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  • Writer's pictureStephen Jones

Should The Road take the path to the small screen?

Ah, 2020, the year where the small screen surrendered to executive producers who come bearing their desires to portray dystopian worlds with little to no hope of survival. But, surprise surprise, we loved every minute of it.

The reason for our enjoyment? Well, it was comforting to know that things could be much worse as Britain battled the coronavirus.

The everyday hum of normality ceased to exist as once-thriving supermarkets had now become wanton wastelands. The iron-fisted totalitarian government hammered down, commanding us to cover our faces with pieces of fabric with failure to comply, resulting in the gallows.

Alright, so the pandemic hasn’t quite been like the George Orwell novel everyone would have you believe. But, you can certainly see where the rise in popularity for post-apocalyptic TV showings has come from. It seems streaming services are determined to set forth these types of shows as they look to tap into a genre that was once dominated by the likes of The Walking Dead.

Times have changed as of late with Netflix and Amazon Prime being wary that people have grown tired of zombies, and instead, favouring more dexterous plots that will keep them stimulated.

This has given birth to shows such as Snowpiercer and The Rain whose

plots constantly keep you guessing and provide a new type of delivery that doesn't rely on bloodshed and butchery. Instead, it makes use of the astute characters at their disposal who face new types of dangers that aren’t customary to that of your typical post-apocalyptic world. And this is exactly why it’s the perfect time to make Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian novel, ‘The Road’ into a TV series.

It has everything that a newfangled dystopian series could ever want and need with a plot that if portrayed correctly, could easily win multiple Emmys.

11 years ago the novel was made into a film that never really gathered pace and instead of flying down the highway to the Hollywood road of success, it took a detour. Although Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee gave mondo performances, it wasn’t enough to make this film stand out, and it was quickly erased from peoples’ minds.

It's a sad reality largely due to the project's real potential for success, especially it had siphoned more from the powerful and harrowing novel it is derived from.

The storyline is full of twists and turns

The narrative for The Road is a great feat that makes emotion at every turn of the page and with the correct creator and cast, can be easily translated onto the small screen. Nothing says post-apocalyptic times like a deserted America with a non-existent food supply and a group of crazed cannibals looking for their next meal.

The Road follows the nameless Man and Boy as they prowl around a diseased and uninhibited country that is caked in nothing but 'gray' ash. All signs of honourable civilisation have been lost, and the lands are now rampant with savages known as ‘Road Agents’. A cannibalistic tribe that turn anyone they find into slaves or worse, food. This poses a serious danger to the pair who are vigorously trying to make it to the coast in hope of finding much-needed food and shelter. As they follow the road to their destination, they are met with ungodly sights. That reminds them of their duty to ‘carry the fire inside' as they act as what they perceive to be humanity’s last virtuous souls.

An adult and child, wandering around a wasteland that’s full to the brim of danger and a depleting food supply. Hm, where have we seen this before? Or maybe it’s not we, maybe it’s us. The Last of Us video game series received positive reviews for their portrayal of a dystopian society and stole hearts all over the world with the compelling tale of the relationship between the main protagonists, Joel and Ellie. HBO made the wise decision to pick it up for a series, and it’s expected to be aired sometime in 2021.

A relationship that pulls at one’s heartstrings is what makes for good TV, and that’s exactly what you’ll be getting when The Last of Us reaches our screens.

If the Road is ever picked up and made into a show, then you could get the same result. an adaptation to television could see the relationship of the Man and Boy span over multiple seasons with new concepts and ideas added to further enhance The Roads’ unforgiving reality.

This is a great chance for a rival TV service to challenge The Last of Us, with something just as compelling. Just as we have seen with The Boys vs. Umbrella Academy, or Game of Thrones compared to Vikings.

An endless supply of drama

The book and film are full of dramatic and gripping scenes. We’ve got the Coca-Cola scene where The Man gives The Boy a forgotten symbol of the western world - a can of coke. Next up we have the scene where the duo comes across an old man who has smoke coming from his pores as he’s just been struck by lightning. Oh, yeah, and we have a scene in a dark forest with a dead baby on a spit roast (Gordon Ramsey reacts, anyone?)

This is a show that can go the distance in terms of having multiple seasons. In fact, when the 2009 film came out, one of its biggest pitfalls was that it didn’t include many key passages of the book.

So, if it did get picked up as a series, then the show creator would have multiple scenes to explore. One thing The Road does well is that it adds tension and that’s something that could particularly be portrayed in an hour-long episode format. It has cliff-hanger moments throughout the book that would transition well to the screen.

It’s the perfect time for a series like this

Think about it guys, can you think of a more perfect time for a series like this to be unleashed onto the world. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and it doesn’t look like it will be vanishing anytime soon.

The crazy thing is that people want to see more of this otherwise the demand wouldn’t be so high, Netflix was ahead of the curve with many series they have recently commissioned, and it seems like the perfect home to showcase a series like The Road.

According to TNT, ‘Snowpiercer’ reached over 30 million viewers across all digital platforms back in July. It was one of Netflix's most-watched series of the year and has been approved for a second series.

As a book, The Road is an emotionally scarring encounter that will have you questioning the injustices that plague our own world. As a film, it was a lacklustre experience that will leave you dissatisfied with the lack of powerful and moral messages. Hypothetically, as a series, it could be one of the most moving pieces of television we’ve seen in the last few years.

The journey for The Road to becoming a TV series is still very much in the early stages. You'd like to think the natural ending point would be at either Netflix or Amazon Prime, which in The Roads case might just be a few more miles away.


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