Should you watch the new Spiderwick TV show?

Or should you just read the books?


Long before Holly Black wrote The Cruel Prince, she cowrote a children’s series called The Spiderwick Chronicles with Tony DiTerlizzi.There was even a movie adaptation in 2008 starring Freddie Highmore. The movie was pretty decent, with an approval rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.

We recently found out that the Spiderwick Chronicles has a TV show adaptation, which was passed from Disney Plus to Roku and is airing April 19. Since we haven’t figured out whether we want to watch that show or not, we decided to judge the trailer by first reading the books.

Jared and Simon
In the books Jared and Simon were supposed to be 9-year-old twins. Freddie Highmore was around 15 years old when he played the role while Lyon Daniels (Jared) and Noah Cottrell (Simon) are around 16 years old. First of all, it was very fun to see Freddie Highmore play both roles. Secondly, with the Percy Jackson TV show hiring actors who are of the right age, it is frustrating to see Spiderwick not doing the same. The books are middle grade books and it would make more sense if younger kids play the roles.

New additions
While the original movie was slightly different from the book, we thought it was a pretty loyal adaptation. In the TV show trailer, however, there are already two characters that we couldn’t figure out until we Googled – Momona Tamada as Emiko and Alyvia Alyn Lind as Calliope. Emiko is supposed to be a pathological liar who is intrigued by the Spiderwick Estate, while Calliope is a Fetch who is Mulgarath’s assistant. Of course, not all changes are bad and we can see Calliope giving viewers a chance to learn more about Mulgarath’s motivation. After all, in the books, we don’t get the interact with Mulgarath until the final book. We aren’t 100% convinced by Emiko’s addition though.

In the trailer, Aunt Lucinda also told Jared to pierce the field guide together when that was not a thing in the books at all?! With the field guide being so dangerous, we don’t really understand why the aunt would convince the Grace children to do this.

Overall, the entire TV show seems like something set in the Spiderwick universe, but not necessarily an actual adaptation for it. We have to admit we are a bit disappointed with it. However, we thoroughly enjoyed reading the books even though they are middle grade novels. Simon & Schuster UK released a shiny new edition recently with matching spines so that might give you another reason to read the books if you haven’t.

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