Hitting Screens This Week

9780451234780Debuting on Monday on the cable channel VH1 is a fictional movie about the origins of hip hop, The Breaks, inspired by the nearly 700-page nonfiction title, The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop.  Examining the journey from book to TV movie, Forbes magazine suggests tit may be the beginning of a series. There is no tie-in, however.

Sister station MTV begins its big gamble (the most expensive original production in the network’s history) in trying to attract new audiences on Tuesday, Jan. 5th with the 10-part series Shannara Chronicles.

The L.A. Times notes, “Yes, the network of Real World and Jersey Shore is now channeling Tolkien.” Switching to another comparison, reporter Steve Zeitchik (formerly of Publishers Weekly) adds, “Shannara is a counterpart of sorts to HBO’s Game of Thrones and seeks both to ride that wave and set itself apart from it, though whether it can do both simultaneously is among the more interesting questions of the winter television window.”

Reviewing it under the to-die-for headline “The Next Game of Thrones Is Great On MTV, But It’s Really The Next Star Wars,Forbes does not equivocate on that question,

“…while Shannara appears like another small screen Lord of the Rings in its marketing, its premise and actual presentation make it much more akin to the likes of Star Wars … From the first scene of its pilot, The Shannara Chronicles sets itself apart from the pack and makes it clear that this is going to be unlike any magical fantasy series we’ve seen before. The ways it does this are vast and supremely accessible to audiences that may not typically find much enjoyment in the genre, and that’s wonderful. Even if the series is nothing more than a gateway drug to the likes of heavier fantasy, it will still go down as one of the first great new shows of 2016 and one of the best new shows of the 2015/2016 television season.”

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As we noted earlier, tie-in editions of the first two titles in the book series have been released (although the TV series is actually based on the second volume):

The Elfstones of Shannara (The Shannara Chronicles) (TV Tie-in Edition) by Terry Brooks (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample), released in both a trade edition and a mass market version and

The Wishsong of Shannara (The Shannara Chronicles) (TV Tie-in Edition) by Terry Brooks (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample).

The heavily promoted movie The Revenant opens wide this coming Friday, after it Oscar-qualifying debut in December. The trade paperback hit the NYT best seller list this week at #6. Released to little fanfare over ten years ago, LJ reviewed the new tie-in edition last week, calling it “A must-read for fans of Westerns and frontier fiction.” More on the book in our earlier story.

9781590514375Debuting on Friday is the indie movie Lamb, based on a novel of the same title by Bonnie Nadzam (Other Press, 2011). About the friendship of an 11-year-old girl and a 47-year-old man,  it was featured at film festivals earlier this year, called “beautiful and troubling” and “dangerously unclassifiable” by Variety and “difficult to market” by the the Hollywood Reporter. Likewise, the book was called “daring and disturbing” (The Telegraph). The movie receives a lackluster C+ in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly; “about as strange as it sounds: a Lolita story almost more unsettling for the lines it doesn’t explicitly cross.”

Nadzam’s next novel Lions, is scheduled for publication in July (Grove Press).

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