netflix isn't like that? Maybe they won't give as many updates as Disney did for the movies. I don't know.
Anyway, whatever happens, I'll still be happy. If Netflix ends up not making it, I'll still have the books to read and the other adaptations to watch and listen to. If Netflix does still make the movies and series, I'll watch them, even if they stray from the books.