Looking for Alaska
GenreTeen drama
Created byJosh Schwartz
Based onLooking for Alaska
by John Green
Starring
Music bySiddhartha Khosla
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Samson Mücke
  • Mark Rowen
  • Kirk A. Moore
CinematographyRamsey Nickell
Editors
  • Matt Ramsey
  • Shoshanah Tanzer
  • Todd Gerlinger
  • Hillary P. Wills
Running time48–57 minutes
Production companies
DistributorViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks
Budget$57.1 million[1]
Release
Original network
Original releaseOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
External links
Website

Looking for Alaska is an American teen drama streaming television miniseries created by Josh Schwartz. It is based on the 2005 novel of the same name by John Green. After a film adaptation was repeatedly delayed at Paramount Pictures, Hulu finalized a deal and ordered an eight-episode limited series.[2] The series premiered on Hulu on October 18, 2019.[3] The mini-series received critical acclaim from critics and fans of the book with praises going toward its writing, acting and faithfulness to the original source material.

Cast

Cast and author (left to right): Kristine Froseth, Charlie Plummer, Jay Lee, Denny Love, and John Green, on Vlogbrothers in 2019
Cast and author (left to right): Kristine Froseth, Charlie Plummer, Jay Lee, Denny Love, and John Green, on Vlogbrothers in 2019

Main

Recurring

Guest

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Famous Last Words"Sarah Adina SmithJosh SchwartzOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
In 2005, Miles Halter moves from Florida to Alabama to attend Culver Creek Academy, intending to seek his "Great Perhaps". He meets his roommate Chip "The Colonel" Martin, and is introduced to his new classmates, including Takumi and Alaska. The Colonel warns Miles about the "Weekday Warriors", a group of wealthy students at the academy, and Mr. "The Eagle" Starnes, the school's stern headmaster. Alaska's roommate Marya and her boyfriend Paul, a Weekday Warriors member, are both expelled after The Eagle finds them hooking up. Miles, obsessed with people's last words, makes a deal with Alaska that if he finds the answer to the question, "How do I get out of this Labyrinth?" she will get him laid. Refusing to take sides in the rivalry between the Warriors and The Colonel, Miles gets his limbs bound in plastic wrap, and is thrown into the lake during the night.
2"Tell Them I Said Something..."Rachel Lee GoldenbergJosh Schwartz & Warren Hsu LeonardOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
The Colonel is invited to a country club ball by his girlfriend Sara. Miles, The Colonel, Takumi and Alaska agree to strike back against the Weekend Warriors, leading to a series of pranks played against both sides. As payback for a hair-dye prank, the Weekend Warriors destroy The Colonel's new suit. Alaska helps sew together another one and secretly infiltrates the ball with Takumi and Miles. The Eagle discovers Miles' involvement in the pranks and Miles chooses to face a hearing and risk expulsion to avoid ratting out his friends. Alaska agrees to a truce with the Weekend Warriors. At the hearing, the student jury gives Miles a light punishment thanks to a series of favors The Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska agreed to do for the jury members, including getting their classmate Lara a date with Miles.
3"I've Never Felt Better..."Brett HaleyStephanie Savage & Ashley WigfieldOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
Alaska starts planning a group date so that Miles will finally go out with Lara. Takumi learns Paul and Marya will be visiting Culver Creek at an upcoming basketball game. Alaska's boyfriend Jake comes by for the date night. The date goes south when Miles is concussed and Marya accuses Alaska of being the rat. Sara becomes appalled by The Colonel taking Alaska's side, and breaks up with him. Takumi tells The Colonel that he'd seen Alaska leaving to The Eagle's house the day Paul and Marya were expelled. Alaska escapes Culver Creek with Jake but later leaves him, believing she isn't good enough. Returning to the school, Alaska is taken to The Eagle's house for leaving campus without permission, where she pleads with him to let her stay at Culver Creek.
