My husband and I are both HUGE Ken Follett fans. The Pillars of the Earth is my husband's favorite Follett book, and my favorite is World Without End. So, when we heard that Showtime was releasing The Pillars of the Earth in a mini-series, we knew we had to see it immediately.
The mini-series is eight episodes, each about an hour long. The writers and producers did a great job bringing the book to life, although there was a lot more sex in the TV version than in the book. I guess the producers felt like the book needed some spicing up. I can do without all of that, but we were able to look past it and enjoy the rest of the show.
The casting was perfect, with the exception of Tom Builder. I wanted him to be bigger, taller and broader. I always pictured him as a really big guy while reading the book. Alfred could have been a little less petulant, but overall the actor playing Alfred did a good job. One thing that I had some trouble with was the character playing Prior Phillip (Matthew Macfadyen). He plays Mr. Darcy in my favorite adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I had a hard time accepting him as Prior Phillip because he will always be Mr. Darcy to me.
The plot was slightly modified from the book, but I expected this. The book is nearly 1000 pages long and there's no way the writers could have stayed 100% true to the plot without making the mini-series at least 20 hours long.
If you have not read the book or watched the series, I highly recommend either of them. The mini-series will ruin the book for you, so I'd recommend reading the book first, if you can stomach the hefty size. If you don't have the time, the mini-series is a must-see.
Click here to watch a trailer for the mini-series.
Overall, I'd give the mini-series five stars. It was an excellent adaptation of the book!