My Thoughts on the Delirium Pilot

Title: Delirium

Starring: Emma Roberts | Daren Kagasoff | Gregg Sulkin

Summary: 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.

Marianne’s Thoughts:

For those of you who didn’t know, best-selling novel Delirium was optioned for film by FOX. I was so excited because I absolutely LOVED the book. After that, it was optioned for TV, and then FOX decided not to do the series after all. Then, Lauren Oliver announces that Hulu has decided to stream the pilot that was filmed for a limited time.

The Delirium Pilot has been out for a while; you can watch it on Hulu, or YouTube if you’re an international viewer. I had not been able to see it because I was on a trip with my family and the internet was shoddy. Thank goodness I didn’t see it while on vacation! It would’ve probably ruined my vacation! Let’s talk about how this went -horribly- wrong:

The Cast:


The cast was one of the first things that put me off. I don’t usually mind if they don’t look exactly like the characters for the book, but here they didn’t lookact, or basically embody the characters at all! They didn’t have any chemistry whatsoever, nor did they ever made me feel anything but roll my eyes during the whole thing.

I’d seen Daren Kagasoff act in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and I thought he was pretty good. Here, acting as Alex, he seemed lifeless. Honestly I even thought he was a little bit creepy in the pilot. Gregg Sulkin was a cutie, and yet not convincing enough to be Julian in my opinion. Emma Roberts… well someone else could’ve definitely been Lena.

The Setting

That’s your setting… big, scary, white, laboratory. We only see it for about 20 seconds, but yes, it is scary and threatening.

I don’t know if the setting was supposed to be explained better off in the second episode (which is pretty doubtful), but if I hadn’t read the book I’m pretty sure I would have literally no idea what was going on. All we’re told is that love is a disease and that there’s a cure. I didn’t feel fear for the society at any point, nor did I really feel threatened by the political figures. There was a real big lack of setting development that added to the overal failure of this pilot.

The Romance

The romance made me cringe so hard. While in the book Alex & Lena’s chemistry is noticeable, in the pilot it felt basically non existant. It felt so FORCED! Alex was a stalker. Lena was Bella. That’s what it felt like. When they kissed, I actually had to look away because I was cringing so hard by that point. It was ridiculous.

The Plot

All you need to know about the plot is this: the entirety of the first novel is in this pilot. It is 43 minutes of the first book in a 3 book series.

Everything was rushed, there was no time for character development, or romance build-up, or even something discernible of a “real threat” from the cure. I can see why FOX rejected this pilot. It was poorly done.

The Verdict


21 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the Delirium Pilot

  1. Oh Marianne, I am so sad to hear that they ruined the Delirium pilot. It sounds terrible plus the girl who does Lena was not who I pictured. (her lips kind of look weird…) and ugh, the lack of chemistry and stuff between them sounds weird. And why did they put the whole pilot into 1? Clearly they weren’t expecting much 😛


  2. COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU. Oh my god. I just watched this last night and it was sooooo bad. I wish they’d done a better job with it, because I actually think it could’ve been really cool as a movie or TV show if they’d had better actors and there’d been more chemistry and better writing….okay, basically if everything had been different lol.


  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like Hannah had blonde hair in the books. And was super tall and very slender. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the actress that played her was fat or anything, but I don’t know. She just didn’t look like Hannah to me. The actress who played Lena’s look was okay, but she was sooooo bad. Like cringe-worthy bad. And I agree with you, I liked Daren in Secret Life, but there was no chemistry between the two actors and it was just all out terrible. It felt so rushed. I don’t really understand. Why would they put the whole first book in the pilot episode? If it had gotten picked up, wouldn’t it have been spread out over the whole first season? I almost turned it off like 5 times, but I forced myself to finish and then when it was over I was all, I can’t believe I just wasted 43 minutes of my life on that… No wonder it didn’t get picked up. It was terrible.


    1. The actress who played Hannah for a second felt like she was really supposed to be Lena but accidentally cast as Hannah. Hannah IS supposed to be blonde. And her personality was nothing like in the book. I feel like they filmed a couple of episodes but decided to mush them all together for the pilot or something. I agree. I wish I had those minutes back.


  4. Of course I was oblivious to all of these happenings. I loved Delirium so it would have been nice if they cast actual believable characters. Your description of the romance made me laugh! Wow, I’m glad Delirium wasn’t picked up. Makes me want to read the book and continue the series though. Thanks for warning me. I might watch the episode just to see.


  5. Oh, I could not agree with you more. It was bad. So, so bad. I didn’t make it through the 43 minutes. I made it about 15, then paused it, came back again later to try one more time, made it 5 more minutes and quit for good. I totally agree that Daren/Alex was SO creepy and off putting, and I simply am not a fan of Emma Roberts at all, so as Lena, she was a huge letdown. And why did everyone in the cast kind of look alike? That was weird too.


  6. Marianne – You’re not alone! I’ve heard so many bloggers complaining about the chemistry and how it didn’t follow the book at all. This was kind of a “meh” read for me in the first place, so I think I’m going to take your advice and just skip it! Thanks for sharing, and brilliant recap! Sorry this wasn’t for you! 😦


  7. We’ve already talked about this on Twitter but I totally agree with everything you said. The Pilot was just incredibly boring and I’m very disappointed with the actress that played Hannah, she was so bland with 0 personality. And don’t even get me started on Adam and Julian. Basically, everybody has 0 chemistry with each other. You are right there, no wonder it didn’t get picked up it was beyond bad.
    and LOL on your 0.8 rating!


  8. Here’s another perfect example of why certain books should NOT be opted for a film or TV series if the executives don’t know what they’re doing. Ugh. I haven’t read this series so I can’t really comment on the cast and whatnot BUT the author NEEDS to have strong opinions before signing all the rights away. Look what happened to Twilight and Vampire Academy. UGH…horrid casting for both films. Great post Marianne! 😉


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