I just watched the first episode of the new Death Note live action drama, and it was terribly disappointing. I don't mind if there are a few changes from the manga/anime, but completely changing the personalities and interests of characters I love? No.
First of all, Light Yagami. His character was completely destroyed. He somehow got changed from an evil genius anti-hero with a god complex to... an incredibly normal and nice student? Sure, he is still smart - but not genius-level. He also is a fanboy of Misa - which is completely out of character for him. He also has some random friend character that is exactly the same as him. I have no clue why the creators would think it would be a good idea to change Light this way. Light is one of my favorite characters of all time. But the live action drama's version of him is just forgettable. Also, he is too nice and spends WAY too long trying to get over the fact that he killed someone - even though that guy ALMOST KILLED LIGHT'S FATHER? What? Light? What happened to you? He also maybe contemplated suicide, but I'm not quite sure. It was sort of vague.
Next, there is L. L, like Light, has been changed way too much. He is no longer the quirky weirdo that he should be. He doesn't eat sweets or strawberries, but squeezable applesauce. He either sits normally or stretches his legs out. He walks normally, wears a white button-down dress shirt, and instead of having dark bags under his eyes, he just wears eyeliner. Oh yeah, he also wears shoes. (His hairstyle is correct, though.) HE also seems to be a germaphobe, since Watari sprays Soichiro with air freshener...what? At least he seems to be equally intelligent to his anime counterpart.
Soichiro is about the same, except he is given a ridiculous tragic backstory involving his wife's death. Yes - Light's mom is dead. I have no clue how she died; it was never explained. And he gets held as a hostage by an over-the-top insane criminal with a knife.
Ryuk is about right. Besides his awful CGI, he acted about the same, with one exception. He had an extreme obsession with scaring/surprising Light. Since Light in this version is hilariously wimpy and easily frightened, this was sort of funny.
Misa hasn't done much yet, but we know Light killed the criminal that killed Misa's family not simply because he was a criminal, but because he wanted Misa to notice him and support Kira.
Near appears briefly at the end. I'm not sure why exactly. Most people don't even like Near. He is seen with a ventriloquist dummy of Mello. Again, I'm not sure why yet.
Thankfully, the Lind L. Tailor scene was done correctly.
I will keep watching this to critique it.