Producers and streaming networks get a bit ambitious when they pitch a series project based on a popular novel. They believe because it is a novel that the series adaptation can go for six, ten, or even twelve episodes. Some novels just don''t translate to a long-form series. One of the types of novels might be the adaptation of Sally RooneysConversations With Friends, created by the same production team that modified her novelNormal People.
STREAM IT OR SKIP IT CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS?
Two female college students sitting on the stairs looking like they''re hearing a poem.
Frances (Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane) go to Trinity College in Dublin. Despite a three-year relationship, they continue to have a positive relationship. They have read a range of poems written by Frances at a local pub.
The school year has ended, and Frances roommate is on the verge of leaving for the summer, but she doesn''t spend much time with Bobbi anyway. After one reading, Melissa (Jemima Kirke) discovers a novel that has gained worldwide acclaim. Melissa invites them to her house to have a meal with her and her husband Nick (Joe Alwyn).
Bobbi enjoys Melissa while she drinks, and the two of them openly flirt. Frances and Nick are certainly an interesting play, but they seem to be downplaying the fact that he is doingCat On A Hot Tin Roof enough. And Frances is interested and asks if she can see it.
Sher goes by herself but does not stay to greet him afterwards. For her part, Bobbi, who doesnt even understand how someone who like Melissa might be married, pokes fun at Frances for going without her. But she stays at Frances apartment when Frances suffers severe cramps during the day.
Nick promises to go to a series of lectures between Frances and Bobbis, and Frances is really surprised when he signs up.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of?Conversations With Friends has the personal focus and slowish pacing ofNormal People, a second adaptation of Sally Rooney developed by the same group.
Our Take:Conversations With Friends Seems like the type of story that might be better suited for a 90-minute film than a 12-episode season. It''s a fairly modest story: Most of the season will consist of the ways Frances and Nick will connect, mixed in with some Bobbi and Melissa goings-on, and the consequences of the original relationships.
Does it sound like something you should watch for six hours? We didn''t think so. Oliver plays Frances as someone who appears to have convictions but she admits that those convictions are punishable at best. Alwyn gives Nick some squeamishness about being profound and erudite, because no one expects him to be. But Kirke does the over-the-bohemian thing since Girls debuted a decade ago.
The actual narrative in the first episode failed to engage us in any significant way, because there appears to be no depth to any of the four main characters yet. Instead of cultivating this friendship through introducing us to the lives of the quartet members and then permitting things to evolve from there, we dive right into everyone being attracted to someone in the opposite pair.
Will some of this depth happen as the season progresses? Sure, we hope so. Regardless of whether each episode takes under 30 minutes each, we cannot see if this story is human enough to make an impact.
Sex and Skin: Nothing in the first episode, although that seems to be a snag.
Parting Shot: Nick tries to politely tell Frances how much he liked her spoken word performance. He suggests hell write everything in an e-mail full of compliments and. complete sentences, and Frances says it will not require us to make eye contact. Then she looks up and says, "You may try it, though." Were guessing she meant making eye contact.
Sleeper Star: This show features some supporting actors, but the four main characters dominate so much, making it difficult to distinguish the actor as a sleeper.
Most Pilot-y Line: This is a good play where things happen, according to Nick on Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, pretty defensively.
Our Call: SKIP IT. Like we said, we would have likedConversations With Friends if it were a movie or maybe even a four-part limited series. But there just isn''t enough narrative force to keep the story going for 12 episodes.