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I Don't Think "Based On" Means What They Think It Means

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | December 1, 2009 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | December 1, 2009 |

The SyFy Channel has ordered thirteen episodes of a television series based on Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid and expects to air them sometime in 2010.

They’re changing the name from The Colorado Kid to Haven. And, well, the story is getting a few tweaks …

According to SciFi Wire, this is what the show is about: “Deep in the heart of Maine, Haven is a town where people with supernatural abilities have migrated for generations because it mutes their powers, allowing them to lead normal lives. At least, until recently. When hot-shot FBI agent Audrey Parker is called to Haven to solve the murder of a local ex-con, she catches the killer but uncovers a much deeper mystery about this town. Each week, as the town-peoples’ dormant powers begin to express themselves, Audrey will try to keep these supernatural forces at bay while unraveling the many mysteries of Haven — including one surrounding her own surprising past in this extraordinary place.”

According to Barnes & Noble’s website, this is what the book is about: “On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it’s more than a year before the man is identified. And that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still…?”

Notice anything? Other than the fact that there’s a dead body and a town in Maine, the two descriptions have absolutely nothing to do with each other. If you change the name, all the characters and the plot, is it really fair to say that a television series is based on a particular book? By such loose criteria, one could simply say that it is based on every book. At once. Did you know that Star Wars is based on Nabokov’s Lolita? Hint: the lightsaber is his penis.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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