Streaming Sunday features TV series or movies adapted from books I’ve read, offered on at least one streaming service and I’ve watched.
The You TV series is based on the book series by Caroline Kepnes, a psychological thriller of the same name featuring the character Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager with obsessive behavior. There are three books to date and three seasons currently streaming on Netflix. It was renewed for a fourth season in October 2021.
I was mesmerized by the first book, You, as I struggled to come to terms with my own obsession with Joe and his diabolical behavior. He reminded me of a young Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger) without the annoying qualities but much creepier. In fact, there are subtle connections included by the author. It’s a disturbing story but the kind you can’t look away from, both the plot and the character. Joe has an oddly seductive quality that’s undefinable but definitely there.
The TV series premiered on Lifetime in September 2018. However, the second second season was announced in July before the first air date when the author released the second book.
Season 1 is based on the first book, You, and stars Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail. I was anxious about the casting because Joe is such a unique character. I was stunned after watching the first episode for only five minutes, realizing Badgley was so utterly Joe Goldberg. I had to impatiently wait each week for the next episode but before the first season ended, it had already moved to Netflix. It’s most definitely a binge worthy series that I would have inhaled in one sitting if that option had been available.
The first season is amazingly close to the brilliant writing of the book, though there are some deviations. I halted after the first season until I could finish the second book, Hidden Bodies. The ending was a little different and I didn’t want to confuse the two. I listened to the second book and kicked myself that I hadn’t listened to the first. The narrator, Santino Fontana, is as perfectly matched with the book series as Badgley is for the TV series.
Season 2 is based on the second book and here is where the TV series takes big turns. So, since I had the third book in the queue to read, I decided to wait. I can’t comment on Season 3 but given its renewal for #4, I’m certain it’s continuing to live up to the first two.
This is a situation where I love the books and the TV series equally. It doesn’t matter that they follow slightly different paths because the quality of the writing is excellent for both and they stay so true to the main character. I strongly recommend reading at least the first book before watching the series. You really want to “get” Joe before watching him so you don’t miss all those subtleties that later become important. After that? Completely up to you, though both books I’ve read were winners, print and audio.