Book to screen adaptations are always tricky, and more often than not, directors and producers fail to preserve the essence of the story. If you’re a reader, you most likely have a running list of books that you wish to see turned into movies or tv series, to have a chance to see your favorite characters and fantasy worlds come to life, but the fear that the results might not live up to your expectations is always there.
Bookworms and fans of the Grishaverse all around the world rejoiced when in January 2019, the official announcement of Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone Netflix tv series was made. The show was to be adapted to the screen by Eric Heisserer and Leigh Bardugo herself was to write the script. And the big surprise? The show was not only going to be based on the Shadow & Bone trilogy, but it was going to include the famous Six of Crows duology as well.
Indeed, our hardened Ketterdam criminals on the other side of the fold made such a lasting impression on showrunner Eric Heisserer that he admitted during an interview with Entertainment Weekly to having refused to develop the show with Netflix unless they bought the rights for Six of Crows as well. And the rest is all history.
Shadow & Bone premiered on Netflix on May 23, 2021 and has since then been gaining more and more popularity. Fans of the show who had never even heard of the Grishaverse before are rushing to buy the books, others, in true reader fashion, are choosing to finish the books before starting the show. But why is Shadow & Bone so successful? What makes it so appealing to readers and non-readers alike?
Well, besides the high production value, the magical scenery of Budapest, and the original soundtrack by Joseph Trapanese, Shadow & Bone was so well received because it meets all the criteria of a successful adaptation. Eric Heiserrer’s idea to bring the Six of Crows characters into the Shadow & Bone world and write them into the plot breathed a new life into Bardugo’s already fantastic storyworld.
Now, let’s talk about my favorite part of the show: the perfect cast. If there was a word stronger than perfect, I would use it, because yes, casting characters that lived in the minds of thousands of readers is not an easy task, and yet, we couldn’t be more happy with the results.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Bardugo talks about her instant connection with the cast with so much emotion that it put smiles on our faces.
Actors Jessie Mei Li (Alina), Archie Renaux (Mal), Ben Barnes (The Darkling), Freddy Carter (Kaz), Amita Suman (Inej), Kit Young (Jesper), Danielle Garrigan (Nina), and Calahan Skogman (Matthias) have such good chemistry on and off-set that it’s impossible not to love them all. They excelled at their roles and perfectly embodied their characters’ traits.
Every single one of them read the books before shooting started, and some of them like Ben Barnes went as far as highlighting some of their favorite quotes that they wanted to be included in the script!
If you haven’t read the books, the first couple episodes of the show might throw you off, but you will want to stick around for the rest. Trust me, it’s all worth it.
We are now waiting with baited breath for an official season 2 announcement. Bardugo and several members of the cast have hinted at it multiple times, but no news from Netflix yet, although we do know that they like to wait at least a month after the premier before renewing their shows, so fingers crossed!
In the meantime we can read (or reread) the books, binge watch the show (without forgetting to look out for the easter eggs), and listen to the incredible soundtrack played by The Budapest Orchestra!
The Vanderbilt Hustler and tvserial.it