Delirium

based on the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver
directed by Rodrigo García;
script by  Karyn Usher;
starring Emma Roberts (Lena), Daren Kagasoff (Alex) and Gregg Sulkin (Julian)

the book | IMDb

Set in a world where love is deemed illegal and can be eradicated with a special procedure. With 95 days to go until her scheduled treatment, Lena Holoway does the unthinkable, she falls in love.

*This is, I think, a spoiler-free reaction-review for the Delirium pilot and book.

THE BOOK

Delirium (Delirium, #1)

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Delirium. I’ve read the first two books in the trilogy, but neither really got me as invested in the story as I wanted to be.

Let’s put it this way: Delirium had a very lovely concept. What teen/adult wouldn’t want to read about love being a disease? I thought the idea was fresh and would be gobbled up by YA readers everywhere.

But the narration and writing were both so flat for me. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. And then the twist at the end broke my heart–of course I had to pick up the sequel, Pandemonium. Now, Pandemonium had an unnecessary love triangle that mad me want to rip my hair off my head.

I still haven’t picked up Requiem, since I’ve heard some not-so-great things about the ending. I’d prefer to just imagine the end for myself, thank you very much.

THE PILOT EPISODE

I really wish I could’ve filmed myself while I was watching the pilot, since I made all these snarky remarks that won’t be as fun to read about in this post. x_x But that’s okay! I don’t like seeing myself in videos, anyway.

If we’re being honest here, I was never a fan of Emma Roberts. I guess it didn’t surprise me that I found her narration to be quite boring. Of course, you could think differently about that if you’re a fan.

So, let’s talk about the pilot as a visual. I basically was laughing and rolling my eyes while watching this one. Angles were really bad–seriously. There were some unnecessary and slightly disturbing (not in a disgusting way–more of an annoying way) close-ups that made me cringe. Lighting was just wrong for some scenes as well. Basically, it looked a bit low-quality visually. How can you not laugh at this:

You didn’t? Okay, maybe I’m just really weird. Oh, I laughed at this angle as well. Her whole body’s not even moving and it’s kinda creepy:

The acting was pretty bad for me and I couldn’t get any substance out of it. Everyone was just kind of monotonous and emotionless. I was getting a Bella feel from Lena. Alex was physically attractive, but he had zero charisma. I wouldn’t mind a not-very-handsome lead, as long as he could give off the right amount of charm. Hana was kind of unemotional as she talked, but I did really like her voice. Oh, and here’s Julian’s confused face:

He kind of looks more constipated than confused, don’t you think?

Another thing I wasn’t expecting was to have THE ENTIRE FIRST BOOK in one episode. If this is a pilot, what would they have done to the rest of the episodes? Books 2 and three? Great, now they have 3 episodes. Then again, IMDB listed this as a “TV movie”…

I had a huge problem with the ending. Delirium’s ending was a powerful one, and this episode rushed it way too much. There was no emotion whatsoever coming from the actors included in the scene, and it was as if I didn’t give a crap about what happened to any of them anymore. Come to think of it, this entire pilot was rushed.

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THE PILOT

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Have you read Delirium or watched the pilot? Talk about it with me. We shall discuss!

About Aimee

Aimee loves books. And chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Reading books while eating chocolates! Yes, that would be absolutely lovely.

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30 thoughts on “Reactions: Delirium (Pilot)

  1. I’m currently rereading this book because I promised myself to finish all the series I have started. Well, I mean the series that are already completed and since I have Delirium 2 years ago, I need to reread it before I continue with Pandemonium and Requiem. As far as I remember, I didn’t like this book and until now, I’m still struggling to finish it.

    I have seen the trailer and I actually like Emma Roberts but I can’t blame them with the bad performance or emotionless acting since the book characters are, in fact, boring.

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  2. That poster alone is such a turn-off. Ugh. And the acting in the trailer was horrible. As much as I want to support such a great book and such a great author, it’s clear that the whole thing was an effort to milk to popularity in YA because the whole thing just looks terrible. I have to agree about the lighting, and if this was supposed to be a pilot, well, it certainly did not do just that by making a summary of the book instead.

