Friday, August 19, 2011

Rizzoli & Isles series: Books vs TV

Hey everyone! Sorry for being quiet this week. Ugh, it's all been work, work, work. I hate calling patients with a passion, sigh. Anyway, after I did the monthly reads post, I wanted to write one about the Rizzoli & Isles series :)

One of the biggest discoveries I made thanks to RWA this year was the Rizzoli & Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. I've heard a lot of good about Ms Gerritsen's books, but have never really give her books a try. I enjoy mystery, but it's not a genre I read very much. I tend to read romantic suspense instead, just because, well, it has more romance in it LOL.

Anyway :) Ms Gerritsen was one of the speakers at the Opening session. During the session, she spoke a lot about the storylines and the characters and it got me curious :) Then I realized she was the author that Wendy bought in hardcover LOL. Hey, that's a big endorsement right there. So when I came home, I hunted down the first season of Rizzoli & Isles. There's a few reasons why I went with the TV series first instead of the books... First, it was easier to find 10 TV episodes than 6 books and also, faster to go through LOL. And while TV adaptations are never 100% accurate, I thought it'd gave me a feel about the characters and whether or not I'd want to try out the books.

It turns out that I really, really enjoyed the TV series. The first episode was excellent and based on The Apprentice and then, the rest is well... "invented." LOL. What I enjoyed the most about the TV series was the dynamics between the characters, especially Jane and Maura. There's a lot of TV series out there that have a female and male protagonists and the overarching storyline is their sexual tension... When will they become a couple... Bones and Castle come to mind right away. I think this is what makes Rizzoli & Isles stand out so much. The dynamics between Jane and Maura is just great and fun, LOL, because they are so different. Also, there are other interesting characters and dynamics. I really like how Jane's little brother Frankie looks up to his sister, etc. So overall, I thought it was a very enjoyable TV show and was so happy the second season was about to start :)

Still, I was curious about the books, because I knew that in the books, Jane got married and had a kid... So I to read about that relationship. Also, Ms Gerritsen emphasized that the reasons the series was such a success was because her characters grew... and you don't really see it in the TV series. So I went to the library and got my hands on all the books I could: Body Double, The Mephisto Club, The Keepsafe and Ice Cold and I already had The Apprentice. You look at it and it's a really good haul, but of course, I was missing the most 2 important books when it comes to Jane and her husband's relationship. Ugh. Yes, I have all the luck LOL. In any case, I gave the books a try - and yes, I did not read it in order.

Immediately, what jumped out to me was the difference between the books and TV series... and they are many. Jane's character is pretty much spot on, despite the fact that the actress, Angie Harmon will never be plain Jane no matter the amount of frumpy clothes and no make-up LOL. And so is Korsak and I guess Frost (except for the fact that his Afro-American and single in the TV series). I think the biggest difference character-wise was Maura... In the book, she's a 40 years old woman, divorced, looking for something in her life. I wouldn't say she's subdued, but she's definitively not as vibrant as the Maura Isles from the TV series. I really like the Maura from the TV series, played by Sasha Alexander, as she's so quirky and sometimes, socially inept... Think Temperance Brennan from Bones, but less intense and more fun. Another difference is Jane's family - no younger brother who's a cop, looking up to her... but hey, Jane has a husband and eventually, a baby. One of the biggest disappointments in the books was the camaraderie between Jane and Maura. After watching the TV series, I thought they were really close... but in the books? Not so much. At first, they seem more like acquaintances... and while the friendship does deepen, it's not much compare to the chemistry on TV. However, there are a few shockers concerning Maura in the books... and can I say, wowzer ^_^; Not things that I expected...

