Review: Looking for Alaska finds a home on Hulu

Ava Lemos, Senior Staff Reporter

When I finished John Green’s debut novel “Looking for Alaska” in my lonely middle school years, my first thought was that it had to be adapted for the screen. The novel about teenagers simply lost and looking for meaning resonated deeply with me, and I wanted others to feel seen in the same way that the book had made me feel seen.

After 13 years of figuring out how to make this dream a reality, the novel finally found its home as an eight-part limited series on Hulu. While the book had originally been criticized for having too limited a point of view, the series breathes a new life into the novel by exploring the characters beyond the perspective of the main character, Miles “Pudge” Halter. 

While still in the process of developing the series, Green expressed excitement on a Reddit AMA forum about writers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, writing “they’re going to tell the story while also letting you see more of life at Culver Creek and more of Alaska from her own perspective instead of just Pudge’s deeply flawed one.”

Courtesy of Alfonso Bresciani, Hulu

Green’s beautifully crafted Culver Creek boarding school world remains intact in the series, fried bufridos and all. The show captures the confusion and chaos of adolescence without trying too hard to be relatable. From the pranks between Pudge’s group and the “weekend warriors” — the privileged, preppy and entitled students at Culver Creek — to the intimate moments between Pudge and Alaska, the series honors the plot of the novel without sticking so tightly to the book that it’s redundant.

Not to mention, the performances of the incredibly talented cast were quite spot on. Charlie Plummer’s Pudge has the same idealism and reflectiveness that fans of the book yearned to see. Kristine Forseth brought a nuanced take to Alaska Young, a multidimensional and deeply flawed character that still tugs the audience’s heartstrings every time she’s on screen. The show adds scenes with Alaska beyond the context of Culver Creek that allow her to really be seen as the messy, chaotic character she is. 

There were also incredible breakout performances by Denzel Love as Pudge’s roommate, The Colonel, and Jay Lee as Takumi. Both actors delivered natural, powerful performances in their major supporting roles.

As a whole, the “Looking for Alaska” limited series both paid tribute to Green’s original work while also enhancing it. The show makes audiences laugh, cry and feel sentimental about their teenage years and their own personal search for meaning.

“Looking for Alaska” is now streaming on Hulu.

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