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    1. The poster up there’s just a fan-made one, I think. :)

      Exactly. They could have just made it a single movie, so at least things wouldn’t have seemed as rushed as they were. They did a horrible job trying to cram a huge book into 40 minutes.

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  3. “He kind of looks more constipated than confused, don’t you think?” OHMGIAHD, LMAO! :D

    After reading Pandemonium, I never took the initiative to read Requiem. But I saw a lot of reactions on twitter, and a lot of them were disappointed of this pilot episode, I heard that they summed up the whole book in one episode? Is that true? I’d be irritated if that was. I’m gonna say that I’m not interested in watching this one, ‘cuz it will hurt me if they’d just destroy another book. Sad to say.

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  4. Yeah the pilot was terrible. I wanted to claw my eyes out because of how awkward the acting was! Especially that scene with the sheep stampede. Poorly executed.

    Although I’m hugely disappointed with the pilot, I can heave a huge sigh of relief because Fox didn’t pick this mess up.

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  5. I just watched the pilot on this post, haha, didn’t know they’d made it available on YouTube! But yeah, I mostly agree with everything you’ve said here. I’m not Emma Roberts’ biggest fan either, since I don’t think I’ve seen her in many of the popular movies, but I thought her acting was pretty okay. Not outstanding, definitely, but not that bad either. I didn’t like the actors they cast for Alex and Julian, though. I always pictured Alex as this cute and dorky guy, but here, he looks like a freaking bad boy. And I hate to sound mean, but he doesn’t look cute at all. >.> Most of my eye-rolls were directed at him, lol. Julian was SLIGHTLY better, but still not as good looking as I imagined. :/

    Ugh, I agree about the camera angles, too. They were awkward and made the actors’ and actresses’ faces look weird, but the cut-scenes were what really bugged me. Cut-scenes are supposed to be smooth, but nooo, the ones here were so sudden and out-of-place. They really made it hard to be absorbed in the story because everything was just jumping around awkwardly.

    This is such a disappointment because I actually read and loved both Delirium and Pandemonium! I liked Requiem too, but that ending was just way too open for my liking. So mad that the directors butchered the TV show like that, gosh. And I would’ve appreciated it if they’d at least stuck to the storyline instead of trying to cram everything into just the pilot alone. Sheesh!

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  6. I actually liked Delirium, Pandemonium was okay and I don’t think I’m reading Requiem anymore now that Buona read and hated it but I was really interested in seeing this on screen because for me, the premise of the series is pretty original. Too bad this pilot is so unbelievably BORING. And the lighting! Did they even use any lights at all? Half the time I feel like I was watching darkness because I just can’t see them. All in all, I agree this wasn’t a good adaptation of the book. No wonder it didn’t get picked up by the studios.

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  7. Hey Aimee! *waves like my arm’s disjoint* I don’t like Emma Roberts(and not just because she has Evan Peters for a boyfriend(I want him)) and Delirium either. Now carry on…

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  8. I didn’t know they still pushed this project. I thought it was axed and lo and behold I saw your review of the pilot episode. I’m surprised. Anyway, I did like Delirium and also liked Emma Roberts so maybe, just maybe I’ll check it out? But I’m not in the mood to watch it and it looks like it didn’t live up to some people’s standards. :(

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  9. I gave up at 15 minutes. I wanted to finish it another time, but I was soooooooo bored during those 15 minutes. And I don’t like the character that played Alex. I wish they could’ve gotten another Lena. Emma Roberts is better with teeny bopperish movies, methinks.

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  10. I wasn’t a huge fan of the book in the first place, so, to be honest, I wasn’t really all too keen on reading this in the first place. It’s a shame to know that the acting in this one was bad and that everything was so eyeroll-worthy. Nonetheless, thanks for taking one for the team and sharing this Aimee! <3

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  11. Wow, I knew this show was a thing however I didn’t know it already started oops. However I really have no interest in watching it now after reading this post. Personally I adored Delirium, found Pandemonium to be quite good and was meh about Requiem.

