Best TV Shows Based on Books

16 Jun

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Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Trilogy

I saw last week that one of my favorite post-apocalyptic books, The Last Ship, was being made into a television series. This caused me to write a review of that book for my monthly post-apoc book review and also wonder about other books that have inspired television series.

The number of books that have inspired movies vastly outnumber those that inspire television series. I believe this is primarily because the book has a definitive beginning and end which is suitable to a movie, but not a television series which might end up being eight seasons or cut after the third episode. A movie is also a contained event whereas you might lose watchers after one television episode, so there is more pressure to hook them early on. With that said, there are some television series based on books that have been successful. In many of these, though, it became necessary for the script writers to basically go…well…off script.

Here are some television series based on books that come to mind:

– Game of Thrones based off George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice Series

– Orange is the New Black based off book by same name by Piper Kerman

– Under the Dome based off Stephen King’s book by the same name

– True Blood based off book by Charlaine Harris called Dead Until Dark

– Dexter based off book by Jeff Lindsay called Darkly Dreaming Dexter

– MASH based off book by Richard Hooker called MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors

– Band of Brothers based off book by Stephen Ambrose of same name

– Boardwalk Empire based off book by Nelson Johnson called Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Time, and Corruption of Atlantic City

– Friday Night Lights based off book by H.G. Bissenger called Friday Night Lights: a Town, a Team, and a Dream

– Justified based off of several stories by Elmore Leonard

– Sex and the City based off a book by the same name by Candice Buchnell

– Sherlock Holmes/Elementary – all based off Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories

– Dracula based off book by Bram Stoker

– Sleepy Hollow based off book by Washington Irving

– House of Cards based on book by Michael Dobbs of same name

– Hannibal based on book by Thomas Harris called Red Dragon

– Little House on the Prairie based on a series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Are there any other television series you can think of based upon books?


Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 9.39.52 PMRyan King is a career army officer with multiple combat tours who continues to serve in the military. He has lived, worked, and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, thriller, horror, and action short stories, short novels, and novels.



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