You know that I am a big fan of Ken Follett and when one of his best novels “The Pillars of the Earth” was made into a TV series, I was a bit reluctant to watch it on DVDs. The book is gigantic so I resigned to the fact that the series would not pick up much detail of the book, I have to say that it was done quite well – Ian McShane’s Bishop Bigod, Matthew Macfayden’s Prior Philip and Rufus Sewell’s Tom builder were brilliant. So when its sequel DVDs (TV series) were out – we were quite keen to watch.
The novel “World without End” itself is less powerful than “The Pillars of the Earth”- just like many other sequels but nonetheless a very, very good read. If you have read the book and want to watch the TV series – be prepared to think of the series as a different story altogether so that you can watch through all 8 episodes without too much frustration as the story very much varies from the book. It was based rather “loosely” on Ken Follett's novel - same town, same period but not quite the same story. It is understandable they had to simplify or shorten the story to fit the lengthy novel into 8 or 10 hours of screening time– but to change the story wholesale and make a salad out of parts of the book with many dressings added did not seem quite right to me. It was, in my opinion, rather messy. Veteran actors and actresses like Miranda Richardson, Cynthia Nixon, Ben Chaplin and Peter Firth were, however, fantastic and enhanced this TV series to some degree. Honestly, I was surprised it was made by more or less the same executive producers as its prequel.
Films based on novels or real stories deviated from the originals from time to time – some, however, were made brilliantly or even more interesting than the books themselves, The FrenchLieutenant’s Women for instance. This, unfortunately, cannot be said about World without End – TV Series.