Looking for Alaska is an American teen drama web television miniseries created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, based on the 2005 novel of the same name by John Green. It follows teenager Miles after he enrolls in boarding school to try to gain a deeper perspective on life. After an unexpected tragedy, Miles and his friends try to make sense of what they have been through…
Writing a review on this is quite surreal to me. It’s not an understatement when I say I have been waiting for this for somewhere around a decade. Looking For Alaska was the first book I had ever read by John Green. John went on to be my biggest inspiration as a writer, voice of mental illness, and favorite YouTuber. Having said all of that it gives me great pleasure to say that the Hulu miniseries lived up completely to my imense standards, and doing it as a miniseries was probably the smartest decision they could have made.
If you haven’t read the book, than what the hell is wrong with you? Go do it right now! But, until then, its completely fine. Even though reading the book gives you a different perspective on this, it is completely unnecessary to enjoy the adaptation. This is by far the most faithful adaptation I have EVER seen. I listened to the audio book in preparation of this releasing, and they remade this down to the sentances. Every single moment is touched on with what feels like nothing left out. Normally I would count that against it, sometimes doing that can be a drag and sometimes cuts are needed because certain things don’t translate well to the screen. What surprised me most was a blowjob scene was kept in from the book that plagued John Green with controversy for years. I’m glad they did though as John always said in defense of it that it was meant to show the difference between physical and emotional connections. Without narration I find it impressive that they pulled that off.
The characters in this were absolutely awesome. I know nothing about anyone, only recognizing a small handful of faces. The main four cast members were plucked from obscurity and did a great job. Charlie Plummer, Kristine Forseth, Jay Lee, and Denny Love are their names. I have to say that Charlie and Kristine did a good job convincing me that two people I believed to be horrible for eachother are meant for eachother. Jay Lee as Takumi was also a standout for me. He was dry, witty, but provided a voice of reason. He is a great actor that I believe will mke waves one day… They all had two difficult tasks that could have broke this series. One, they had to all be the bad guy, or a jerk at one point yet never have us hate them. That’s a fine line. Two, they had to read dialogue written by John Green convincingly. The only complaint I’ve ever had about John is that he is a very smart man, but a very smart man that some times writes unrealistic dialogue for kids because of that. It works better in this case than most, in part cause they are in a private school, but mostly it’s the acting… Before I move on I’d like to give a shout out to EVERY side character and supporting role. If those were a movie we would never know about them, much less invest our selves in them.
I have heard some criticism of all the smoking, dinking, sex, and over all recklessness of the teens in this. But, that’s not bad, its honest. That’s what made Looking For Alaska (the novel) groundbreaking. A young adult novel about teens in boarding school that realistically portrayed teens in boarding school. This series is rated MA, which I dont really agree with but I understand. Teens can handle watching this though because they live this. This isn’t a glamorous show about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It’s a message. An honest look at life, and a portrayal of struggles and friendship.
In the end, I binged this in a day. No one had higher hopes and standards going in to this than I did, and I can promise you that. This show is an honorable adaptation and an emotional rollercoaster that I enjoyed every single damn second of.