“The Spiderwick Chronicles”/An Adaption that Grew Up with It’s Readers

“The Spiderwick Chronicles”/An Adaption that Grew Up with It’s Readers

©Courtesy of Roku Television

So “The Spiderwick Chronicles” is based on the children’s book series by the same name by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (also executive producers in this series). The first book came out in 2003 and then left for 4 subsequent books. These books led to a film adaptation in 2008, again by the same name.

The story follows the Grace family as they move to their families’ estate in Henson, Michigan from New York. The main characters being the 3 children, two twin brothers Jared and Simon, their elder sister Mallory, and mother Helen. In this home they find out all the stories they grew up hearing about fairies, goblins, and their invisible world is all true.

Now for me I never read the book series, as I hadn’t heard of it till I saw the movie as a child. I personally really enjoyed the movie as a kid. So coming back to it now as an adult with a new adaption, I was very skeptical. Especially because this is a new thing nowadays, recreating old stories for new audiences.

Though I was thoroughly surprised with “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” I overall enjoyed it. This series was darker than the 2008 movie. The series is a lot more adult-like than that movie was, based on my memory. I like that because it kind of grew up with the people who read the book and then watch the movie.

The Spiderwick Chronicles 1

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With the series being darker, parents I would be leery when having your kids watching as it can be graphic at points. I would say at least 10 years old, but other than the graphic points and the Grace family’s family rule number one being “don’t be a d-bag,” there’s not too much that would constitute this being only for an older audience. Though, it definitely grew up with those who were children late 90s-2000s.

This series actually was supposed to be on Disney+ but after cost-cutting and strategy shift, was later dropped and picked up by the Roku Channel, according to Deadline. I wonder what would be different had Disney kept the project for Disney+, even though Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television had wrapped production on it at the time.

Now when it comes to the casting of “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” I think the casting is great. The actors work well together and the cast is quite large compared to the movie, as an example. This series doesn’t just focus on the Grace family and just what happens at Spiderwick. It has a variety of interesting characters and actors to portray these characters. My favorite non-Grace family character is Valentina, played by Aria Mia Loberti.

Valentina is a well known fencing instructor who is also visually impaired. Which on its own is a very interesting character and a great way to show representation to those with disabilities. Loberti is also visually impaired and made her acting debut in Netflix’s “All the Light We Cannot See.” Through her performance you would not have thought she has only done two roles prior to this one. She brings an eerie quality to the character, which will make more sense as you watch the show.

The Spiderwick Chronicles 2

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Since this show deals with fantasy, you know what they used to create it CGI. The CGI though was not too in your face which was nice. We all have seen CGI that they try to make so realistic that it looks fake. “The Spiderwick Chronicles” was not this case in my opinion. The CGI blended with the real set and cast very well, which I liked.

Speaking of the set, Spiderwick had to be my favorite location out of everything. Yeah, the bulk of the story was in there so it had to be well done, but regardless it was designed beautifully. It brought mystical/fairytale and Victorian style architecture into one building. As someone who grew up in a Victorian home, this is what I wish for my house to become! The only downside to Spiderwick was that it had dim lighting at points which made it a little harder to see, but it played into the dark tone of the series I had remarked earlier.

With downsides, I don’t have too many besides the dim lighting at points made it hard to see and it could be a little more streamlined. With all the characters besides the main ones, there was a lot of outside plot stuff that added to the story but just made it a little hard to keep track of, at least for me. It did help with adding more depth to each character, more than what a typical season one would do, so I can see why it was added.

Speaking of a second season, I hope they made season two of “The Spiderwick Chronicles” as they left it off with a great set up for a second season! I also want to know what happens, so producers hear my plea and make a season two. Overall, “The Spiderwick Chronicles” brings the children’s book series from the 2000s into new light that grew up with its readers

The Spiderwick Chronicles 3

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“The Spiderwick Chronicles” premiered all episodes on April 19th, 2024 on the Roku Channel.

Grade: A-

Check out more of Serena’s articles. 

Here’s the trailer of the series. 

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