In the end, both the books and the TV series are worth a shot :) The TV series is fun and enjoyable. The highlights are definitively the characters and the chemistry between Jane and Maura. The case-solving aspect is so-so... but some episodes definitively stands out such as the pilot episode and finale of the first season. As for the books? It is true that the characters and relationships are not stagnant. However, the real reason I would read these books would be for the plot and mystery. Ms Gerritsen is a great author - the writing is solid, the characters are developed and what they go through feel real, but it's her storylines that take the prize :) Her books are simply filled with twists and turns making them very gritty and thrilling. So far, my favorite books are Vanish and Body Double with The Keepsafe coming very close behind :) If you enjoy mystery books, you'll definitively want to give this a try :)


  1. Haven't checked out this show. Looks good but i have too many shows as it is.

  2. They just started airing the show here, I shall try to catch it up!
    I usually go for the movie/show first, :P dunno why, it just seems to be the way it happens for me.LOL:

  3. Is this show only in Canada? I've not heard of it where I'm at....

  4. I adore both -- book series and television show. I like the difference they've put in Maura's character for the show. And Jacqueline Bissett as her mother is perfect (2nd season).

    Now I just need to catch up on the books, and since I've partially dismantled the TBR maybe I'll actually find them. These days I'm tending to stick to suspense and gore books then lovey-dovey romance because of what I've been going through recently. :-(

  5. Isabel - Hey Isabel :) There isn't that many episodes to the series. Since it's a summer series, season 1 and 2 each have 10 episodes :) So if you really want to watch it... LOL. Very feasible :)

    Alex - Hey Alex :) Hope you'll enjoy it!! :)

    It depends with me. I know that books are always better than movies... but for tv, it's rarely that accurate. Just based, so I think tv, it gives you an idea more rapidly :) And can be a bit more mindless :)

    Tabitha - Hey Tabs, actually no, the show is American. I think it airs on TnT... not one of the main channels.

    Amy - I agree :) I think it made the tv series much more fun by quirking up Maura's character :) I also think that Maura's relationship in the books, well it'd be really tricky to put on tv... ^_^;

    Nod nod. I hear you. Do you read Kay Hooper and Karen Rose? If you want gore... :P

  6. And Amy should dig out the Chelsea Cain books too :) Says me.

    I watched the first season. It was OK, but it never really lit a fire under me - so it was easy to let the season 2 premiere slip under my radar. Yeah, Harmon wouldn't be "plain" if someone beat her with a stick - but I knew she would get the "attitude" right. But Maura? I just can't seem to let go how much they doctored (ha!) her character. They're like....totally separate people. I understand it on a Hollywood level - but as someone who has really loved Maura in the books? It's been hard for me to let go.....

  7. Wendy - True, Harmon does have the attitude right :) And I can understand your disappointment with Maura's character. I have to say, I'm the opposite, I haven't warmed up to the book character... but then, it's a question of what I've seen/read first ^_^;

    The TV series is not a must, but I think it's enjoyable and pass time well :)

  8. I might give this series a try with the audiobooks. Not sure about the series - I don't watch much TV and can barely remember when the shows I do watch are on. LOL

    Happy you're enjoying both books and show. :)

  9. Nath, thanks for the post! I have two of the books by Ms. Gerritsen in my TBR and need to get going on them. I don't watch the show, though... and I think I'll read the books first. :D

  10. Leslie - I think you'll enjoy them, Leslie :) Audiobooks is a good idea ;)

    Hilcia - No problemo :P Well Wendy really enjoyed the books, right? So that's big endorsement :P

  11. Donneven get me started. I LOVED the books so VERY much.

    But I get pissy about so minute things in the movie Vs the book wars that this should qualify the biggest rant from me.

    Maura has to have jet black hair ¬_¬

    They aren't BFFs in the normal sense of the way - they don't go and have a mud bath together. Lord! Talk about creative liberties.

  12. Brahmin - LOL. I think we all have that book or series that we like so much and we hate the adaptation :)

    Yeah, it was a bit of a surprise to read about Maura in the book. I do agree that on that aspect, it was a miss in the TV series... but as I've watched to TV series beforehand, I have to say I'm glad of the change.

    LOL, true, true about the mudbath.