Here’s What Stephen King Likes (and Hates) About TV Adaptations of His Books

Yes, he still prefers the small-screen take on "The Shining"

Stephen King and IT
Stephen King credits the 1990 TV adaptation of "IT" for the 2017 movie's success.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

Stephen King famously did not care for Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of The Shining.

But he loved a 1997 TV version of the haunted hotel classic, which stayed closer to the book’s plot and character motivations.

That’s part of a longer analysis of the horror author’s television adaptations by The New York Times and King himself. The most interesting discovery? King prefers the small screen for his works. “That is the great thing about TV,” he says during the interview. “You can take these things as they are and expand more.”

The reason for the career analysis arrives via a new adaptation of King’s most ambitious early work, the post-apocalyptic epic The Stand (streaming on CBS All Access starting on Thursday). The author hasn’t seen the completed remake, though he credits the miniseries for having a more diverse cast … and he did write a new ending for the project.

A few interesting tidbits culled from the interview:

  • King thinks the 1990 miniseries of It worked because of Tim Curry, and he also believes the two-part film succeeded because of people’s fond memories of the original adaptation.
  • He hates The Tommyknockers — both his own book and the TV version.
  • Storm of the Century from 1999, an original show from a King screenplay, is his favorite small-screen work … mainly because they filmed it in the wintertime in Maine (“You get the sense of this awesome blizzard and the people trapped in it.”).

But the most fascinating admission here is that King isn’t really obsessed with how a lot of his work translates. For example, the CBS show Under the Dome, which went from good to forgettable pretty quickly. “It was a sad thing, but it didn’t bother me,” King said. “I stopped watching after a while because I just didn’t give a [expletive].”

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