It is a rare feat when a television or movie adaptation of a book actually works better than the source material. Jaws and The Godfather are the most prominent examples. But I'd also argue that most of the movies based on Tom Clancy books were better than the novels. (Though it betrays my bias - I hate technobabble, and the movies cut that stuff out. If you like technobabble, you'll disagree with me.)
Along these lines, I'm holding my breath for the Netflix version of "The Gray Man" - I love the books, have enjoyed the couple of times I've interviewed author Mark Greaney here on MNB, and hope they don't screw it up to the degree that Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg butchered Robert B. Parker's iconic detective protagonist in Spenser: Confidential, a title that was as stupid as the screenplay. The best-in-class award along these lines, in my view, goes to "Bosch" and "Bosch: Legacy," which have done such a fine job adapting and in some cases deepening Michael Connelly's novels. (Honorable mention to the recent Netflix version of Connelly's "The Lincoln Lawyer.")
All of which is a long way of getting to my point - I'm really enjoying the Hulu version of the Thomas Perry novel, "The Old Man." Jeff Bridges stars as Dan Chase, a former CIA agent who has been off the grid for decades, having made some questionable organizational (but completely ethical) decisions while serving in Afghanistan. The series starts with Chase having to go on the lam because he's found living in a small northeastern town, and the episodes toggle back and forth between past and present, peeling back the plot like an onion. There are some great supporting turns by John Lithgow, Amy Brenneman and Joel Grey, and Bridges is nothing sort of magnificent in the role - he turns what could be a standard spy-on-the-run part into a deeply conflicted and in pain man who is trying to be honorable in a dishonorable world. (This is not a Liam Neeson shoot-em-up ... it is far more layered.)
I really liked the novel version, and without going into detail, they've made some significant changes in the TV version. But the changes largely seem to be for the better - there are some intricacies and plot twists that work really well, and it is sort of fun as someone who has read the book for me to not always know where things are going.
"The Old Man." On Hulu. Check it out.
I found myself deeply disappointed with the Disney+ series "Obi-Wan Kenobi," in part because I actually liked the first episode or two and thought it was fun to see Ewan McGregor return to the title role. But by the conclusion of episode six, the finale, I was done with the whole thing - in my view, the writers and producers had done absolutely nothing to move the Star Wars narrative forward, or surprise us with revelations that would deepen our appreciation for that galaxy far, far away. It ended up being pretty much a waste of time.
Though, to be fair, not nearly as much as big a waste of time as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which I finally caught up with on Disney+. I'm not going to try to explain the movie to you, except to offer one basic insight - when it seems like almost every shot in the movie has been constructed and accomplished through computer-generated imagery (CGI), and there's nobody in the film who even remotely seems like he or she is a real human being, that's not a movie I'm likely to enjoy.
I have a couple of wines to recommend to you this week…
the 2020 Muga Rosado, a lovely and refreshing rosé from Rioja, Spain, that has a fair amount of fruitiness to it but works well with a summer salad. Or even a hamburger. (What can I say? I love rosé.)
the 2020 Backsberg Chenin Blanc from South Africa, which goes down very smoothly and, I found, was great with seafood, especially my Shrimp-It's-All-Greek-To-Me recipe. (Probably would be great with a hamburger. Or maybe a salmon burger. I'd try it with a good conch burger, but you can't get conch in Connecticut.)
That's it for this week.
I hope you have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.