Sigh. Another dashed hope.
The Riverworld books by Philip Jose Farmer were very good. Classic Sci-Fi a little more on the cutting edge than most for their time. Cool characters, interesting and consistently imagined world, great fun.
Unfortunately, the made for TV movie produced in 2010 was none of these things. The dialog was atrociously stilted. Painfully stupid event followed painfully stupid event. Just awful. I would blame the actors, but I can’t imagine a good way to deliver most of the drivel they were forced to mouth. And there were quite a few who had done great work in the Battlestar Galactica reboot, so I know they were capable.
You can never magically put a book on screen. Changes have to be made. Why anyone would make some of the changes made by the people who put this show together is unfathomable though. Turn Burton into the villain of the piece at the outset? Really? Completely abandon the confusion, the ‘figure out the world with the characters’ portion of the story, the problem solving and making of friends, in favor of random undisguised infodumps? Set us in a world that doesn’t make any sense, at all, why? Farmer’s world made sense. I know it did because I read the books. It was internally consistent. No such claim can be made for the movie. And as far as I could tell, the changes were made either because they happened to have people in conquistador costumes hanging around at the set next door (and hey, waste not want not right?) or because it was too difficult to imagineer sets that actually worked with the story.
Ahhhg, so painful. It could have been soooo good and yet was so bad.