    Those gifs though OMFG. I actually burst out laughing with “heavy beat continues.” God, the show seems so melodramatic and the wooden acting seems to go along with this. I’m definitely not a fan of Emma Roberts and the guy who plays Alex looks nothing like how I pictured him. And WHAT!? They crammed like 300 pages of a book into one episode!? That’s crazy. It definitely would lead to things being rushed and important parts skipped over.

    Thanks for letting me know about this show through this review. I personally won’t be watching this, I don’t want my view of the books tarnished into something so unappealing.

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  12. What they put the entire first book into one episode? I actually really liked the first book in this series, so was quite excited when I heard this was going to be made into a show. I’ve not paid much attention to the casting so far, but still think that I will give this show a go. But I can totally understand how a lot of the scenes you weren’t able to take seriously! Thanks for sharing this post with us Aimee!

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  13. Honestly, considering how much I hated the book Delirium, I was not at all surprised with a lot of the criticism you made about the pilot (which was something I never, ever wanted in the first place). And is it weird I could almost kind of forgive the whole Lena = Bella thing, considering that she’s living in a society that is suppressing and trying to eliminate practically all emotions? So the whole monotone thing would be kind of expected? Or am I thinking of the wrong book/put way too much thought into this?

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  14. Yeah you pretty much echo all my thoughts. I ended up liing the first Deliruim book but hated the other sequels and was tempted to seoruisly throw the last book away because of that “NON”—ENDING. But i decided to give the pilot a chance because hey why not? BAD IDEA. I was not a fan. it lookedserouisly low budget and i think the actors had nothing to work with since the script was so weak so they never even got a chance to prove themselves in their roles. PLus the logic in th epilot didn’t make sense i was rolling my eyes the entire time and i just wanted to scream “WHY WOULD SOMEONE WRITE THIS TERRIBLE PILOT?’ *sigh*

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  15. Oooh thanks for posting the link to the whole pilot here, I’ll definitely watch it on the weekend. It’s a shame, these things usually take a while to develop into a good one as the actors get more confident in their characters and develop rapport. A shame they kind of shoved everything into one episode, definitely didn’t expect that. You had some really laughable gifs as well lol! Great article Aimee.

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  16. Baha! Count me out. Although I may just watch for the laughs now, I’m laughing so hard at the gifs and your comments because wow, spot on. It looks so awkward and that one girl just looks like a depressed penguin just standing there. And what the heck, putting the whole book in one episode. Gah. We need some good YA adaptions.

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  17. I couldn’t finish watching it. I got maybe 15 minutes in before I paused it, came back later and made it til about 20 minutes before giving up entirely. I totally agree, I am not an Emma Roberts fan at all. And the guy who played Alex.. ugh. Did you see him in “Secret Life of the American Teenager”? The. Worst. And apparently, he didn’t exactly make a ton of progress since then. I kind of thought the casting in general was awful. I did like Delirium, quite a bit really, but this was just unwatchable! LOVE the gifs. Gifs make all things better, even this train wreck ;)

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  18. Grr… Meh. I’m sorry that you didn’t really enjoy the episode. I probably won’t watch it because I really don’t want to see Delirium into a show or movie. It’s perfect the way it is and the actors chosen just suck. Ew, the guy who plays Alex? EWWWW. All I see in him is “The Secret Life of an American Teenager.” I loved Delirium so much but seeing it into a show just scares me.

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  19. I have to agree. This pilot was way too rushed. The entire book was just squeezed into one episode! I would’ve liked to see them slow down. Overall, I didn’t mind the pilot that much because I doubt there will ever be more episodes, but I can definitely see why it wasn’t picked up.

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  20. I wish I had seen this review before I saw the pilot. It’s funny because I reviewed the pilot on my blog, too. I really thought I was being played. This didn’t resemble the book at all, and Alex made me want to barf. When they kissed? I looked away, I almost thew my laptop on the floor. I’m so pissed because I feel like I wasted my time.

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  21. I watched half of this, got bored, watched YouTube, then I just never got back to it. Then I realised how crap it was and made a post on my blog raging at it. Bad actors, bad script, bad camera work. Ugh, thank god it wasn’t picked up.

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