So, today I’m going to talk about a new series on FOX, (everyone hold your breath that it won’t get cancelled before things actually start picking up), The Passage. It’s based on a novel trilogy by the author Justin Cronin. Now, I’m going to get into a little bit of plot but really I’m going to gripe a bit about how much, in 3 episodes, they have altered the storyline from the book. I do this because I love the book series, I’ve read it 4 times through now, and I want to point out how annoyed I am at the changes that were unnecessary and how glad I am at the important things that they DID keep the same. So huge spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen the show, things will be revealed but it can still be enjoyable because for the most part it’s pretty well written.
-The virus is started by a swarm of bats that are almost literally demonic vampire bats. They tear up the entire expedition to Bolivia, and leaves only a handful of survivors including 3 of the main characters: Jonas Lear, Tim Fanning and Clark Richards. Fanning infected this way as opposed to in the show where there is some random vampire dude in a cage that looks like something out of Underworld. The CGI for the bats would’ve been crazy, so I understand and pretty much accept this change.
-The book really doesn’t go into any great detail about why the experiments that we find out are happening, are happening. They don’t really need to as the first 100 pages or so are dedicated to the “present” time period and the other 600-700 pages take place 92 years in the future. So pretty much everything we see in the show about the motives of everyone is either something you find out in a later book, mainly the third book “City of Mirrors” or it’s just been added in. What we do find out about Project Noah and the base is through the eyes of a few scenes with Richards and mainly through the eyes of the caregivers of the 12. The 12 are death row inmates. In the book they’re all male, but they switched the sex of a chunk of them to make them more diverse. Which kind of strikes me as odd considering that a HUGE percentage of death row inmates and violent offenders in general are male. But it’s whatever I guess.
-On the subject of the caregivers, in the book they’re all supposed to be paroled sex offenders that have been given the equivalency of chemical castration that makes them almost completely sleepless, ridiculously hunger on a constant basis and very smelly. This isn’t what they are in the show but really, I think people don’t care about this little detail even though it’s fairly interesting, in my opinion.
-Amy Belafonte is literally the polar opposite of what you read in the book. Forget that she’s a timid little white girl in the book, because really her ethnicity shouldn’t alter her personality or back story. In the show she’s a tomboy who’s mom is a junkie and “dies of an overdose”. In the book there is a much longer and equally as sad story that would take time to explain, but I’ll give you the basics. Amy’s mom lives in a small town, works at a diner and falls for a traveling salesman. This dude has a wife and kids but ends up fucking her anyway and gets her preggers. She carries the baby to term and lives with her father as she raises Amy. Her father eventually suffers a heart attack and she is forced to live on her own for a bit until douche sales guy comes back and stays with them a bit. He’s a drunk and abusive and eventually leaves again and Amy and her mother are homeless. Her mom begins to sell herself to try and support herself and Amy and one night ends up in a terrible situation. She ends up killing a John in self defense only to find out that the John is the son of a well known politician. Fearing for what might happen to her and her daughter, they run. Her mother ends up leaving her at a convent where Amy meets Lacey, who is an important character in the book as well. I’m not entirely sure why they needed to change Amy’s back story, but I think this would’ve been an even better story for TV because it’s not the shitty stereotype of a single black mother addicted to crack.
-Very quickly on Lacey, because she hasn’t really played too big a role in the story in the first 3 episodes. In the show she was part of a spec ops team that Wolgast was on, (I probably won’t say Wolgast too often, as it’ll be easier for everyone to know who I’m talking about if I just say Zack Morris), but was also formerly a nun before joining the military. In the book, she is an immigrant from Africa, I want to say Rwanda but I can’t remember off the top of my head. She is a rape survivor and the only one of her village to make it out. In the book, Lacey and Amy have a very special bond because they are both alone in the world, even when surrounded by other people. Wolgast and Lacey never physically meet in the book but in the show they’re old service buddies. Not sure why everyone needs to be in the military in these shows.
-Now to Wolgast, or rather Zack Morris. In the show he’s presented as slick and highly trained. In the book he is definitely slick but he’s an old school type of guy. Could care less about tech and is, in both the TV show and the book, still very much still in mourning for his daughter. So Wolgast should’ve been the guy from Longmire, not Zack Morris. We see him selling the last of the twelve, Anthony Carter (who should be in his 40’s, not mid 20’s), and he literally uses the speech straight out of the book. I’m not gonna go too crazy on this because the show and books diverge a lot when it comes to Morris but suffice it to say that the things they did get right was the relationship between Wolgast and Amy.
-A lot of the other stuff I could list is basically stuff the show changed or mainly added because they more than likely wanted to drag out the first 100 pages of the book into 10 episodes instead of following the books story. And I say 10 episodes because that seems to be how long this first season will end up being and I’ve seen no sign of casting for ANY of the characters that will appear after the time jump.
-Also, one more quick thing before I conclude. The Dracs, Virals, Vampires, (if you will), look nothing like they should. Rather, they’re not how the book described them, at all. What they should look like, and how I always saw them in my head was essentially a 6-7 foot tall Venom looking creature with a hard exoskeleton and bioluminescence. The show portrays them as the run of the mill vampires, but I don’t begrudge them this change. I can only imagine the SFX budget they would need to render so many of these virals. It wouldn’t really be cost effective.
Anyway, my conclusion. The show doesn’t suck. It’s good for what they are able to do and for the fact that they have to adapt a trilogy of novels into a serialized show. However, If they aren’t careful and get too convoluted with the ramp up to the time jump, (which is the majority of the three books), they may not make it to the end of the series. This show should most definitely not go on forever. It should have an