Virgin River Episodes 1-3

Virgin River Robyn Carr Books Netflix Adaptation

All right, I have to say this first because I’m seeing a lot of people talking nonsense online: Virgin River is based on a book series that began well over a decade ago. It is NOT a copy of Hart of Dixie.

Now I’ve said that, I shall move on to my review!

The most important question: do I like the Netflix adaptation of Virgin River? YES! I like it much more than I expected to, have laughed out loud several times, and will continue to watch the rest of the season.

Is it perfect? Nup and nope, but overall I think they’ve done a good job.

The Great:

Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe Virgin River Robyn Carr

Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe

When I saw the first picture from the set (on Instagram, below) I knew they’d cast a good Mel. What I didn’t know was that they’d cast an outstanding Mel.

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If you were to ask me who my most hated book character of all time is, I’d say Mel without hesitation. That Breckenridge has made her into a wonderful, rounded character I love is a pretty huge achievement.

The medical stuff is under control.

The thing I always found off-putting in the books was the obsession with detailed medical procedures. It squicked me out and I thought a lot of it was totally unnecessary. It’s so much better in the show – and in the background, where it belongs.

It also means “annoying, bossy Mel” has been toned down. She doesn’t get as many scenes to lecture everyone in.

Daniel Gillies as Mark

daniel-gillies-as-mark-virgin-river-robyn-carr

I want to marry this character. He doesn’t appear on the page in the series, but I’m very glad to meet him here.

Annette O’Toole as Hope McCrea

Yes, her character is nothing like the woman in the books, but I’m loving this version of Hope. She’s hilarious and I don’t mind that they’ve enormously expended her part.

The Good:

Tim Matheson as Doc

I’m liking him more and more as the series goes on.

The Not-So-Good:

Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan

virgin-river-tv-series Book

I had my doubts when I saw the picture on Instagram, and I’ve been proven right. It doesn’t help that Daniel Gillies is so good in his role (we’re not meant to love Mark more than Jack!). Many a person stuck with the book series specifically because of Jack’s character, and so he was going to have to be outstanding.

So far he’s someone I’d have a chat with, not marry. And – sorry – but his character is supposed to be around my age, and this version of Jack looks old enough to be my father.

Also, the little addiction side story they’ve thrown in is totally unnecessary.

Character heights and sizes.

SO MUCH is made of these huge, tough Marine Corps guys in the books. I know Hollywood is populated with men who are smaller than they look on the screen, but when Mel and Jack and Preacher are all a similar size? Doesn’t work.

The Bad:

The changes made to Preacher and Paige.

Paige Chris Preacher Virgin River

Now, I’m not blaming the actors here. They’re both doing an outstanding job with what was written for them. The problem is that these characters bear no resemblance whatsoever to their book characters, and their storyline is unrecognisable.

It was a clever move to make Preacher a POC, and if you take a look at the books they never actually say he’s white. I’ve commented many times in the past that author Robyn Carr has both a problem writing diversity, and is sometimes outright racist.

My issue with Preacher: where’s our shy, gentle giant gone? Why is the man of few words relentlessly lecturing Jack about his personal life? What on earth is going on … ?

As for Paige: book Paige runs away to Virgin River with her son, and I can understand that the scriptwriters thought this made her story too similar to Mel’s. I would have been fine with her already living in the town (as she does in the show). What I’m not okay with is her running a flipping bakery truck. In a tiny town where it’s snowy and cold.

Surely the writers could have come up with something better than that, because I honestly think it’s incredibly stupid …

And, so …

Books and shows are different beasts, and while a good book can’t be episodic, TV practically demands it. Cliffhangers have to be thrown in, and so I can forgive quite a few of the changes. (My scriptwriting tutor from university would be overjoyed to hear me say this!)

Overall I’m pretty fine with how the show is going, even if Jack’s not my guy and even though Preacher and Paige are suffering from some serious character assassination. Mel, Hope and Doc make up for it.

Despite my issues I’d recommend Virgin River to anyone who wants a bit of a laugh to go with their drama.

The Week: 2nd – 8th December

It’s nearly Christmas, and I really think I need another month to get organised! The fires here have got worse and worse. The fire has burnt all the way to the sea, and there’s really hot weather on the way in the coming days.

After the strife superstar author Christine Feehan got in, first for filing to trademark common words, and then for defending her actions, she seems to have pulled the application. However, it seems everyone writing vampire fiction could do with reading this:

Hey, Christine Feehan! You don’t own the Carpathians!

