Television

Adapting Justin Cronin’s The Passage

I absolutely loved Justin Cronin’s novel The Passage. A couple of years later, I really enjoyed the sequel, The Twelve. I liked the third book, The City of Mirrors, though I thought Cronin spent way more time on, let’s just say (for the sake of not spoiling anything) the backstory of a significant viral (Cronin’s word for a vampire) character than I thought he should’ve. The backstory was interesting, true, but it didn’t seem to contribute a lot to the overall story arc. That said, I was still happy with where the trilogy ended.

The overview of the story: Scientists are trying to develop a cure for all the infirmities of human life, and their search predictably takes them down some dark paths. As is usually the case with ambitious scientists in popular culture, they set out to experiment on humans with a virus they’ve discovered in South America. Things go wrong, of course, and that’s where the story gets interesting. One of the central characters in the first novel is a six-year-old girl named Amy, who may be the key to helping humanity survive.

Regarding the new FOX television adaptation: I’m not one of those people who needs to see a direct scene-by-scene page-to-screen adaptation of any work, even one I dearly love (as I do The Passage), but there are scenes in that book that were so beautifully written and utterly terrifying that I really wanted to see them interpreted for the screen. Also, there’s at least one significant character who’s missing entirely, and I’m greatly disappointed to learn that. True, Sister Lacey is most significant in that she reappears later in the books, but she was one of my favorites.

Still, I’m willing to give the television version a chance. I can easily balance being disappointed when things are different or absent with trying to appreciate a new and different take. I will say I was a little unsure about Mark Paul Gosselaar as Brad Wolgast (who was written in the book as a wonderfully flawed and fascinating character), but he’s grown on me in the first episode. And while Amy’s personality is much different than in the book–and she’s been aged from six to ten years old–I’m also enjoying Saniyya Sidney’s portrayal of her. We’ll see where this thing goes.

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