I’ve been anxious for the Delirium TV show ever since it was announced ages ago. The book was absolutely one of my favorites in the last little while, so I really wanted to see a show that would do it justice. So what did I think after watching the pilot now that Hulu has picked it up? I have mixed feelings. And if you haven’t read the book, I suggest you stop reading, and probably don’t watch the show, cuz it’s going to be spoilery.
Things that struck me at the very first were that they completely removed Lena’s extended family, whom she lives with in the book. It makes me wonder how they’re going to handle the future in the show, because Lena’s family becomes more important down the line. I’m a stickler for continuity, so I already don’t like that this was different.
The Fineman family, who we don’t meet until the second book, is introduced at the very beginning of the show. And in doing that, they changed some of what Lena really does for Julian instead. I’m sure this is just so they can introduce the love triangle between Lena, Alex, and Julian more quickly, but it was annoying. In all honesty, it was like they were trying to fit the entire first book in the initial episode. They completely rushed the timeline, changed out Lena’s mom for her dad, and revealed Hana’s involvement in Lena getting caught instead of the watcher wondering how the authorities found out, just like Lena does. In fact, Lena never finds out the truth in the books, so this destroyed something beautiful for her right from the start.
They also made the character of Alex less likable. In the books, he’s just this kid who falls in love, and acts on that. Sure, he’s “with” the resistance, but he’s not actively doing anything aside from letting in the occasional farm animal. This version has him deliberately searching Lena out because she’s his mission. Not only is this totally not romantic, but we miss out on a lot of the sweet scenes that show Lena’s journey from believing in the cure to loving Alex and realizing their society is a farce.
I also felt like the cured adults were far more caring than they should have been. In the books, it seems like most adults have effective cures and live on because that’s what you’re supposed to do. This version made the cure seem far less effective, like there were deficiencies with it across the board in all our major adult characters. While this makes their actions seem a lot more sinister, it gets away from the point of the book.
I think I probably could have accepted these things if they had been presented to me in a more laid out fashion. Since I’m such a devout fan of the series, it’s hard for me to accept all of these differences in the span of 43 minutes. And since it looks like only this one episode was ever shot, it really seems like we just got a shitty not even movie instead of a proper show. It’s too bad, because this could have been a really fantastic series, and I really wish it had been done right. All I can really hope at this point is that someone else tries it again, perhaps with more involvement from Lauren Oliver next time.