Happy: How the Graphic Novel Was Different from the Live-Action Series

Happy Comic Show feature

The iconic comics writer Grant Morrison is involved with mind-bending encounters with other dimensional forces, the secrets of the multiverse or  heartfelt outpourings of affection for superheroes. However, none of those usual hallmarks are in Happy! Created with Darick Robertson, Happy! follows washed-up detective-turned-hitman Nick Sax as he attempts to rescue his kidnapped daughter with the help of her imaginary friend, a winged blue unicorn named Happy.

While its not the most representative work from Morrison's oeuvre, it was one of the first to receive a live-action adaptation. While the series, which ran for two season on SyFy and starred Christopher Meloni and Patton Oswalt, has come to an end, we're taking a closer look at the show, the comic that inspired it and how it changed from page to screen.

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Sax goes through a wild Christmas Eve, constantly questioning whether Happy is real or a delusion of his damaged brain, while seeing things that would otherwise be impossible to explain. The Santa Claus reveals he too can see imaginary friends, and is eventually defeated by a mob of imaginary friends from all the children he's kidnapped. Sax saves his daughter, dying in the process, but not before taking Mr. Blue with him.


The first season of the television show is a mostly-close adaptation of the comic, with several key differences. It introduces several new characters, including Blue's sister Isabella, and more importantly Sonny Shine, a children's TV personality who is the true power behind the child trafficking ring as Mr. Blue's boss Mr. Bug. It also gives more characterization to Mr. Blue, his henchman Smoothie, and Sax's ex-wife Amanda. It also introduces more of Morrison's patented weirdness, with Shine participating in a bizarre leather-clad rave/orgy/worship that reveals his two lovable mascots to be giant lumps of pink flesh.

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Also, the password is revealed to not be a mundane password to a bank account, but rather a demon possessing the youngest of the brothers. It reanimates his corpse long enough for the demon to be passed on to Blue at the end of the season. The largest change, beyond the new characters and introduction of aliens and demons, is Blue and Sax's survival at the end of the season. While Happy! the comic never received a sequel, the TV series left room for further stories, and it certainly took advantage of those with Season 2.


Happy Season 2

With the comic adaptation out of the way, the show could now go full-bore into original material. After season 1 told a story about Christmas, Season 2 focused on Easter. While Season 1 dusted the new Morrisonian weirdness lightly around the more mundane plot of the original comic, Season 2 pulled out all the stops and went for the gusto. The demon possessing Blue, Orcus, takes a central plot role and is revealed to be behind basically everything. The blob monsters from Season 1 are revealed to be servants of Orcus, grooming pop culture figures throughout history so that they might be killed at the peak of their popularity, allowing Orcus to feed on the societal despair.

Smoothie has survived, and is himself now a servant of Orcus. The supernatural elements ramp up considerably, with Orcus manipulating the actions of others through Blue, and Happy displaying similar powers. Sax even dies and is resurrected, with Happy meeting God himself along the way in a show that captured the mind-bending spirit of Morrison's other work.

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