Books to TV
July 06, 2014
Do you realize how many of your favorite TV shows started life as books? Shows like Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, True Blood, Pretty Little Liars, Under the Dome, The Walking Dead, and the upcoming Outlander all got their start on the printed page. This concept fascinates me. Why adapt a book into a relatively measly two-hour movie when you can really stretch your storytelling muscles in an ongoing series? The screen may be smaller, but it provides so much more room to explore unique worlds and favorite characters. With that in mind, here are some books that would make compelling TV shows.
The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire
Wicked has already spawned a smash hit Broadway musical, but Maguire’s lurid version of Oz would keep viewers returning every week. I picture this as a show with more twists and turns than the Yellow Brick Road in Tornado Alley.
The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
Here’s one for BBC. Maisie is an intelligent and intrepid private eye, solving crime in interwar London. This one would fit nicely on the schedule between Downton Abbey and Sherlock.
The Stand by Stephen King
It’s already been a miniseries and a graphic novel series, but as a TV show, The Stand could really dig the world of the Captain Trips virus. Most of the first season could be spent on the leak and eventual outbreak of the virus, with an apocalyptic season finale to gear us up for season two and the rise of Randall Flagg.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
This soap opera would have it all: one man’s quest for justice, downtrodden urchins, uprising students, and all the glorious misery and squalor of 19th century France. What’s not to love?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
If this seems like an odd choice, consider the following: the book spans several years, follows four key characters through several major life changes, and boasts a large cast of supporting players. As a TV show, Little Women could start with a fresh cast of unknowns and turn them into stars over a few well-scripted seasons.
World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
Yes, it was a big movie last summer, but Brooks’ zombie world is just bursting with more gore to explore. How to differentiate from The Walking Dead, you ask? Simple: take the Lost approach. Intercut stories of before and after the apocalypse, and follow several groups of characters as they interact and disperse. Such a global view is part of what made Brooks’ books a hit in the first place.
So what say you? Do you like my ideas? What books or book series would you like to see on TV? Let us know in the comments below!