With the announcement of a Harry Potter universe TV show, fans are alive with excitement and a little bit of concern. Will it live up to the hype? There are already concerns about TV adaptations, with all information about the Avatar: The Last Airbender have been extremely disappointing. People are worried that this show could be underwhelming out there. But there are several examples of shows that exist within a massive fandom that have seen large-scale success. Some of these big budget, large fan-base tv shows over the past decade include Game of Thrones, WandaVision, and The Mandalorian. So what can the Harry Potter series learn from the successes and failures of other popular TV adaptations?
Game of Thrones
For a decade, Game of Thrones ruled the silver screen. One of the most critically acclaimed and financially successful shows of all time, it had a massive following. But Game of Thrones had an overwhelmingly disappointing finale; and that’s what Harry Potter can learn from them. The writing in Game of Thrones was phenomenal in the early seasons because they pulled from the book. Even though Game of Thrones did not always stay true to the book’s plot, they stayed true to the character’s adaptations and development. Furthermore, they were staying on the basic plot line and end goal. When they ran out of books to adapt, the show began to take a decline. A great example is Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion, who’s character’s intelligent and witty writing plummeted after the writers couldn’t pull from the books anymore.
Author G.R.R Martin told the showrunners that they would need several more seasons to end the show the way the books will eventually end. But the showrunners were ready to only give it one more season. As a result, the last season was rushed and half-baked, throwing out all of the character development of the last ten years.
Where Harry Potter can learn from this is that they need to have a clear vision. Even if they don’t pull from books directly, if any characters from the books are making an appearance in the show, they need to be consistent with their portrayal in the books. For the story to be successful, they need to have a vision for the ending and work towards that ending for a good final pay-off. Where Game of Thrones was just adapting as they went without an end in mind, Harry Potter has the opportunity to start preparing for a great pay-off now. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a perfect example of preparing for a great pay off early, laying down the ground-work for a finale a decade later in Iron Man. Today they are starting a new arc, kicking off the next Marvel run with a tv show;WandaVision.
The current phenomenon WandaVision is still entertaining Marvel fans, and is set to end in two weeks. The first Marvel TV show to blatantly connect to the MCU, WandaVision is an amazing example of a show that expands on a fictional universe. The show follows Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) as she creates an alternate universe for her to live out her sit-com suburban fantasies with the dead corpse of Vision. It’s a darker turn for the MCU, and is sparking an entire online discourse full of fan-theories and speculation. While the ending to WandaVision is still a mystery, it’s becoming clear that it will set up the Multiverse, and perhaps the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and the Young Avengers. It has serious and exciting implications for the future of the MCU.
This Harry Potter series has potential to do the same thing. It could expand upon the Harry Potter universe and add new content to the greater world. What makes WandaVision so exciting is how it is enlarging the MCU for the next decade. The Harry Potter show is perfectly poised to do the same thing. It’s important to note that this seems to be what Fantastic Beasts is attempting to do. But where Fantastic Beasts fails is where WandaVision succeeds. WandaVision has familiar (previously minor) characters with established emotional weight at its center (Wanda and Vision). Fantastic Beasts has mostly strangers at its core. If Harry Potter wants to seriously expand the universe, it would be in it’s benefit to have some familiarity at its center (such as the Marauders or the Blacks).
The Mandalorian does somewhat the opposite of WandaVision, and is another direction for Harry Potter. Star Wars spin off The Mandalorian places new characters in a fairly familiar setting. Star Wars has a lot of lore, and Mandalorian is an episodic show that just explores that lore. It doesn’t introduce a lot of new content, and has a lot of familiar faces in and out, such as Ahsoka Tano and Boba Fett. However, it centres on new characters with different roles.
Harry Potter too has a lot of lore attached to it, just hang out on Pottermore for a few hours, and the series could take a Mandalorian approach. Give us new characters in a familiar world with a new role. Such as a person who works in the Ministry of Magic, or Hogwarts from the perspective of the professors. While Mandalorian provides more depth to the events after Return of the Jedi, it doesn’t add a lot new to the story. Almost everything has been introduced somewhere else. Harry Potter doesn’t have to put a lot of pressure on it’s tv show to introduce a lot of new things, but can simply exist within the universe in an episodic fashion.
There are plenty of directions that this Harry Potter show could take, and that’s what makes it exciting. Learning from these three very successful TV shows that exist within a large fandom, Harry Potter has a lot to take away from them. A clear story arc is the most important thing this show can learn from all three of these examples. Whether it adds more to the universe, or exists within the pre-existing Harry Potter sandbox has yet to be seen. Whatever they do, it is sure to bring a little more magic into our lives.
Thank you for reading our article on what the Harry Potter TV series can learn from other popular shows. What would you like to see in it? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about what the Harry Potter TV series could be about HERE.
Read IMDB information on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone HERE.
Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review
Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!
Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.
This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.
Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.
Shades of grey
This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.
With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.
This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.
Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.
Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10
Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.
Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.
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