Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Series That Should Be TV Series

Today, we’re talking about book series that would translate well to TV. I really hope I see these books on my screen someday.

I’m only going to include the synopsis for the first book in each series because nobody wants spoilers.

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Book Series That Would Make Great TV Series

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Adult science fiction

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archenemies have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Why it would make excellent TV: If you’re a fan of superhero movies or comic books, you’ll love this series. It’s gritty and full of villains with complicated motives. It will make you hate yourself for cheering on the bad guys. Even if you don’t like superheroes, I recommend giving these books a try. They’re fast-paced, murderous romps through a familiar—yet dystopian—world.

2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Adult literary fiction

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Why it would make excellent TV: I was tempted to make this entire list fantasy and science fiction books, but no. We need something realistic! Beartown is a perfect duology for sports lovers because it’s heavy on the hockey. It’s also a perfect duology for people who love small-town drama. The large cast of characters is under pressure to save their remote town. Then a star hockey player rapes a teenage girl and sends multiple lives into deadly tailspins. It’s a heartbreakingly believable story.

3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Young adult science fiction

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Why it would make excellent TV: The potential for amazing deep-space special effects! And the nonstop action! And the interpersonal drama! Imagine breaking up with your boyfriend and then becoming a refugee with him hours later when your homes are destroyed. Then you’re both trapped on an evacuation spaceship for who knows how long. Yeah, awkward. Even though the young characters are in life-and-death danger, this series is hilarious. The characters have big hearts and even bigger personalities. Read this series if you want to laugh.

4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Young Adult Fantasy

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere . . . else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced . . . they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Why it would make excellent TV: The TV people can get creative with this series because it’s about kids who accidentally stumble into alternate universes. I’m imagining a bunch of beautifully bizarre worlds. The characters are also bizarre. They’re a diverse group of weirdos who don’t always follow social rules or the moral code of the “real” world. They’re unpredictable, which is why nobody is surprised when murders happen at the school. I think this series would make a darkly gorgeous TV show with a compelling mystery plot.

5. Nevermoor: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Middlegrade Fantasy

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks—and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart—an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests—or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Why it would make excellent TV: It would be a show for the whole family. Children would love the magic and humor, and there’s enough mystery to keep adults entertained. I think it would appeal to the same audience who enjoyed the Harry Potter movies. (That would be me. I’m that audience.) The series could spark some great conversations too. It subtly addresses everything from immigration to developing self-confidence.

6. The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Young adult science fiction

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories—of parents, children, love, life, and self—are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence—before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

Why it would make excellent TV: It takes place on another planet, so I expect some creative set design! They mystery of the Forgetting would make captivating TV. What causes everybody on this planet to forget their lives every 12 years? Is there a way to stop it from happening? The plot is twisty. There are secrets the characters need to uncover if they want to save their city.

7. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Young adult fantasy

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands," she speaks many languages—not all of them human—and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Why it would make excellent TV: Of all the series on my list, this is the one I want to see on TV the most. If it’s done right, it would be amazing. It could be the next Game of Thrones. It’s very dark. The plot twists blew my mind. There’s love, war, secrets, diverse settings, magical creatures, and political intrigue. Can HBO make this, please?

8. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Young adult science fiction

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Why it would make excellent TV: Neal Shusterman is brilliant at world-building and does not shy away from difficult ethical questions. This is one of the most thought-provoking dystopias I’ve ever read. The series is packed with complicated characters. Then there’s the action and the cliff hangers. OMG, the cliff hangers. The books would make great TV because viewers would constantly be desperate to know what happens next.

9. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Young adult science fiction

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Why it would make excellent TV: I couldn’t limit myself to one Neal Shusterman series on this list. I love his work too much. If you like dystopias, and you haven’t read his stuff, what are you doing with your life? Like Scythe, this series is action-packed and tackles fascinating ethical questions. It’s different from Scythe because it’s freakin’ creepy! Seriously, that fingerprint creature on the cover gives me nightmares, and the whole “unwinding” process is intense. An Unwind TV show would appeal to people who love sci-fi or horror.

10. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Adult science fiction

The Carls just appeared.

Roaming through New York City at three AM, twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Why it would make excellent TV: The humor! And the relevance to modern times. It’s a story about fame, Internet culture, the media, and how people choose to see the world. It’s a book / potential TV show that humans need right now. The plot is a rollercoaster. I was completely caught up in solving the mystery of the Carls. If you loved Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, give this book a try.

Would you watch any of these TV shows?

Which book series do you think should be adapted to TV?


  1. Oh yes to a Seanan McGuire book series to a tv series-- especially one as creative as this one. To be honest though, why hasn't any of her books been made to a series before now?

  2. I know The Illuminae Files was optioned and pretty sure it will be a TV show. So your dreams have come true. I would watch an adaptation of Backman's books. They are all so lovely.

  3. Ooh I agree with so many of these. Vicious for sure - I still need to read Vengeful. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (that would be such a cool series!). Nevermoor and Scythe! I've only read the first book in those, but I loved them and need to read the rest.


  4. Hi AJ! I was seriously considering adding Bear Town to my list as well. It will really make a great adaptation. I've had Every heart a doorway on my TBR list for way too long now. Maybe they should just make it into a tv series and then I'll decide if I still want to read it.

    Happy TTT and here's my10 Books that should be adapted for Netflix

  5. I'd sure be interested in watching Beartown.

    My TTT .

  6. Though I am not familiar with these series, these books look as if they would make for some good television.

    When it comes to older book series, I am looking forward to the upcoming adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.

  7. Yes! Scythe and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing would both be amazing!

  8. Yes to Scythe! There's so much cool stuff going on in those books!

  9. I love the Unwind and the Forgetting series. Both would make great movies!

    Happy TTT!

  10. Illuminae would be so awesome. And Vicious too I would think.

  11. I'm intrigued about the Carls and your reference to Ready Player One so I might take a look at that at some point. The Jessica Townsend book is on my radar too.

  12. Beartown is a great choice! I can't believe it hasn't already been picked up. :)

  13. Yes, absolutely!! Daughter of Smoke and Bone was on my list, as well :) I would love to see Brimstone in movie/tv form.

    Here's my TTT

  14. I've never read a single one of these—shame, shame, shame, I know! But Scythe has been on my TBR pile for the longest time ... I should probably get around to it.

  15. Yes to all the Neal Shusterman and The Forgetting! Loved all those books and they would make such great tv.

  16. I read Smoke and Bone a long time ago, and I have Beartown on my TBR. Great list AJ!

  17. Neal Shusterman should absolutely be in charge of ALL the shows, frankly. And Illuminae and The Forgetting would be awesome! You reminded me that I really really need to get to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, too!

  18. Oh what a brilliant list. Illuminae would be amazing (and a lot of fun!), but... I don't know if I'd watch it, I think it'd make me way too anxious ahha. I'd LOVE An Absolutely Remarkable Thing to be adapted! It'd be such a great idea, I loved this book so much.

  19. Great list! I would definitely watch all of these, especially The Illuminae Files.