One of Netflix’s newest shows, The End of the F***ing World, was released on January 5, 2018. It was directed by Jonathan Entwistle and Lucy Tcherniak, and features two young teenagers who escape from their less-than-ideal family situations: the presumed psychopath, James, and the lovely-yet-very-angry Alyssa. The two embark on a road trip across England after stealing James’ father’s car. It’s glorious.
It’s based on a graphic novel of the same name, written by Charles Forsman, which was released in 2011. There remain both very major and slightly minor changes between the two versions, but I found both to be extremely enjoyable in their own regard. In an attempt to not spoil The End of the F***ing World, here’s my compilation of the most important and interesting changes between both versions of the story.
1. The setting
Image Via Planetebd
While the Netflix television series places us in modern-day southern England, the graphic novel is set in the presumed past (complete with the lack of 21st-century technology) somewhere in the U.S.A.
2. Passing of time
Undeniably, it is quite difficult to convey a long stretch of time passing in a television show that rounds off eight episodes at 20ish minutes a piece. We can assume that this is why the creators of the Netflix show decided to condense the amount of time that James and Alyssa are on the road for from several months to several days. The graphic novel gives us a journey that is much longer, and thus, quite a bit different in terms of character development.
3. Characterization/personality differences
Image Via Fantagraphics
An interesting variation on the characters in the show versus the comic is the fact that their personalities are slightly more exaggerated on television. The two are outcast figures in both representations (thus prompting the inevitable escape from their lives), but they show more extreme behaviors onscreen. While James seems incessantly agitated and bugged out, and Alyssa is overly aggressive, angry, and hostile in the show, their personalities remain far tamer in Forsman’s graphic novel. For instance, Alyssa smiles a lot more, and James just seems a little quiet.
4. James’ murder plot
Image Via Digital Spy
The Netflix show equips James with a knife that his aloof father had gifted him sometime in the past, and it is this weapon that James fantasizes murdering the oblivious Alyssa with (a smoking gun sort of prop). The comic gives us a much different sense of what his potential betrayal to her might entail. James does not own such an obvious weapon in this version, and he simply wishes to choke the life out of her instead. Both gruesome ends to a life, yes, though one might be a little less…messy.
5. On-the-go disguises
Without saying too much, James does in fact commit a murder, but it’s not against Alyssa. In fact, we learn that James begins to develop his own unique feelings towards the strange girl he’s found himself tied to. James protects his new girlfriend rather than causing her harm by taking someone else’s life instead of hers. The man James kills had intended to sexually assault and murder the young girl. James kills in self-defense as opposed to true homicidal psychopathy. I, personally, like to think of significant others as “partners in crime,” and in this case the two teens truly do become just that: they flee the scene of the crime, and are forced to assume new identities. While the show depicts Alyssa as giving herself bangs and blonde hair and James a haircut that doesn’t quite deviate from his original appearance too much, the comic gives Alyssa a very short bob hairstyle and James with not much hair left whatsoever.
6. Law enforcement
One of the differences I found most interesting between the television show and the comic was the fact that the aforementioned rapist/murderer has a much more interesting history and background in the original story. In the show, this man does indeed serially harm young women, but he is also an accomplished novelist and well-to-do person. In the graphic novel, we learn that he is part of a secret and lethal cult of which some of the police officers are a part of as well. Netflix, instead, gives us two very likable female cops who seem to have had a romantic history, but are simply attempting to do their job by the books.
7. The end of the f***ing story
Image Via TVLine
Again, I don’t want to spoil either of these worthwhile stories for you, but I will say that the creators of the Netflix show took a few more liberties with the way the ending is structured as opposed to Forsman’s original ending. I will also say that the show ends on a very ambiguous note, while the comic does not leave as much room for interpretation.
So if you’re like me and enjoy coming-of-age stories, I highly suggest checking this one out. Give the graphic novel a go, and then watch the adaptation. One of my favorite parts of the show was how killer the entire soundtrack was throughout.
Featured Image Via Netflix