'Looking For Alaska' is cheerful, entertaining

Hulu’s adaptation of John Green’s beloved novel “Looking For Alaska” was released on Oct. 18 as a limited series. It’s the kind of show that will make viewers fly through all of the eight episodes, causing them to wish they could restart it with no recollection of what they watched. 

Miles “Pudge” Halter, played by Charlie Plummer, is the leading character of this story. He is known for his unusual obsession with learning famous people’s last words. Miles is in search of a change from his uninteresting life. He decides to leave his high school in Florida to enroll in Culver Creek Preparatory High School in Alabama. 

Miles quotes Francois Rabelais’s last words “I go to seek a Great Perhaps” as his reason behind this transition.

Miles immediately befriends his roommate Chip (a.k.a The Colonel), played by Dennis Love upon arriving at Culver Creek, who introduces Miles to his friends, the pragmatic Takumi, played by Jay Lee and the enigmatic Alaska, played by Kristine Froseth. The four become inseparable. 

Their bond including crazy shenanigans, trumping each other’s jokes and quoting literature. Culver Creek resembles a summer camp, filled with prank wars, heartbreak and inebriated drama. While Green’s novel is mainly centered around Miles and his narration, the show focuses on each of the main characters and what they contribute to the story. 

The first episode opens with a catastrophic car accident. The beginning and end of each episode counts down the days before we learn what happened. Although viewers are reminded of this trauma looming near, much of the show is cheerful and entertaining. Each episode brings viewers closer to Miles and the rest of the characters, making it that much more heartbreaking when the end draws near. 

Being a faithful reader of Green's novels, “Looking For Alaska” became a worn book on my shelf, re-read more times than I can count. It captured my heart and took a piece of it when I finished it. When I first heard about Hulu’s adaptation, I will admit I was nervous. I had such high expectations about these characters and their story, that I didn’t know how it could possibly be depicted in only eight episodes. 

While I will always prefer the novel more, Hulu’s transformation of “Looking For Alaska” did portray everything that I hoped it would include. The cast did the characters justice. I don’t think Alaska’s personality entirely matched up to the book, which was unfortunate. I wish the show captured more of her edginess. 

However, the show made her mysterious enough that she draws the audience’s attention to her, which is something that was similar to the book. 

It is uncertain whether there will be a season 2 in the works. Green, who played a big role in producing season one, isn’t entirely in favor of the idea and considers another season unlikely. However, he still has thought about it. For now, “Looking For Alaska” is a finite series, which makes it that much more cherishable. 

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.


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