Everyone knows Les Miserables, even those of us who think the length is miserablé. It’s pretty likely you’ve seen both the musical or the movie, but neither is the original. It’s far less likely that you’ve read Victor Hugo‘s original Les Miserables, even though it’s packed with hilarious capers, deep friendships, and horrifying deaths. Fans call the novel ‘The Brick’ for a reason—at 1,900 pages, it’s one of the longest novels in history. Given that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 607 pages and needed two movies to cover all the important parts, it’s a little surprising that the Les Miserables movie directors thought that they could tell the story in under three hours. After watching it, some fans thought they would never get the retelling they deserve.
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Devotees of ‘The Brick‘ have one common complaint when it comes to the recent movie and musical: where did 80% of the story go? The novel depicts much deeper relationships between characters… and their relationships to historical events. Those who have read and love ‘The Brick’ also have complaints about the story itself, including and mostly limited to why does Victor Hugo spend hundreds of pages describing the sewers of Paris? Rife with French history and cultural context, the novel occasionally has more in common with a textbook than its honestly monstrous size. So here’s the compromise—a TV show that you won’t die before finishing. (No guarantees that the characters won’t die before the show is over.)
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The series, which has just begun airing on the BBC, will run for six weeks. Jean Valjean actor Dominic West believes that the TV production will remind viewers more of the source material. For those who believe the show will be a rehash of the same plot, West promises that viewers “should expect grand ambition from the series, which avoids the songs of the musical theatre production and 2012 film.” The star-studded cast also features The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones actress Lily Collins and Selma actor David Oyelowo. You’ll want to barricade yourself in your room to finish this one right away!
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