Oh, Harry Potter. The franchise that’s launched a thousand careers. Okay, that may be overselling it a bit. However, there’s no doubt that no matter your opinion on the Harry Potter books or the Harry Potter films, they've had an immeasurable impact on pop culture, and while it may not have launched a thousand careers, it definitely launched two healthy ones with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. A good five-plus years after the final film hit theaters, these two are still as relevant today as they ever were. In addition to the careers the films have launched, there’s also the fact that they were released over the course of an entire decade, after all, and with such a release schedule comes the fact that it’s a film series that’s shaped millions of childhoods.
It’s with all this in mind that we go into the topic of the day: can they ever reboot the Harry Potter franchise. Given everything I’ve said, it seems like near-impossible prospect to consider. There is a certain amount of reverance that these movies have in the culture of film, and as such, getting this idea past hardcore fans will be quite the difficult task. First things first, I think it’s important to clarify what I mean.
No, I don’t think we need to continue the story of Harry Potter. Sure, author J.K. Rowling herself may follow through with something like that — heck, she may even write the scripts for a series of movies set to get put out by WB in a decade or so — but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I mean by “rebooting” is essentially adapting the books once again (I hesitate to use the word remake, since that implies remaking the films, not re-adapting the book). But I don’t think the answer is to try and fit it to the film medium again. No, that journey has been done. I instead think the franchise could be better served as a TV series.
What are some of the reasons?
THEY'LL BE MORE CONSISTENT
I love me the Harry Potter films, but one of the big pet peeves of my completionist ass has been the stylistic differences between the films. The first two are different from the next six, the third one is different from the other seven, as is the fourth, and it’s not until movie five that we see any real form of consistency. Up until that point, the production design is different, the costumes are different, the flavor of the entire Wizarding World is different, and even Hogwarts itself tends to go through some sort of major facelift every single movie.
The prospect of a TV show can help to remedy that. Sure, series are known for changing over time, but it won’t be as drastic as it was in between movies. Plus, the books themselves got increasingly darker as it went on, so minor changes reflecting the narrative will always be inevitable.
TV IS A MUCH BETTER FIT FOR THE SOURCE MATERIAL
Okay, so the original films weren’t perfect, but the imperfections go beyond the aesthetic differences. In this writer’s humble opinion, TV is actually a much better fit for these books to be adapted.
We live in a great age of TV. More than ever, limited series and story-driven shows are permeating both cable and streaming services. Just take a look at shows like Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things. These are all shows that go against the grain of what used to be the norm in television: a retained status quo. In the same way, Harry Potter was a premise built on change. The kids grew up, and as they grew up, the world they lived in grew more dangerous.
As a result, the medium of film was a much better fit for the franchise in 2001, a time where episodic TV reigned supreme. Nowadays, however, serialized TV reigns, meaning the hurdle of the medium is no longer a problem.
In addition, this would allow a much more faithful adaptation of books 3-7, all of which were much greater in scope than the first two. So how could they tackle this? Make the first two season 3-6 episodes in length, and the rest of them anywhere from 7-10 episodes in length. The former restrictions of format are now gone, and as a result, audiences will be able to see characters and arcs brought to life that were formerly left on the cutting room floor.
This leads us to one big reason why the books should be re-adapted in the first place, TV or not.
THE BOOKS ARE ALREADY FINISHED
Given that I’m a fan of the books, I’ve always wondered if the uninitiated were able to fully comprehend and appreciate the story. However, I only need to look at Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 to see one huge flaw: the mirror shard. In the opening of that film, we see Harry looking into a mirror shard that ends up being vitally important to the plot. This was a two-way mirror that was given to Harry by Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Since that fifth film was made prior to the conclusion of the book series, the filmmakers had no way of knowing that the shard would become an integral part of the plot. The result? They gave it the ax, and had to pretty much run with it once movie seven came rolling around. Whoops. Given that TV seasons are longer than films, that won’t be a problem here. But more importantly, the filmmakers would also have the benefit of knowing the full story in advance of production, and therefore wouldn’t find themselves accidentally nixing important plot points.
It’s because of all these reasons and more that I’d love to see Harry Potter get re-imagined as a TV series and re-imagined soon. Some may argue it’s too early, but Hollywood is fickle, and who knows how long fans will continue to enjoy longform storytelling. We have the story. We have the technology. And the demand is there.
What do you think? Would you like to see the Harry Potter books adapted once again? If so, does TV sound appealing to you? Let us know your thoughts down below!