It has been hard to escape mention of Normal People, the heady, romantic TV series that’s captured the attention of millions of viewers around the world. Adapted from Sally Rooney’s Man Booker Prize-longlisted novel of the same name, the show follows the passionate on-off love story of Irish teenagers Connell and Marianne – and it’s certainly made its mark, breaking records on BBC iPlayer in Britain and Ireland and trending for weeks on Stan* in Australia.
In this week’s episode of The Televisionaries podcast, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age‘s top TV critics weigh up the pros and cons of the show and discuss the often tricky territory of adapting beloved books for screens.
Host Louise Rugendyke says Normal People had her “hook, line and sinker” but culture editor-at-large Michael Idato and Spectrum deputy editor Kylie Northover were not as enamoured.
“I have to say, I did sit there thinking, ‘Have I wandering into Heartbreak High accidentally’? It didn’t win me over,” Idato says, theorising that the show “disguises itself” as something more profound by peppering the dialogue with long periods of heavy silence.