4"The Nourishment Is Palatable"Ami Canaan MannJosh Schwartz & Kirk A. MooreOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
With Takumi and The Colonel avoiding her, Alaska asks Miles to stay with her at Culver Creek over Thanksgiving. By chance, Miles talks to Jake over the phone, discovering Alaska has broken off contact with him. The two loot the student dorms for alcohol and porn. After being asked about it by Miles, Alaska calls Jake and officially breaks up with him. After finding out the two are alone at school, The Colonel's mother Dolores invites them to their home for Thanksgiving. The group initially has a good time, but Miles' desire to sleep with Alaska and The Colonel's refusal to reconnect leaves Alaska more isolated than ever.
5"I'll Show You That It Won't Shoot"Clea DuVallLeila Gerstein & Kendall RogersOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
The Colonel is bothered by seeing that Sara is now dating Longwell. Miles tries to convince Lara to go to the school dance with him. During the night, the Weekend Warriors flood Alaska's dorm, destroying a large section of her Life's Library. Alaska, Takumi, and The Colonel reconcile and formulate a plan to sabotage the Warriors' college applications while everyone is at the dance. Miles is asked to be lookout, which nearly ruins his date with Lara. The Eagle nearly catches them, but Takumi and Miles set off fireworks to draw him away. After successfully pulling off the stunt, Alaska reveals how her mother died and admits to Miles that it's the reason why she's so unwilling to go home.
6"We Are All Going"Megan GriffithsWarren Hsu Leonard & Ashley WigfieldOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
In a flashback, we see a young Alaska with her mother at the zoo where she teaches her that mommas are always needed. Miles and Lara move forward quickly with their relationship. Meanwhile, the Colonel must face the consequences of the group's pranks as the Warriors' parents threaten legal action against Culver Creek for the fraudulent applications. Lara and Miles fight over Miles' loyalty to his friends. Miles and Alaska stay with the Colonel during his last night at Culver Creek. While the Colonel sleeps off a drunken stupor, Miles and Alaska begin a game of truth-or-dare, culminating in Alaska confessing she had feelings for Miles and an intimate moment between the two. Both fall asleep, with Alaska saying "To be continued." Later in the night, a crying and still-drunk Alaska wakes both Miles and The Colonel, asking them to distract The Eagle so she can drive off campus. The boys comply and the episode ends with Alaska driving off into the dark.
7"Now Comes the Mystery"Rashaad Ernesto GreenJosh Schwartz & Stephanie SavageOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)
The Eagle calls an assembly, notifying the school that Alaska Young left campus the previous night and died in a terrible accident. The accident is attributed to her intoxication. The characters try to piece together why Alaska died. During her funeral, the gang figures out that Alaska's ex-boyfriend Jake called her the night she died. They conclude that, during the call, she remembered their anniversary and, guilty over breaking up and making out with Miles, was driving to Jake to apologize when she got into the accident. This conclusion is brought into question as Miles and The Colonel see a line Alaska wrote in her copy of "The General and His Labyrinth", leading them to believe Alaska might have committed suicide.
8"It's Very Beautiful Over There"Josh SchwartzJosh SchwartzOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)

