Another of John Green‘s beloved novels is coming to a screen near you, but this time, the story will unfold over eight bingeable episodes on Hulu, so you can cry in the safety of your own home instead of in a theater in front of dozens of strangers.
Hulu‘s take on Looking for Alaska isn’t the first attempt to adapt the novel, but it is the first one to succeed. It also happens to boast a hands-on relationship with the author, which gives us faith the streaming service will do Alaska (Kristine Froseth) and her story justice. To help you prepare for what’s sure to be another teen tear-jerker, here’s everything we know so far about the Looking for Alaska TV series.
It’s coming this fall. After eons of waiting, we finally have a premiere date for this highly anticipated series. Mark your calendars because Looking for Alaska premieres Oct. 18 on Hulu.
The entire season drops at once. Unlike some of Hulu’s other original programming, Looking for Alaska will release in binge format, meaning the entire season will be available to stream starting on Oct. 18.
Its stars actually look like kids. The casting announcements of Charlie Plummer as Pudge, Kristine Froseth as Alaska, Denny Love as the Colonel, and Jay Lee as Takumi assuaged a lot of fears fans had about just who would be playing these kids and how age-appropriate the casting would be.
There won’t be a Season 2 (probably). Looking for Alaska showrunner Josh Schwartz was very firm that this will be a limited series when he was questioned by reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on July 26, 2019. That being said, he didn’t outright say there was zero chance of continuing on, so you should check back in after awards season to see whether Hulu honors its plans for a limited series.
The series is staying faithful to the novel. Most TV adaptations of novels tend to be hit-or-miss when it comes to hewing close to the source material, but Josh Schwartz says that won’t be the case with Looking for Alaska. “We’ve really tried to create something that’s faithful to the material but expands on it,” said Schwartz.
In fact, it sounds like John Green has been heavily involved throughout the entire process. “He’s been amazing all the way,” Schwartz told a small group of reporters at the TCA summer press tour. “He responds after cuts, sends notes on scripts, and has come to set multiple times.”
It’s set in 2005. Rather than depicting modern-day teens, Looking for Alaska will take place in 2005, which was when the novel was published. “2005 was like two years before the smartphone was invented, and so these characters have to go talk to each other,” Schwartz said at the TCA summer press tour. “It’s hard to imagine some of the monologues that Alaska would deliver via text.”
The music will take you back. Keeping in the vein of its 2005 setting, Schwartz confirmed that all the music you’ll hear in the series will be from that year, so expect a lot of Death Cab for Cutie. Shwartz also revealed that the series recruited current artists to cover songs from that era, including “Orange Sky” and “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark.”
Kristine Froseth has a long relationship with the project. Though she’s better known for Netflix’s The Society and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, it turns out that Froseth’s first audition was for the failed film adaptation of Looking for Alaska a few years back. She told reporters at the TCA press tour that she got all the way through to the chemistry reads for the film, which is how it all started for her. “I’ve waited a very long time for this!” Froseth said.
The series will subvert the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope. One of the biggest complaints fans have about the novel is the way the main female character is depicted through a male lens as an unattainable embodiment of female perfection rather than an actual human being, and Schwartz says that’s something they were very aware of and very intent on subverting while remaining true to the novel.
“The book is really about, as John [Green] talks about, the catastrophically limited male gaze, and we really wanted to make sure […] that Alaska exists in her own right,” Schwartz said at the TCA press tour. “You get to see scenes with her that you were not able to see in the book that you were not given insight into her point of view in the book. The audience will have much more understanding of her character. She won’t exist nearly as much as a mystery, and I think that will go a long way to remedying that.”
We won’t solve Alaska’s mystery. The novel’s protagonist spend a major portion of the story trying to figure out what exactly happened to Alaska, but, like the novel, the show won’t offer clear-cut answers. “We will never know what happened that night,” Josh Schwartz said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “[That’s] something the characters have to grapple with, and the audience as well.”
Looking for Alaska premieres Friday, Oct. 18 on Hulu.