We are back with another pages-to-screen list! Today we’ll be looking at books made into popular and long-running TV series.
Multi-episode book adaptions give in-depth details to a beloved story in a way that a two-hour movie cannot. However, a TV series requires popularity and stellar ratings to keep it going. There are also times when the plot diverges from the source material to add a new twist or alternate ending.
Let’s dive into some of the best and most anticipated book-to-TV adaptations.
1. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Conversations With Friends is Sally Rooney’s 2017 debut novel. The story follows college friends Frances and Bobbi as they develop an unexpected bond with married couple Melissa and Nick. The book begins with simple interactions and soon turns into a complex tale of intertwining relationships and self-discovery.
The novel’s TV series is on the Hulu/BBC platform starring Joe Alwyn, Jemima Kirke, Alison Oliver, and Sasha Lane. Rooney’s Normal People was also recently adapted and saw great success.
2. The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
The Witcher is a nine-book Polish series by Andrzej Sapkowski. Set in an unnamed continent, the fantasy novels feature elves, gnomes, humans, and halflings fighting to survive in the aftermath of a war between the southern and northern kingdoms.
Netflix adapted The Witcher into a TV series in 2019. It saw major success, and numerous other adaptations like comics, films, and video games have been created.
3. The 100 by Kass Morgan
The 100 is a young adult science fiction novel by Kass Morgan. The first book was published in 2013, and the last in 2016. The story follows life after a thermonuclear apocalypse forced the human race to migrate to a space colony.
However, a century later, the space station is deteriorating. In an attempt to remedy the lack of resources and find a new home, they send 100 young delinquents to Earth, not knowing if it is still radioactive. But to their surprise, they find a perfectly habitable planet.
The CW adapted the books into a TV series in 2013. Its rights were also acquired by Netflix, where all 100 episodes are available.
4. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies is a 2015 novel by Liane Moriarty set in Australia. The story follows the friendship of three mothers: Celeste, Madeline, and Jane. As they become closer, a shocking mystery is revealed.
The TV series was released by HBO in 2017 and starred Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley. It was immensely popular and received eight Emmy Awards.
5. You by Caroline Kepnes
The sensational Netflix series is based on Caroline Kepnes’ 2014 novel You. The thriller follows bookseller Joe Goldberg as his obsession with the unsuspecting Guinevere Beck grows to deadly heights.
Originally a 2018 Lifetime show, it was rereleased by Netflix and saw a huge uptick in popularity. It was quickly renewed and is now in its fourth season. It is beloved by fans and critics alike, with an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
6. The Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks
This Terry Brooks trilogy was the inspiration behind a now-concluded TV series. It was a fantasy with gnomes, elves, and talking trees. The books were written and published from 1977-1985. What’s more astounding is that the series is a long-running one with multiple prequels, the latest of which was released in October 2020.
Despite the fan following these books have, the TV series failed to make a major impact. It received mixed reviews for both the first and second seasons (2016-2017), after which it was canceled. It did, however, receive positive feedback from critics.
Sometimes a movie won’t cut it. And a TV series based on a book can be the perfect solution. We hope we inspired your next binge-watch!