I had a lot of thoughts over the last few days of how I would fix this movie. I think it’s an unfortunate incident and while I have not read the books, I have a few ideas of how I would fix it to make it better just from a film standpoint. I’m sure once I read the books, I’ll have more insight but I will take what I gleamed from the movie.
First of all, I would make it a television show on Netflix. I weighed my options of other channels and I considered Freeform, since they did so well with Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger and Siren is apparently doing well. I also considered the CW because of The 100 and the other shows that have abilities on them. However, I think Netflix would be the best option as they are doing really well with their movies and their YA adaptations.
I don’t know what the characters look like in the books, so I don’t know if Ruby is black, I doubt it honestly, but I think it was cool to have a YA sci-fi film where the lead was a person of color, so I think it would be imperative to maintain that in the show. So, I would recast Lidya Jewett as young Ruby and bring in a darker-skinned actress to play teenage Ruby. As for the other characters, they can keep Miya Cech and Skylan Brooks as Zu and Chubs because they were fine and don’t seem to be doing anything at the moment film wise. At least nothing serious. As for Liam, well I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find a blue eyed, tall and cute guy.
Episode Set Up
So, I think a big mistake in the film was how quickly it had to brush past the whole kids dying thing to get to teenage Ruby. No matter how quick it was in the book, if it was a TV show, we could spend the first episode getting to know Ruby as a kid and her family so later when she finally returns to them, we feel something for her. Anyway, a nice introduction to the Daly family and then at the end of the first episode, show the first outbreak of the disease by showing that Grace kid die. Boom. Interesting set up.
Next episode, we learn (without narration) about this mysterious disease and we physically see kids, Ruby’s classmates and friends, dying. We should be able to see what this is doing to their parents, to the kids who are surviving. Plus, the fear that Ruby’s parents would have about their own child. I’m not sure, but if all the kids get sick but the ones who don’t die gain powers, then perhaps we should see Ruby get sick and her parents worry for her and then at the end, she gets better. Moving forward, I feel like the first three episodes in a 13-22-episode show should focus on young Ruby for us to see her go to the camps, feel bad for her since her parents turned her in (because reasons) and how she made her strategy to survive. If it’s 13 episodes then obviously maybe leave young Ruby to three episodes and in the fourth time jump to teenage Ruby but if it was longer then take a bit more time.
When she meets Liam, Chubs and Zu, we should see them as a unit and how they work well together and allow us to care about them as we continue to see them.
I would keep Lady Jane around for a little while as well.
Romance and Relationships
In the movie they wanted us to care about Ruby and Liam falling for each other and to care later when she uses her ability to erase herself from his mind, but I didn’t care because I didn’t get the chance to care since it’s forced into my face without real reasons other than their teenagers and teenage love, I guess lol.
In the show, when Ruby joins them, there is a mysterious air about her which Liam would be interested in and she would be drawn to his good looks, passion and leadership skills lol but we would see them work together, survive together, get to know each other which would give the audience the chance to root for them and then later feel sad when she makes her decision at the end of the first season. It was also clear that Zu was pretty close to Liam and later they tried to make it like she was close with Ruby, but in the show, we would see and believe that. She had an older sister which is why she would connect with Ruby, so we’d learn about what she lost and why she gets so attached.
Plus, I would spend an entire episode showcasing Chubs, Liam and Zu’s backgrounds and how they escaped their camp.
Later, when we officially meet Clancy Gray, he’s enigmatic and he’s the only other person who understands Ruby. It happens so fast in the movie that I’m shocked Ruby didn’t pick up on his weirdness quicker. I would have. In the show, we would have time to see this little utopia he made and how quickly the others get ingrained. Liam on the front lines, Zu with the other young kids and Chubs was not into it and I would like to see his distrust grow. As for Ruby, she and Clancy would spend a lot of time together learning her powers where his interest in her makes sense then just his weird looks. He got obsessed and if we got to see them spend a lot of time together, actually, then the audience would be like “Word”.
Action and Climax
The movie was very anticlimactic but the action was handled pretty well. I wish we got to see more of the abilities showcased since it’s such a big part of the story. I would definitely keep their eyes reflecting their abilities, that was cool. The chase scene was pretty dope so definitely have to keep that in the show. The fight at the end between Ruby and Clancy was kind of meh and I think it would have been much more. Not to mention, as I kind of ranted about in my review, Liam’s telekinetic ability should have been showcased way more, with different ways to use it other than to just move things. We saw him destroy a road and bring forth a ton of trees, but we didn’t really see him do anything like that again. He should have been able to create force fields, even if they weren’t large, or move people. We saw that it could happen but Liam never really did it. He should have been able to fly, I mean sheesh lol.
Not to mention, why weren’t any of the other kids fighting? Sure, some of them got under mind control but I would have been fighting if I had the abilities they had. Plus, the Greens with their high intelligence could have been doing more than just… talking lol.
In the movie, we have three villains. Lady Jane, a bounty hunter who definitely has it out for Liam it seemed. The government. Clancy Grey. The league which was a little ambiguous. The first season could be heavily focused on the first book, which is cool, but I think it would be okay, to split the first book into a season and a half at least. Sooo, I wouldn’t introduce Clancy as a villain until the second season. His name would be around as it was in the movie since he was “cured” and his father was some big shot but the Slip Kid would be a mysterious figure until we meet him. So, Lady Jane would be the main villain as she was an awesome bounty hunter and I think the movie did nothing with her and she was interesting. She said she caught Liam before and now he had an even bigger price on his head, I would have let her catch them and keep them for at least an episode or two just to make it interesting.
The government has its part in the beginning and would remain a threat throughout since they’re looking for Ruby. Then you have the League, who we don’t know if we can trust as a looming threat with Cate and Rob. I think it would be interesting because you never know who might show up while our Runaways are just trying to make it to the Utopia.
Ideally the first season could end with the first book so the second book could be the second season. Being that this would be on Netflix there wouldn’t be a midseason finale, so the first season could end with Ruby being with the League and doing the whole hand paint thing or whatever. BUUUT if it’s 13 episodes, I would actually end the first season with the Runaways getting to the Utopia and feeling like they finally made it. So that way, the main villain of Clancy would be revealed in the second season. Perhaps after they escape Lady Jane, maybe the government is closing in and they give them the slip and at the skin of their teeth, they find the entrance to Utopia. They would think they have to fight since the Slip Kid’s sentries are standing watch but then they recognize Liam and they take them into the hideout and see all the kids and end the season with them being all like
Play triumphant music and everything. It would be a nice ending for a shit show that will start in season two. I think it would be awesome.
In the End
If The Darkest Minds was a television show, I think it would have allowed for the story to be told the way it should be. As I said before, I’ll probably get a bit more insight once I read the trilogy but it’s very rare that I watch a movie based on a trilogy and think of how I would fix it without really knowing the full story. I had so many thoughts after this one that even without that extra knowledge, I believe it could be done.
I think it should have another chance, but as a Netflix Original.
What do you think of this plan? Let me know your thoughts!
What other YA novels should have a television show? What YA movies should have been television shows?
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