While "Game of Thrones" has shown itself to be one of the strongest and most successful fantasy series ever produced, it is not the first fantasy adventure produced for television. Unfortunately, however, these other adventures have not proven nearly as successful, including the series "Legend of the Seeker." So, what are the differences that made one more successful than the other?
Faithfulness of adaptation
Certainly, one of the things that keeps "Game of Thrones" going is the fact it has managed, despite the limitations of television, to remain fairly faithful to the original work produced by Martin. As a result, it has managed to draw in fans of the novels as well as those who have not read them, a crucial element of success for any television series based on a novel. In "Legend of the Seeker," unfortunately, the changes were so dramatic that any semblance to the original work was mostly lost, and this no doubt helps to explain why it failed to catch the same interest as the series based on Martin's work.
The original material
No series can succeed without a good original work to stand on, and while "The Sword of Truth," the book series that serves as the basis for "Legend" is a very strong and popular series, it does have a stronger and more definitive political message than Martin's work. Furthermore, it has just as much blood, gore, and sex as "Game of Thrones" (if not more), but its ability to represent these in any meaningful way was seriously curtailed by its network location on ABC, a network that seeks to reach out to families, as well as to mature viewers.
The network location
This leads us to the last issue, that of network location. In addition to placing restrictions on the amount of graphic violence and sex that could be shown, the fact that "Legend" appeared on ABC meant that it had to stretch out its storyline over many episodes, thus resulting in some substantial altering of the storyline. As a result, the final product, while fitting in quite well with ABC's increased interest in fantastical stories, nevertheless ended up in a butchery of Goodkind's original vision.
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