It’s no secret now that The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is actually written by J.K. Rowling. Now anyone who read her Harry Potter books and then saw the movies know how well they were kept to the original novels, and so you might be surprised by how much is changed from the book to the TV show in this case. In some cases it makes sense to alter or cut certain scenes in order to get you the information you needed to follow this mystery, but not hear the same repeated information over and over. Also some things have to just be said since, obviously, we’re not in the characters mind like you are in the book. However, the fact that they made it into a TV show should’ve allowed them the ability and time to truly explore this mystery as it was meant to be. After all, a movie can reasonably only be so long, but a TV show can be rather long in length as well as have several episodes to continue the story.
Now there’s the fact that some have complained that the characters don’t quite look how they were described, but that’s not really something to worry about. Robin Ellacott, played by Holliday Grainger, is perhaps the best match there is out of the cast. Not only does she look as she was described in the story, the actress does a great job of getting across the barely contained excitement Robin felt at the opportunity to help a Private Detective actually solve a case. She’s fun and likeable, and does justice to the character. Oddly enough, they diminished her role in solving the case. Such as the fact she’s the one who figured out how to find Rochelle, rather than that scene of Cormoran stealing a file from a previous residence. Which also led to a rearranging of events that had him interviewing Rochelle before he went to Vashti, it’s no wonder she didn’t stick around for questioning, he wouldn’t even have known the right questions to ask. Which is further kerfuffled by the fact they completely leave off his main line of questioning, what was the blue paper Lula was seen with the day she died?
Speaking of which, Tom Burke, as Cormoran Strike, was a casting I wasn’t too happy about when I first heard of it. He’s not the looming giant that takes up too much space and has not too attractively described facial features topped with hair that was likened to pubes. However, Burke does a good job of coming across with a gruff demeanor that’s softened by the few self deprecating smiles. He makes you believe that he has a prosthetic leg in his movements, something they rather flaunt, which is as it should be considering it is an obstacle for him at times in cases where he might attempt to follow someone, or even just struggle to make it up stairs. Altogether his acting has brought the character to life. My one complaint really is that he does on occasion mumble so that it’s hard to understand what he’s saying. Regardless, the two main characters, and perhaps the most important considering they’re the ones that’ll keep popping up, do well. And luckily they didn’t feel the need to add any romance that wasn’t there in the book, and kept their relationship very professional, which is one of the things that I do so love about this duo.
The rest aren’t exactly too far off their marks, at least not enough to really change anything. Though strangely they renamed Kieran Klovas-Jones to Nico, even while they kept his story exactly the same. Then there is Lula’s boyfriend, Evan Duffield, who in no way looks the part of a pretty boy. Once again, his part is so small as to not really detract from the show itself.
However, I was surprised that some characters were cut. Those like John Bristow’s girlfriend, Alison, and DI Carver don’t really make much of a difference to the plot and it’s reasonable to cut characters like that so you don’t have too many cluttering up the show. After all a book has plenty of time to delve into a variety of characters, while a total of 3 hours of TV really don’t. Yet in the case of combining characters like with the actual woman Tony Landry was having an affair with and Tansy, it does cause a bit of an upset to the story for a number of reasons. Such as how Cormoran comes to discover some info and what really is going on in Tansy’s life. As well as they made Guy Some come off as playing the gruff and rude demeanor that was really more of how Freddie Bestigui was set up, especially with how they ended up being able to talk to Guy Some. Once more it was an unnecessary change, and greatly altered the story.
While it’s not a bad thing to not necessarily know exactly what will happen next when it comes to a murder mystery, it does feel like this show hasn’t quite done the best it could to live up to the core of what really made the novel so wonderful. It felt rushed through, and at times it was as if they were just jamming the few characters they kept into random places to help make sense of the story that they’d chopped up and simplified perhaps too much. No there’s no need to have a similar conversation with one character to enforce facts that another character has already given us just to keep true to the book, but in a way they let characters give too much straightforward info that took away a lot of the ingenuity that makes Cormoran Strike such a wonderful detective, because of the truth that he’s able to dig out of the scattered and broken facts he’s given.
On its own it’s not a bad show as many a reviewer has established. I enjoyed it, and I’ll definitely watch whatever more is to come. However, in comparison with the book, it comes up a bit short, and that saddens me.