Freebie: My Favourite Book to TV Adaptations
A day late, a buck short, I’m writing the report… ahem, okay I’m late again this week (but hey, last week I was totally MIA so better late than not at all!) 😆
This week’s topic was a freebie and I usually tend to go with something movie-related but this time round I’m going with television shows that have been adapted from books, both past and present! There are loads I haven’t watched so if they’re not on here it’s not that I don’t like them, it’s probably I haven’t yet found the time to watch (like The Handmaid’s Tale for instance).
There are also those I started out really liking but kind of lost the way over them (Outlander for one, True Blood being another example) so these will not be included.
1. Game of Thrones
The juggernaut, probably the biggest television show of the last 20 years, Game of Thrones is a show that nearly everyone watched – even those who were not big lovers of fantasy. Based on the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, it was one of my most anticipated shows and I stuck with it right until the end. The last season was… uneven, to say the least, but I can’t deny the impact the show had and it had moments of sheer brilliance that honestly could never be topped.
2. The Witcher
Following hot on the heels of Game of Thrones, The Witcher is an adaptation based on the book series of the same name by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. It has previously been adapted into a popular game series so it was a no-brainer that a television show was the next logical step. It has only had one season (so far) but a prequel is already in the works as it was a huge hit for Netflix. Myself, I definitely enjoyed it though it did have some rough moments (but for a fledgling series that is to be expected).
3. Pride and Prejudice
Ah, the BBC miniseries of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name, this is the show that got me into costume dramas (I had always avoided them before watching this). I think it is far superior to the movie (which does have its good points too) and Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle are my Darcy and Lizzie (and always will be!)
I have seen many (many!) adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s titular detective, but this one is by far my favourite. Benedict Cumberbatch was pitch perfect as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and Martin Freeman was excellent as John Watson. The chemistry between them made the series and I also loved the supporting characters too. It did go a little crazy towards the end but I enjoyed the whole series for the most part and I am sad that there will likely be no more.
5. The Haunting of Hill House
I haven’t actually read the book yet (sacrilege – I know!) but I have seen all of the various movie versions. I really loved how the show took this classic tale and gave it a modern spin. The actors were excellent (including the younger versions!) and I just really enjoyed this show not just as a spook fest (though it had its moments) but also as a character driven narrative about a majorly dysfunctional family.
6. North & South
Nope, not the American television miniseries set around the American Civil War, this is the BBC miniseries based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell (which is a fabulous novel, well ahead of its time). What is not to love about this? Richard Armitage as John Thornton makes for a brooding romantic lead and the rest of the cast is also stellar. I cannot say enough good things about this and it almost (almost!) beats Pride and Prejudice as my favourite period drama (not quite but it’s very close!)
7. The Magicians
I haven’t read the books by Lev Grossman and I’m not sure if I necessarily want to because the television show by all accounts diverged from the plot and was better for it (at least, as far as I’ve heard). The Magicians is one of my more recent favourites. I adore the cast and the clever dialogue and storytelling. Although I wasn’t happy with a certain character’s fate, overall I still really loved the show and I am sad it has ended after its fifth season. Queliot 4eva!! *forever salty* Ahem, okay, shipper goggles firmly off now… 😉
Mindhunter is based on the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker about the development of criminal profiling within the FBI. It’s a fascinating show – very slow-burn and psychologically tense rather than being action packed. The interview segments were the highlight for me – some of the actors portraying famous serial killers such as Ed Kemper and David Berkowitz (a.k.a. Son of Sam) were eerily like their true-life counterparts. I am sad that the show seems to have been shelved (for now, at least).
9. The Alienist
The Alienist is based on the novel of the same name by Caleb Carr. Set back in the mid-1890s in New York City, it’s a fascinating mix of detective story and period drama. The cast is superb and the storyline (for the first season) is bleak and at times horrific but always really engrossing. The ten part series paints a less rose-tinted view of the past and it shows that murder and violence has always been a part of our history. It’s honestly one of my favourites and I cannot wait for season two to air in the UK!
I haven’t watched the reboot series Roswell: New Mexico (though I intend to at some point) but I was a fan of the original series that ran from 1999-2002. Based on the Roswell High young adult book series written by Melinda Metz, this was a loose adaptation but one that had a lot of heart. It did lose its way for a time, and definitely struggled to get back its mojo with ultimately led to its cancellation (not to mention the behind the scenes shenanigans but going into that would take me a day and a half), but overall it was a really good series and I have a lot of fond memories of it.
FYI, I haven’t included The Untamed on this list (although it was based on a web novel so totally would have counted!) mainly because I talk about it A LOT on here haha! Not to worry though, I probably (i.e. very likely) will do another post on it at some point – I just wanted to focus here on other series for a change of pace (and it probably would have taken all ten spots – yep, I’m THAT obsessed!!) 🤣🤣