“Looking For Alaska” Gets the TV Adaptation Treatment

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“I go to seek a great perhaps.”

French writer Francois Rabelais’s last words, repeated by Miles Halter in Looking For Alaska, are a focal point of the best-selling novel by John Green. When Looking For Alaska was released in 2005, these words were reblogged on Tumblrs and MySpaces across the globe- and continue to be today (though on Instagrams and Twitters instead). With its numerous awards and accolades, this novel became an instant classic. Having been a huge fan since I first read it, I was ecstatic to hear that this story of love, heartbreak, and illicit behavior would be brought to the small screen as a Hulu original. I was even happier when I was able to attend the world premiere of the first episode at the Tribeca TV Festival. 

Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/Hulu 

The story centers on Miles “Pudge” Halter, who decides to go to boarding school in search of his own “great perhaps.” There, he finds an eclectic group of friends and falls in love with a girl named Alaska Young. Faced with an unexpected tragedy, Miles and his friends try to cope. Now, I’m an avid reader so I tend to be picky about the adaptation of my favorite books, but I fully recommend “Looking For Alaska.” Luckily, Charlie Plummer, who plays Miles, is also a huge fan of the book; “I first auditioned for this when it was a movie, and then kept bugging my managers about the status and when we could get it...When I finally got the part I went back to a high school list of ten stories I wanted to tell before I died, and Looking for Alaska was on the list,” he mentioned. 

The casting looked spot-on from the moment I saw it, and watching the TV show confirmed this. Kristine Froseth and Charlie Plummer are Alaska and Miles, they bring the classic characters to life with ease and immense skill. I didn’t realize how multidimensional (and funny) the Colonel is until I saw Denny Love play him. Love was also obsessed with the book from the moment he read it, even stating “I would’ve killed someone to be in this show,” and when he received the call that he got the part he just yelled, “FUUUUUCCCKKK YES!” 

Not only the casting is on point - the sets look exactly how I pictured them. Filled with nostalgia, everything from the soundtrack to the chokers including the posters in the characters’ rooms screams the early 2000s (the actors even got to pick some of the things included in their characters’ dorms).  Of course, there were some changes to the material. It has been a good number of years since the book was published. John Green noted that “It’s been so long since I read the book, that I would read something and be like ‘I’m not sure about this bit’ or ‘I don’t think this works out.’ And then Josh [Schwartz, the executive producer] would come back with ‘well YOU wrote it.’”

Something that I found that stood out is the fact that Alaska is shown not only through Miles’s perspective but as a full multifaceted person. When women are viewed through a male lens in stories, there’s the chance they become what is essentially a “manic pixie dream girl,” and so many of their qualities and feelings are overlooked. The TV show will ensure that this doesn’t happen by portraying moments of Alaska without Miles, for example, there’s a scene of her crying in her bedroom in the first episode that shows she is not the perfect, on-a-pedestal girl he sees her as for a majority of the book. 

 

“Looking For Alaska” premieres October 18 on Hulu, with all 8 episodes releasing at once, so clear your calendars now. 

Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani/Hulu