I’m preparing hopefully for a thesis/independent project for my final course requirement this summer, and I really want to do something with adaptations of tween novels into television movies. I say tween because I know that half the time these are published as middle grade and other times as YA, just for the younger end. Or for the older end, but written or scripted in a way that reads as younger. So far my “research” has consisted of Netflix-ing Disney Channel Original Movies (which, I forgot, are awesome), but now I’m also starting to remember movies I watched as a kid by WonderWorks (someone please point me to history on this company, because I think that was just the distributor, not the producing entity), like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (far better than the more recent one, because it was made in the 80s and looks like it) and Miracle at Moreaux (based on a book of a different title), and also random made-for-TV stuff like Nightjohn and Island of the Blue Dolphins (which I’m dying to find on DVD so I can watch it again).
The thing about these movies is that they are forgettable, but they also seem to be more faithful to books in ways that avid readers like, while still acknowledging that film is not print, and they cannot be the same. It’s kind of like when you watch Masterpiece Theatre or Mystery!, and nobody goes, “Omg they totes ruined the book and whitewashed it and ruined the love story and killed Jane Austen.” Because none of those things happen. Hollywood films from movies, though, tend to take far more liberties and far fewer risks (“risks” being defined as casting beyond the race in a very white book or casting a visibly PoC person for a PoC character, or having an unhappy ending, for example). And I’m really bad at watching movies in theaters because I have a crazy schedule and I don’t like spending the money, but I love television, because it’s on my computer. Hence this proposed idea.
That said, I would really like a good theoretical start, and I don’t know if there are any studies on made-for-TV movies in the academic media studies world. I also have a basic vocabulary and understanding of reading film but will probably need to actually own a good text that reminds me of the basics. I would also like to be given recommendations for interesting (not necessarily “good”) books and TV movie counterparts that are worth fitting into my study. Advice? Titles? Resources? Please?