I started watching Midnight, Texas and fell in love with the quirky characters, the setting and the story. It wasn’t until after the first season that I discovered the show was based on a book series. Normally I insist on reading a book before watching the show or movie, but it sometimes happens this way as well. At the time the show was on, I really had no interest in reading the books. But alas it was canceled after only two short seasons. What to do? Well I kept it in the back of my mind to read the books at some point, but time went by without that happening.
A few months ago I found myself looking for an audiobook to listen too. None of the current ones I have downloaded on my computer were catching my interest so I turned to the library to see what was available, and Midnight Crossing, the first book, came up. So I decided to give it a chance. And I am certainly glad I did.
So how close to the books did the TV show come? Well, in some ways pretty close, but in others so, so different. Let’s start with the characters.
All of the characters that I fell in love with in the show, are in the books, but they are a little different.
I totally expected Manfred to be the star of the books, but he really is just part of the ensemble of characters. He is a psychic in the books as well, but he doesn’t see and talk to ghosts like he does in the show. Also it sounds like he has way more body piercings. There is only a couple of times in the books where he talks to spirits and those were both in seances. He can tell things about people though. Also, the whole backstory he gets in the show isn’t really here in the books.
Fiji’s character was pretty similar in the books and the show. She is a powerful witch, but keeps that power under control. She is in love with Bobo and it takes all three books for them to get together. She is the mother of the group always looking out for everyone and keeping the town in check. Mr Snuggly, Fiji’s cat, is much more prominent in the books and some of their conversations were hilarious.
Probably has the biggest character change from the books to the show. In the books he is white, in fact he is often described as being extremely pale. In the show he is black and has this whole backstory of being a slave. We don’t get much in the way of backstory in the books, just that he is really old.
I think was probably the one character that came closest to her book character. We only get a little of her background in the book, but the basic story was there in the tv show though expanded upon. She was a badass in both instances and was not afraid to use her actions to get what she needed or to protect the town.
All of the others
In the interest of keeping this post somewhat short, I will just say one or two things about the other characters. The Rev was pretty much the same in both the book and TV show as was Bobo. Chuy and Joe are both angels in the book, although their story is not explored at all except to say that they were fallen angels. Joe only flies a couple of times in the book. Chuy is a demon in the TV show. Creek is much younger in the book and she and her family are only in the first book.
Plot and Setting
As far as the setting goes, I think the TV show was pretty spot on. Everything looked and felt as it was described in the books. The isolation, the dependence on each other and how friendly they are to those who need them. Both the book and the show did a great job of showing what a small town in Texas looks and feels like.
The main difference between the show and the books as far as plot goes, was everything was exaggerated. The basic plots of each of the books were all there in the TV show, but were taken to a higher level of supernatural. The supernatural parts of the story in the books, was way more subdued and had a more realistic feel to them. It just felt natural that all of these people with these abilities should live in this town in the middle of nowhere. The one thing I liked a little better in the TV show than the book was the hotel. There was always something off about the hotel in the books, but that part of it was never really explored. The whole thing in the TV show where the owners were also supernatural was not in the books.
So which was better? I honestly can’t say. I think it really depends on what you are in the mood for. If I had read the books first, I might not have liked the heightened action and all of the supernatural stuff that they added in the TV show. But I could also see really enjoying it too. But having done it the other way, I was kind of glad that the books were more subdued. Also it was easier to keep track of the characters and the basic plots having some expectation of what was going to happen. I must say that the third book was my favorite, mostly because of the conversations between Fiji and Mr Snuggles about sex. I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time.
Have you read the books or watched the show? Which was your favorite?