Miles, The Colonel, and Takumi continue investigating Alaska's death, now trying to determine whether or not she committed suicide. They realize that Alaska wasn't going to see Jake, but rather, to visit her mother's grave on the anniversary of her death. While they are still unable to answer the question of whether Alaska committed suicide, they are given a small measure of closure. Later, the friends plan and play a memorial prank for Alaska Young which amuses even the Eagle. The episode ends with Miles' narration on the uncertainty behind Alaska's death, on how everyone shared at least a little blame, and on how it is possible to forgive nonetheless.

A few minor subplots that were built in previous episodes are also resolved in the final episode. The Eagle is humanized as more than an authoritarian administrator. Takumi and Lara start a relationship, as do The Eagle and Madam O'Malley, the French teacher.

Production

Development

The film rights to the novel were acquired by Paramount Pictures in 2005 shortly before the novel was published. The screenplay was potentially going to be written and directed by Josh Schwartz (creator of The O.C.)[4] but, due to a lack of interest by Paramount, the production had been shelved indefinitely.[5] It had been reported that Paramount was putting the screenplay in review due to the success of the film adaptation of John Green's breakout novel, The Fault in Our Stars.[citation needed] On February 27, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, screenwriters for Temple Hill Entertainment who had worked on adaptations for The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, would be writing and executive producing for the film.[6] Paramount was actively casting the latest version of the screenplay, which was written by Sarah Polley.[7][8] Rebecca Thomas was set to direct.[9] Green also confirmed that Neustadter and Weber were still involved with the film.[10] In August 2015, it was announced filming would begin in the fall in Michigan.[11] It was later announced that filming would begin in early 2016 because of lack of casting decisions. Later in 2016, Green announced in a Vlogbrothers video and on social media that the film adaptation had once again been shelved indefinitely.[12] Green has voiced his frustration of the development process of the film adaptation over the years. He quoted, "It has always fallen apart for one reason or another."[13] In May 2018, Hulu finalized a deal with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, and proceeded to order an eight-episode limited series based on the book. Schwartz served as executive producer and showrunner, while Savage served as executive producer alongside John Green, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Marty Bowen, and Isaac Klausner.[2]

Casting

In October 2018, Charlie Plummer and Kristine Froseth were cast as the lead role of the series, portraying Miles "Pudge" Halter and Alaska Young, respectively.[14] In March 2019, Hulu announced six new cast members had joined the limited series; Denny Love, Jay Lee, Sofia Vassilieva, Landry Bender, Uriah Shelton, and Jordan Connor.[15] The following month, Timothy Simons and Ron Cephas Jones were announced to join the cast as The Eagle and Dr. Hyde, respectively.[16] In May 2019, it was reported that Rachel Matthews and Henry Zaga had been cast in recurring roles.[17]

Distribution

In April 2020, Looking For Alaska was released in Canada on CBC Gem.[18]

Reception

Looking For Alaska has received critical acclaim from critics and readers of the book. With praise going towards its writing, performances (particularly that of Plummer, Froseth and Love), visuals, its soundtrack (with critics favorably comparing it to Schwartz's other series The O.C.), directing, and improvements upon its sources material. Critics also called the series Schwartz's finest series to date. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries holds an approval rating of 92% based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 8.60/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Bittersweet and beautifully performed, Looking for Alaska is the rare adaptation that deviates from its source material only to find something even better."[19] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[20]

References

  1. ^ "Initial Certification Search" (Type "Looking for Alaska" in the search box). Fastlane NextGen. Archived from the original on June 15, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Petski, Denise (May 9, 2018). "Hulu Ordering 'Looking For Alaska' Limited Series From Josh Schwartz Based On John Green's Novel From Paramount TV". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (June 1, 2019). "Looking for Alaska Series Adaptation Set for October Launch on Hulu". TVLine. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "Interview with Josh Schwartz". Summer 2007. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  5. ^ "John Green New York Times Bestselling Author - Movie Questions". Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  6. ^ "Fault in Our Stars Writers, Producers Reuniting for Next John Green Adaptation (Exclusive)". February 27, 2015. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  7. ^ "Sarah Polley will adapt and direct John Green's Looking for Alaska". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "Breakdown Express". talentrep.breakdownexpress.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  9. ^ "Rebecca Thomas to direct adaptation of John Green's Looking for Alaska". Entertainment Weekly. June 24, 2015. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  10. ^ vlogbrothers (June 30, 2015), "Some News", Youtube, retrieved January 22, 2016
  11. ^ Christine (August 8, 2015). "John Green's Looking for Alaska will film in Michigan this fall". On Location Vacations. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  12. ^ John Green Looking for Alaska Movie Doomed
  13. ^ vlogbrothers (January 19, 2016), The Looking for Alaska Movie, Davos, and Hufflepuff Shade: It's Question Tuesday, retrieved November 10, 2017
  14. ^ Petski, Denise (October 30, 2018). "'Looking For Alaska': Kristine Froseth & Charlie Plummer Set As Leads In Hulu Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (March 21, 2019). "'Looking For Alaska': Hulu Limited Series Adds Six To Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  16. ^ Petski, Denise (April 5, 2019). "'Looking For Alaska': Timothy Simons & Ron Cephas Jones Join Hulu Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  17. ^ Petski, Denise (May 8, 2019). "'Looking For Alaska': Rachel Matthews & Henry Zaga To Recur In Hulu Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  18. ^ https://www.cbc.ca/television/what-s-new-on-cbc-gem-in-april-2020-1.5515491
  19. ^ "Looking for Alaska: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  20. ^ "Looking for Alaska: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved October 18, 2019.