Top 5 TV Book Adaptations

Game of Thrones

Hani Fearon guides us through the top 5 book adaptations to make it to our television screens.


5. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Perhaps an obvious choice, but The Walking Dead is an excellent example of another medium that has translated well onto our screens. With over twenty graphic novels, omnibus editions and three novels, the series was already rather successful before being adapted for TV. This did generate a great deal of uncertainty from fans when the adaptation was announced; a zombie TV series was a pretty new idea at the time. Despite this, the show has been extremely popular and is currently in its fourth series. In my opinion it’s been a little up and down lately in terms of decent story lines, and there are a lot of miserable faces. But hey, it’s the apocalypse, anything can happen. Also, I guess it’s difficult to be happy when a zombie has just nommed your mate’s face off.


4. Dexter


Sadly, Dexter departed from us last year after eight series. Mind you, it was about time. Like many shows, it had it’s good seasons but it definitely had it’s fair share of bad ones (do not even talk to me about Julia Stiles). Based on the fantastic books by Jeff Lindsay, the series follows Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for Miami Metro. Played by the fabulous Michael C. Hall, Dexter doubles as a serial killer with a ‘dark passenger’, his reason for killing. However, he only goes after the bad guys, and often those who have slipped through the Police Department’s fingers.

Whilst Dexter was one of my favourite shows, the ending really was atrocious. I’ve not actually spoken to anyone who felt it did the series any justice. After eight years, one would hope that the writers would be a little kinder. It does leave Dexter open for a return, but maybe its demise is for the best.


3. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Another obvious choice here, hence it missing out on a top spot: Game of Thrones is well-established as a TV series adapted from a series of books which has been extremely successful. Based on a series of books titled A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin intended to write a trilogy which has now become seven volumes. Martin is still working on the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter, whilst series four is set to return to our screens in April.


2. Hannibal


This is without a doubt one of my favourite television series that’s still running. Hannibal is a fresh adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon. The show focuses on forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and his relationship with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), a rather unconventional FBI special investigator. It’s a young series and only kicked off last year, with series two premièring in the US this week  (Friday 28th February). Danish actor Mikkelsen is the perfect fit for the role, playing Hannibal superbly with equal levels of creepiness and charm. Mikkelsen really is one of the most talented actors in TV at the moment and brings a great quality to the show.

According to early reviews, the opener for series two is excellent and really kicks things off. I don’t want to give away any spoilers from series one, but it looks like the focus this year will be on Hannibal himself rather than those around him. As expected, Hannibal is rather gory and even when it isn’t, the implied horror can certainly turn your stomach. However, I really do urge everyone to give it a go. Oh, Morpheus is in it too.


1. Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire is my absolute number one show on TV at the moment. I recently watched Breaking Bad in it’s entirety and I’m afraid to say it, but Boardwalk is better. It’s that good. Set in Atlantic City during the prohibition era, this period drama is based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City. Nelson Johnson’s book focuses on historical figure Enoch L. Thompson, who was at the forefront of bootlegging in Atlantic City. The series was created by award winning screenwriter Terence Winter, who has also been nominated for an Oscar with his screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. In fact, Scorsese is an executive producer for the show and directed the pilot episode which cost $18 million.

With the fantastic Steve Buscemi in the lead as Nucky Thompson and an excellent supporting cast featuring Michael Shannon, Kelly Macdonald and Stephen Graham as Al Capone; Boardwalk Empire really is a superb show. Not only is the acting top notch, but the writing is excellent and the soundtrack is rather fabulous. There are some great characters and plenty of story lines to focus on (plenty of bosom too – if you’re into that). The fifth season is set to air this year, but sadly it will be the last for the Nucky and the gang.

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