John Rogers (who is kicking much ass with his show, Leverage, currently in its 3rd season on TNT) brings up a good point while recommending the 2005 version of Bleak House:
I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth revisiting as the TV industry is in flux. This amazing adaptation of Dickins’ Bleak House is split into a one-hour pilot and then 14 more half-hour episodes. Half-hour single camera, highly serialized. This matches the structure and pace of the original text, which was, as our friends at Wikipedia let us know,”published in twenty monthly installments between March 1852 and September 1853.” This transforms what could easily be another leisurely historical into a pulp machine.
I love the format and think it’s perfect for adapting novels to live action. It’s patently ridiculous to try and squeeze a full length novel into 2 hours and change for a movie. A short story, yes. Novella, perhaps. But a novel id way too complex a beast to cage up in so tight a space. That’s where the monsters that make up Adaptation Decay come from.