Huculy_1933,_Verkhovyna_district Hutsuls Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains

And this Tweet pretty much sums up the situation:

KJ Charles Twitter Christine Feehan Trademark Carpathian

Virgin River Premiere!

Virgin River TV Series

My review of Someone to Honour (Westcott family #6) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

Premiere Date for Virgin River

Virgin River TV Series

The premiere of the Netflix adaptation of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books is the 6th of December.

I’m sorry, but even though I think the Mel actress looks great, every time I see this guy as Jack I think he looks worse (and worse and worse). So much for Mr Crew Cut Marine! On the other hand, I do really like the actor in other things, so I’ll reserve judgement until I actually see him acting the part. My biggest casting surprise ever was with someone I thought was HORRIBLE for a role, and then I loved them when I saw them perform onstage.

There have been some major changes to other characters from the books. I anticipated a lot of the alterations (e.g. some much-needed diversity, though I never thought they’d age Paige and Preacher by 15-20 years!). We’ll see how ardent fans react …

Dark Angel’s 19th Anniversary

Anybody remember television show Dark Angel Because not only is today the nineteenth anniversary of its premiere, but the show was set in the future post-apocalyptic 2019 Jessica Alba James Cameron

Anybody remember television show Dark Angel? Because not only is today the nineteenth anniversary of its premiere, but the show was set in “the future”: post-apocalyptic 2019!

The late-Nineties and early 2000s were full of female-led shows, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias etc. I feel like we were doing a better job in general with female characters back then than we are now that people are more outspoken about feminism. What happened?

(Though I could also argue that these days we’re fighting the idea women have to be fighters in order to be strong characters.)

Dark Angel premiered on the 3rd of October, 2000. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Dark Angel is an American cyberpunk television series that premiered on the Fox network on October 3, 2000. Created by James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee, it starred Jessica Alba in her breakthrough role. Set in 2019, the series chronicles the life of Max Guevara (Alba), a genetically enhanced super-soldier who escapes from a covert military facility as a child. In a post-apocalyptic Seattle, she tries to lead a normal life while eluding capture by government agents and searching for her brothers and sisters scattered in the aftermath of their escape. Dark Angel was the first and only series produced by the company Cameron/Eglee Productions, and was filmed in Vancouver at Lions Gate Studios.

The Week: 1st – 7th October

^^ The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes flying over Old and New Parliament Houses in Canberra on Saturday afternoon (I took the picture from the car, so it’s not perfect!). New Parliament House turned thirty this year, and the celebrations were held this weekend.

What a week. For me it began in Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula, trying to stay awake through a 9.5 hour layover in Doha (note to self: flights from Manchester to Canberra have no good connection times!).

I arrived home on Tuesday morning, after two days of travelling, to the most gorgeous day. However, it was a real shock to see just HOW dry it is in Canberra. There was dead, yellow grass before; now it’s basically just dirt. It’s a huge contrast to green, green Ireland, and northern England, where there was a drought this summer, but nothing like this.

I didn’t get a chance for jetlag because it’s spring here, our local birds have had babies, and the desperate, overworked mother magpie has figured out which one is my bedroom window, and knocks on it with her beak at dawn until I get out of bed and give her some food for her kids!

Our recently deposed Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had his penthouse by the lake up for sale this weekend. We actually parked outside the entrance to the building when we went out for lunch, and it was SO tempting to go in and have a look at it!

Yay for daylight saving beginning, and boo to all the countries losing their minds and getting rid of it. How could you possibly hate having an extra hour of daylight in the evening in summer??

My week finished with my passport sitting at the Chinese embassy, waiting for a visa – it’s not long before I’m off again.

Home

Spring in the Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 2nd October 2018

Virgin River on Netflix

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Yet Another Netflix Adaptation

Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolia's Series #1) by Sherrly Woods

More Trademark Issues

Harlequin Manga

Yet Another Netflix Adaptation

Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolia's Series #1) by Sherrly Woods

Following on from yesterday’s post about Netflix adapting Robyn Carr’s Virgin River for television, I should also mention that Sherryl Woods’ Sweet Magnolias series is also being adapted for the screen.

Here’s what the first book is about:

Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there’s been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up. This stay-at-home mom has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who’s suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she’s somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women. But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it’s nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son’s baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie’s faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle. Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.