I remember that when I was younger I used to stay up all night and watch TV series. It was me, a box of ice cream, a blanket, and my laptop for at least 10 hours. Now, well I can only see an episode and then I fall asleep. This is why I became pickier when it comes to TV series. I try to choose only the ones with great potential. And it appears that most of them are book adaptations. I will present you today a list of 8 books that were amazingly turned into TV series.
1. Game of Thrones
I must confess that George RR Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” is my all time favorite book series. I also have to confess that before seeing the first season of Game of Thrones, I have never heard of the novels. After the first episode, I was totally in love with the story and read all five novels in less than a month. Unfortunately, after devouring the books, I lost my interest in the TV series.
However, the HBO production is one of the best ever created. Each episode is amazingly well made. It has great special effects. Most of them are worthy of the big screen. I’ve watched season 7 (because George RR Martin refuses to release his last 2 novels and I needed to know what will happen) and I can say that the production improved itself during the years.
These being said “Game of Thrones” is definitely a book adaptation series worth watching.
We all know about the famous detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes; so I won’t talk too much about the original tale. I love everything about the story and of course, I was immediately attracted by the British TV series: “Sherlock”.
The series stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the protagonist and might I say that he is brilliant. This was the first time I saw Benedict and he made me become a huge fan of his after the first 5 minutes of watching him play. “Sherlock” doesn’t respect by heart the original story. It is adapted to the present day, but this is not an issue from my point of view.
Regardless if you like mysteries or not, you cannot watch this production without appreciating its script and acting, so this Reading Badger recommends this show from all its heart.
3. Big Little Lies
“Big Little Lies” is a TV series adaptation made after the book with the same name by Liane Moriarty. I read the novel before watching the show and as I’ve said then, I don’t consider it a masterpiece or a book worth more than a pool lecture.
However, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård and all the other actors made the TV adaptation much better (from my point of view). There are some differences between the original story and the one from the small screen, but they are not very noticeable. The biggest I’ve could tell is that in the book the story is set in Australia and in the show in the US.
So do I recommend the TV series? YES!
Do I recommend the novel? Well, yes, but not as a must-read.
4. Handmaid’s Tale
I am not a very big fan of dystopian tales, but like in every case, I appreciate a good story regardless of the genre. “Handmaid’s Tale” is one of those cases. The original story is written by Margaret Atwood and this year we expect her sequel, “The Testaments”.
The TV show stars Elisabeth Moss as the main character, Offred, which she interprets very well. Both the novel and the series are worth your time. I might even say that the screened one is so well done that some of the scenes are very visual and disturbing. I remember loving so much the movie “Shakespeare in Love” and I always wondered what happened to the main actor, Joseph Fiennes. Seeing him in the Hulu production, even though he is the bad guy, made me happy.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just read the book or seen the series, I definitely recommend you both.
5. Band of Brothers
“Band of Brothers” is not for everyone. It is a hard war story. The novel is written by Stephen E. Ambrose and tells the story of a parachute infantry company from World War II. Even though the novel presents some of the battle facts, it mostly focuses on the lives of the soldiers that were part of the Easy Company. Ambrose wrote his book this way because he met with former members of this team and after conducting interviews he was captivated by the bonds that were developed between them. He showed them drafts of his book, asked for their opinions and added their ideas to his story.
Add to all the above things Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg as executive producers and interviews with the real veterans. Try to imagine how amazing this show is and then watch it. You will see that it exceeds your expectations.
I don’t have many things to say about Diana Gabaldon’s books. Hate me if you must, but I couldn’t pass volume 2. I enjoyed the first one but got really bored by the second, so I abandoned them.
The TV series, however, I thought to be much better. I found it funny, most of the times well played and I adore the accents. After each season I say that I will give the novels another chance, but I still haven’t done it so. I don’t know if I will ever be able to read the original story, but I am sure to watch all the seasons from the TV show.
So do I recommend them? The screened one definitely; the books, depending on your age and preferences.
7. My Brilliant Friend
“My Brilliant Friend” is a miniseries brought to the screen by the collaboration between HBO and Italian networks RAI and TIMvision. It is made after Elena Ferrante’s novel that has the same name.
The show is very well made. I love the fact that they decide to keep Italian as the language. This way you can actually understand better the original story.
I recommend you to check both the books and the TV series because in both cases you will not be disappointed.
8. Pride and Prejudice
Last but not least the BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice” miniseries. For me, Jane Austen’s story is one of the most beautiful things I ever read. Because of this, I was, very skeptical to watch any ecranisation of the book. That was until I’ve seen that BBC has cast Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. This changed everything for me.
I consider the TV show very good. I think I’ve seen it at least 5 times and if I will find it random on the TV I will probably watch it again.
Of course, I recommend the book with all my heart. But I also advise you to check out the miniseries as well. It truly captures all the essence of the novel and it also gives you a plus
Do you know any other exceptional TV series made as an adaptation of a book? I am running low on things to watch and I will really appreciate any advice 🙂