In Hulu’s original mini-series “Looking For Alaska,” main character Miles, nicknamed Pudge despite his skinny nature, is on a search for his Great Perhaps.
In the television show, Miles is bored of his life as he lacks a solid friend group in suburban Florida. Obsessed with reading his father’s collection of biographies, his talent is memorizing the last words of famous individuals. He was inspired by Francois Rabelais, a French poet’s last words: “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Miles does not want to wait until he is dead to find his Great Perhaps, so he decides to go to Culver Creek, a boarding school that his father attended as a teenager. There, he is taken in by a friend group that loves to pull pranks and includes a girl named Alaska, for whom Miles quickly develops an infatuation.
Watching “Looking For Alaska” is nostalgic for the college student. Based on John Green’s novel by the same name, the film takes place in Alabama during the year 2005. The production really highlights the plot’s early 2000’s nature, as cell phones are not very common to have, Alaska listens to music on the now discontinued iPod Classic and Miles prints out directions from Mapquest in order for his family to drive him to the boarding school instead of relying on a GPS.
It is good that the television show takes place in the same time period in which the book was published, because many of the themes of the story are not as prevalent in today’s society. For example, most of the main characters smoke cigarettes and wear baggy clothes. Additionally, it is easy for Miles to avoid staying in contact with his parents since he has to use a payphone to call them, and they cannot use cell phone tracking software to discover his whereabouts.
The series follows the original storyline of the novel closely, changing few scenes and elements of the story in order to make it more dramatic and appealing for television. For example, in the novel when Miles’ parents throw him a going away party, two people from his school show up. In the movie, it is only his mother and father that attend. Additionally, one of the main characters, The Colonel, is African-American in the television show, and in the novel he is white.
Overall, the production value for “Looking For Alaska” is high. With eight 45-minute episodes, it is a fulfilling series. John Green is a producer of the show, so that explains why the series aligns itself so closely to the original story. Also, it is a fan favorite with a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Since “Looking For Alaska” is a mini-series, there likely will not be a second season. If you like the style of the storyline, you can watch “The Fault In Our Stars” and “Paper Towns” which are two movie adaptations of other novels written by John Green. Additionally, Green’s most recent novel is entitled “Turtles All The Way Down” and is available through the USMAI catalog.