Too Dark for TV

July 5, 2015 | 2

“This is a huge generalization, but [American novels] have tended not to have all the elements that make it good for television, whether it’s too interior or there’s not enough action. The Brits tended to write more colorful stories rather than the darkness and struggle. Dickens and Trollope certainly knew how to write sequels, books that would make good ongoing series again and again. And the greatest love stories are in the Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. I don’t know what our equivalent is.” In a piece for The Atlantic Spencer Kornhaber wonders, “Is American Literature Too Dark for TV?

is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York and every so often writes things at


  1. A part of me wonders if there’s a business reason for this like ownership of the film and TV adaptation rights. A famous American novel might generate more Hollywood interest, and this might result in more studios squatting over the rights through option contracts. Pure speculation, but I feel like it’s not a purely content-based bias.

  2. Whoops! I fell prey to the temptation to comment after reading the blurb instead of the entire article. I wasn’t able to delete my earlier comment, so please feel free to disregard it.

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.