These days, the options for book-to-TV adaptations are seemingly endless. From Game of Thrones to Big Little Lies, some of the greatest television comes from novels. However, not all of these shows get the clout that the rest do. And honestly, they should! Not only should they be watched, but they should also be read as well. Hopefully, the following books/shows will give you some motivation to pick up a new novel or your TV remote. Here are 7 book-to-TV adaptations you may not know about!
If you love twisty-turny, fantastical TV, then American Gods is perfect for you. You may be wondering if the title stands for some sort of metaphor, but you would be mistaken. American Gods literally follows gods. Specifically, a man named Shadow Moon and his sudden introduction into the world of these eccentric, all-powerful beings. The show has two seasons (and a third allegedly coming this year) and is based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman. American Gods is available to watch on Starz.
On a more serious note, we have the murder mystery/thriller Dublin Murders. It follows a savvy homicide detective duo who investigate the murder of a young girl, which suspiciously parallels a similar crime from the 80’s. This Irish TV show packs a punch of intrigue, suspicion, and secrets. Although it could be considered a slow burn, the mystery of the case keeps you guessing and wondering. Dublin Murders is based off two novels, In the Woods and The Likeness, both by Tana French. You can watch the show on Starz.
While many of these on the list have books and shows that are semi-unknown, this one may sound familiar. Catch-22 is a classic novel by Joseph Heller written in 1961. The TV show adaptation appeared in 2019 and featured movie star, George Clooney. The mini-series follows an Air-Force soldier called Yossarian who despises flying but must continue to complete missions. As the show goes on, it becomes clear that there is no escaping this war and it may destroy Yossarian and those around him. However, don’t expect too much darkness. Catch-22 is a complete satire, so it can be pretty wacky. It is available to watch on Hulu.
Of all the shows on this list, this one definitely stands out. Sharp Objects is a dark mystery following a young journalist (played by Amy Adams) who returns to her small Southern hometown to investigate a series of murders. A host of creepy characters enter the picture and the end will completely shock and disturb you. This show definitely features some disturbing, triggering content so viewer discretion is advised. Originally Sharp Objects appeared as a novel written by Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl. Sharp Objects is available to watch on HBO.
My Brilliant Friend
For those who enjoy foreign content, this show might pique your interest. My Brilliant Friend is an Italian show about the complicated friendship between two young girls. The first season begins with the girls first meeting as children and continues to follow them as they grow into teenagers and young women. My Brilliant Friend is the first novel in a series written by Elena Ferrante. This show definitely has some drama and beautiful historical flair. It is available to watch on HBO.
Compared to the rest of the shows on this list, this one has definitely run the longest, for 5 seasons. The Magicians tells the story of a grad student who discovers the fantasy world of one of his favorite book series is actually real. He suddenly falls into this magic world and begins to learn more than he thought possible. Additionally, he meets a cache of funny, interesting characters who eventually become his friends. The Magicians was first a series of novels by Lev Grossman. It is available to stream on Netflix but originally premiered on SYFY.
Last but not least, we have Good Omens. This 2019 series follows an angel and a demon who have a very complicated relationship. However, despite their differences, they must work together to stop the end of the world. Just like American Gods, this show features some serious fantasy. Coincidentally, this is because Good Omens was also written by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman released the novel in 1990. Starring in the show are British stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen. It is available on Amazon Prime.
TV these days bursts with series that have a basis in novels, both old and new. While some of these shows gain insane popularity, others tend to fall into the shadows, despite their promise. Even worse, the books don’t get as much attention! Therefore, take a peek at some of these lesser-known TV shows and books, and maybe you’ll find something a bit different. Let us know what you think!
Get more Reading Scoop!