Why I'm glad the Delirium pilot didn't get picked up

15 December 2014

Delirium is set in a futuristic world, where love is classified as a disease. Teenagers - at the tender age of 18 - are set to receive the cute that will forever rid them of love. From there, they will live out their lives planned by the government in so-called-contentment, away from the dangers of love and impulse. Things seem to be going according to plan for young Lena - who can not wait to get the Cure -, until she falls in love weeks before her appending due date. 

When Fox announced that it would be adapting Delirium to television, I was slightly sceptical, nervous but excited.
I loved Delirium. The story was incredibly well written and executed, and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. I hoped that the producers would do it justice! The feeling of apprehension I had surrounding the adaptation continued on as the casting for the series was announced. But I kept hope. As long as the core principles of the story were kept, I didn't mind. In the end all that anticipation was left to waste, as the pilot was not picked up. As a fan of the series, I would have at least loved an opportunity to see the final cut! But now, after finally viewing the unaired pilot, it is so clear to see why this series did not get picked up after all. Despite the amount of potential within the pilot, there were many pitfalls that brought its downfall, including ... 

Not establishing the world of Deliria 
By squishing together pieces of the entire first book into one episode, the producers weren't able to capture the society living without love. It was an overload of information in one setting! Personally, I feel they should have introduced the pilot with a glimpse into Lena's childhood. Seeing the comparison between how her father raised her (under the care of love), and by her cured aunt and sister in her teen years, would have established the forbidden nature of love. Then the audience would have been able to understand where Lena's resentment of love truly came from, and truly experience the struggle of Lena's actions - the rebellion, her love for Alex - throughout the story.

As the episodes passed, the producers could also show flashbacks of her childhood with her father - and the confusion she faces in her resolve with her romance with Alex. It would have made the story so much more impacting, and less disorientating - in the wrong possible way.

The Character of Lena

There is a certain essence of Lena that I feel was not captured in pilot. I'm not sure if it was entirely Emma Roberts or the script exactly. Lena is the law abiding, stubborn and reserved protagonist who is in favour of the system at the beginning of the story. Along the way - after much deliberation and time - she begins to see the flaws of a world without love. From the pilot, that process was entirely rushed as well. On screen Lena seems to be literally 'go with the crowd' - whoever holds the strongest voice. She doesn't even seem to really question Alex or shy away from her him, which ruins the essence of her character. Where was that stubborn support for the cure? How on earth did she break out of 18 years of conditioning in a matter of days? Really? Come on, Fox!

The Character of Alex 

Whitewashing Alex was something I did not agree with when I heard the casting choice. And after seeing the pilot, it wasn't even necessary. As much as it pains me to say it, Daren Kagasoff was did not even embody an inch of Alex's character.
I didn't feel that persona - that cheeky, mischievous, caring personality. It was pained, stricken - with no hint of carefree nature that would separate him from those who received the cure. He was suppose to stand out from everyone else in Lena's world, - to be a a bright sun in a mundane grey town. But I didn't feel an inch of that. Everything that drew me to Alex in the novels was entirely missing on screen.

Rushing the relationship
The relationship between Alex and Lena was one that began slowly and with much reluctance on Lena's part. In this adaptation, it was entirely rushed. Where was the hesitation from Lena, who'd grown up in a would where love was forbidden, outlawed and not even spoken of? How did her feelings towards love rapidly change in the space of 45 minutes?
It felt like she just magically changed her opinions overnight for a guy. Forgive me, but I do believe from what I read in the first book it was a little bit of a rather timed progressional period. No audience member who wouldn't have read the book would have picked up on that. Which again comes down to the squeezing the entire first novel into one episode. It was ridiculous!

Plus, there was no real passionate chemistry between Alex and Lena. I didn't have time to even care about them as a couple together, when I was hurled action from left, right and centre! 
* * *

Despite all its flaws, there were fragments and moments that held so much potential that could explore things beyond the meaning of the book and take it further. But with all these factors considered, the producers doomed this pilot since it's conception. Maybe Delirium could have improved with time, but to start on the wrong foot ... Ahhh. 
The producers failed to capture the essential of the story - its core principles. And therefore by default - failed Delirium. I can firmly say they did not do do the story justice. 

What did you think of the Delirium pilot? Live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments below - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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