Here’s the thing about television shows. They have to have a premise with enough potential to create stories for at least several dozens of episodes. They’re on TV after all. They have to bring a different story each week, week after week. There can be interesting characters to explore, or it can take place in an unusual location that permits different story lines, and it should be able to reinvent itself when the older characters get stale like Law and Order.
Which is why trying to adapt Romeo and Juliet into a show is the Face Palm of the Day. There is a reason why Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest love stories ever told, and why it is a true classic. It is a contained story: boy meets girl, boy and girl can’t be together, boy and girl run away, boy and girl commit suicide together. The End. That’s it. We don’t need any more explanation or back story or forward story. Everything that is needed for a classical drama is there.
Basically what I’m saying is if it ain’t broke, why are you fucking trying to fix it?
I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be adapted. If they wanted to make their own version of it as a television movie, for example, I would be fine. Or a mini-series. But as a full blown television series? That’s just stupid. We know how the story ends and once you get to that point, you can’t go any further. Shakespeare didn’t want to go past that point, andjudging from who is behind this, they definitely aren’t, so they shouldn't go past that point either! This is just going to be a disaster.
Okay, you want more proof this going to suck beyond my theories on episodic television? Catherine Hardwicke is in talks to direct it. She directed a little movie, Twilight, that dealt with crossed lovers, but with a little more brooding and lip biting than what the Bard put to the page.
Painful confession time: I have read all the Twilight books (including the unpublished Midnight Sun) and seen all the movies multiple time. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re pure trash, but at the same time I find them fascinating. There is a decent story somewhere in those books buried under piles of angst and describing stuff as “ice cold” forty billion times. It would be very hard to mess up an adaptation of the book with a professional crew and the backing of a studio, and yet Catherine Hardwicke managed to do just that. Every idea she brought to the table was absolutely horrific and she set the characters up (acting wise) that they couldn’t escape and actually perform in the later movies. And yes, I know it is her fault because I listened to her commentary on Twilight. No, you’re a wuss.
Anyway, if she managed to ruin something as easy as Twilight I have no faith in her ability to adapt something as complex and beautiful as Romeo and Juliet.