A few weeks ago, Hulu and WIGS announced their plans to release the passed over pilot for Delirium, which is based on Lauren Oliver’s bestselling book of the same name, online for a limited time. Book fans went crazy in anticipation and on Friday, the world was finally able to see Oliver’s beloved book come to life. And as major fans of the book, RT’s Assistant Web Editor DJ and reviewer Christin had high expectations, and today, they share their post-viewing thoughts. Warning: spoilers ahead!
DJ: What I love most about the pilot is that, for the most part, it captures the feel and tone of the book. There’s a creepy sterility to the world and the characters that really drives home the idea that a central emotion - in this case, love - is absent. In particular, Senator Hargrove, played by Michael Michele, seemed the most “cured” and I really enjoyed her scenes.
Christin: I completely agree with the show having a "sterile" feeling. The set designers and location scouts did a great job at making sure the concept of order and control within the town of Portland was clear. Also yes, Michael Michele was a good casting call for the Senator! Girl had her serious game on LOCK.
And after watching the pilot a second time, the show as a whole grew on me. I was more eager than angered to see what happened to these characters I admired within the book series, and what would happen in their television woes.
DJ: Same here! I usually see a movie or watch a pilot twice when it’s based on a favorite book because the second time allows me to absorb the film/show on its own, rather than compare it to the book.
Christin: Also, I may or may not have an unhealthy obsession with Gregg Sulkin, who plays Julian Fineman. THOSE LIPS. *faints* And the introduction of a possible love triangle between Julian, Hana and Frederick - Senator Hargrove’s son - would have made for a really good story, especially since Frederick is more than likely the love child of Julian’s father and the Senator.
DJ: I wasn’t sure if I’d like having Julian come into the story so quickly, but I really enjoyed having him there and how his family’s politics brought an immediate intensity to the story. And yes, THOSE LIPS! And I rather liked Daren Kagasoff as Alex. He’s cute (obviously the most important part, ha), subtle and his chemistry with Emma is endearing. I kept smiling like an idiot whenever they shared scenes. And let’s not talk about how distressed I was during the end.
Christin: Daren was a good selection for Alex, but I'm still biased towards his dark hair. I WANT MY GOLDEN AMBER LEAFY HAIR. However, as the episode progressed, his intensity towards Lena (Emma Roberts) in the end was played rather well. It didn't feel contrived and it felt natural due to the show's circumstances. This all sounds very vague, but I don't want to spoil anything!
Christin: Emma Roberts. She was not a believable Lena Haloway at all, and I know for the sake of television some things have to be rushed, but they actually rushed an entire book, into 42 straight minutes, and Lena's character development was definitely rushed as well. She was not timid and vaguely uneasy, but fell "in love" pahrettty quick.
DJ: Yeah, Emma was a major letdown for me. I’m not a huge fan of hers anyway, but I had hoped she’d make me like her as Lena. It felt like she wasn’t even trying and that she didn’t even want to be there.
Christin: I also wonder if they got anyone else to play Lena Haloway how the show would have turned out. Personally, I think Jeanine Mason, who played Hana, should have been Lena, and Emma Roberts should have been Hana.
DJ: Hmm, that’s an interesting casting idea. I think Jeanine would’ve been livelier than Emma, but I kept wanting to see Lily Collins as Lena. I really liked her in City of Bones and think her persona would be a better fit.
DJ: In the end, with super choppy editing, poor acting and a rushed plot, it’s easy to see why FOX passed on the pilot and series. As an adaptation and pilot, it’s surprisingly weak. But as an extension of my favorite book, it’s enjoyable and rather entertaining. I’m so happy Hulu and WIGS gave us all the chance to see it.
Christin: I understand some things have to change when adapting a book for TV, but the show runners completely revamped the entire premise in hopes of catching up with other networks that offer prime teen programming. I think the story lines of Julian, Hana and Julian’s dad would have propelled the season forward for at least 6 more episodes.