You just convinced me to make Cormoran Strike my first TV series to watch in 2023! 😃
Hmmm. Finished the series yesterday, and my impression isn't quite as rapturous as it was at the beginning.
From a nuts-and-bolts perspective, it's a good adaptation and a good mystery. Many of the key moments show up on screen. The casting is excellent, everyone did a really good job.
But the pacing really bothered me. It felt so incredibly rushed. The determination to get all the key moments into the adaptation meant that every scene was all too brief, with sharp cutaways that were jarring to watch. "Omg, we finally found Satchwell! Hallelujah! Well, we've exchanged two sentences with him, next scene!" "Look, Robin is getting a divorce! It's acrimonious! No it's not, it's all settled. And in under 90 seconds!" On the one hand, yay for getting all the key moments in; on the other hand, the series almost played more like a highlight reel of Trouble Blood than actually telling the story.
Also, the mystery(-ies) were changed into far too linear a progression. In the book, the overarching mystery of "what happened to Margot?" and "was it Dennis Creed?" are the focus the entire time. In the show, it's much more A-then-B-then-C. Episode 2: Kara and the Riccis. Episode 3: Louise and Creed. Episode 4: Margot. Each one is treated like a self-contained mystery, making the series feel almost procedural in nature.
The timeline is also far too condensed. What made TB (and the HP books) so effective is how we get to live in the book and feel the passage of time. Birthdays, holidays, cancer diagnoses, weeks and months of working and struggling on the case... it allows the characters room to breathe and grow. Strike being nice for Robin's birthday doesn't hit as hard when you don't have the prior year and Christmas to compare to. The Valentine's Day Debacle is reduced to a fight over Strike acting shitty this one time, rather than an established pattern of being inconsiderate. Strike zips to and from Cornwall every week, or so it feels.
Same for the mystery. Gloria throwing up at the party? Gone. Margot treating Janice's kid? Not mentioned until the big reveal. Strike is all, "I figured it out because everyone was getting sick all the time!" based on like two data points.
Maybe my hopes were just higher because I thought 4 hours might be enough to do TB justice, but I don't think it was. It's the first time I feel pretty underwhelmed by one of the Strike TV adaptations.