Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is meant to celebrate the return of fall television.
I really love TV. As someone who loves character-driven stories I really connect to TV shows with strong character development. When I think of my favorite stories being adapted, my mind goes to TV by default. This list features books that I think are particularly well suited for the medium.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This might be my favorite book, like of all time, so I’ve thought about this a lot. I don’t think this book would work well as a standard TV show, but it would make an amazing miniseries. The aspects that make it such an amazing read like the atmosphere, the lectures, or the subtle character dynamics would be lost or diminished if it were translated into film. In a miniseries format the writers would have a lot more time to developed these aspects. Just imagine the lingering shots of Francis’s country manor and of the flowers in Julian’s office, Henry slowly trusting Richard as conveyed through glances and gestures, the dinner scenes, all those little details that a miniseries could include. Plus the structure of the book really lend itself to be divided into self-contained chunks.
The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan
I don’t know why but while I was reading this book, I kept thinking of how well it would work as a TV show. I mean I know why it would work, the characters are perfect for it, but I can’t justify why I thought of it as TV show as I read it. But seriously, like The Secret History, the setting is extremely important. I just want to see how the people of Sorry-in-the-Vale interact everyday, I want the minor characters to recur. This could be pitched as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gilmore Girls with a gothic twist.
The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
Like the previous two, the atmosphere and locations are an essential part of The Raven Cycle. I also feel like the series has a fairly complicated magic system that allows for so much more to be explored. Beyond the magic system there are so many things that would work on screen like the car races, the tarot cards, and Aglionby itself. I can just imagine the shots growing blurry as Noah appears or Ronan in chiaroscuro frames.
Also I feel compelled to share this amazing fan-made title sequence:
The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
This is another one that would work better as a miniseries as the plot is pretty strong as it is in the books. Also I think that the story works better when if you watch/read the instalments in a row even though they are able to stand on their own.
Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
This one could prove a bit tricky to adapt as it follows Alanna through many years. Yet, there is so many stories to tell here. The adventures also tend to be episodic so it would be fairly easy to adapt. Alanna would make such a great protagonist for a TV show. The fight sequences as Alanna learns to become a knight could be amazing.
Code Name Very and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
These two stories would make such a great limited series. The diary format could be an issue when adapting, but at the same time the story is visual enough that it could work pretty well. They could always use voiceovers to counter this. I think the focus on friendship would be greatly benefitted by a longer format. We need more stories about women during World War II in television and film, and these stories as no less intense and heartbreaking than many of the stories that have already been made.
The Iliad by Homer
Another one I would like to be made a miniseries rather than an actual full-fledged TV show. The large cast and epic battle scenes along with the more emotional moments are akin to Game of Thrones, so it’s not hard to see why this could work on TV. I would also love to see how the creators play with the more surreal moments in the story. Honestly I was surprised to learn that this hasn’t been done already.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I know this is being made into a movie, but this would work so much better as a mini-series. I can hardly see how the filmmakers can stay faithful to the story without cutting out huge chunks of the novel. Besides it’s already structured into smaller episodes as it is.
Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
This is another one that has such a strong worldbuilding that I could see a TV show expanding on so many things. Even though the plot of the first book is very focused and cinematic, there are so many elements that would translate well for TV. For example, the color motifs of each London would work perfectly on TV. Also there the fact that I want to be able to see more and more of these amazing characters.
Also this one might actually be happening. The author is writing the pilot, even.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I’m also kind of cheating with this one as a series is already in the works. This has been one of my favorite books of the year and quickly cemented Atwood as one of my favorite authors. I’m curious about how this book will work as TV series because what I loved about the book was the writing. Also the book is very introspective which might be hard to translate. Like many others in these list it has a very strong worldbuilding to build the series upon and a lot of stories to expand. This shaping up to have a phenomenal cast too; it just keeps getting better and better.