Turning popular novels into TV shows has become increasingly popular with time. Popular tv shows like Game of Thrones and 13 Reasons Why are based on novels. While there are many movie adaptations of novels, the downside to that is the fact that the novels have to be shortened with some parts of the storyline being cut. Hence, turning novels into TV shows allows the storyline to be fully explained, the character graph can be explained thoroughly and the novel is portrayed in a way that lives up to its potential. Here is a list of some of the most famous novels that would make great TV shows.
1. The Chain
This thriller novel by Adrian McKinty explores how far parents are willing to go in order to protect their children. The story revolves around Rachel Klein who gets an anonymous call from someone claiming they have kidnapped her daughter. In order to save her daughter, she has to pay a ransom and kidnap another child. It is revealed that the person who has kidnapped her daughter is a mother herself trying to save her child, revealing that Rachel is part of the ‘chain‘.
A suspense thriller is always known to catch the interest of the audience and an adaptation of the chain is being turned into a movie. However, turning it into a TV show will help explore the story more, give depth to the characters and provide an exhilarating and dynamic series.
2. They Both Die At The End
Adam Silvera gives us a shattering story of two individuals, Mateo and Rufus. Their lives change when they get a call from the ‘Death-Cast’ saying that they were going to die today. This leads to both of them meeting each other through an app. Resulting in the most adventurous and unforgettable ‘last day’. They Both Die in the End explores the concept of how when there is life, there is also death.
Creating a TV show based on this book can aid in creating more characters. The show can also explore how they deal with a call from the ‘Death-Cast’. It can also be used to explore a romantic angle between the two main characters, Mateo and Rufus.
3. The Turn of the Key
Inspired by the literary classic, Turn of the Screw, this Ruth Ware novel gives you the perfect amount of mystery and suspense. Following the story of Rowan Caine who takes up a job to become an in-house nanny. While the position seems too good to be true with a great place to live and a generous salary package that comes along with it.
What Rowan is unaware of is she is walking toward a living nightmare. It does turn into one when she is accused of murder. Being inspired by the Turn of the Screw that birthed Netflix’s hit horror series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, the Turn of the Key provides grounds to be in the list of some of the best horror tv shows.
4. Nocturne City Series
A five-part series by Caitlin Kittredge, Nocturne City is based on well, nocturne city. A city where werewolves, vampires, and witches roam around the street at night. Amidst all that, we see homicide detective, Luna Wilder. Luna has to maintain peace amongst everyone while dealing with her own set of issues.
Luna seems to have her hands full with new cases of ritualistic murders and magical gang wars and being attracted to a werewolf named Dmitri. Fantasy TV shows have a huge fan base anyways so an adaptation of this series will be a delight to watch for the die-hard fans of the genre.
5. A Little Life
A novel that has managed to gain a ‘cult-following’! A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara follows the lives of four college friends. Considered a modern-day classic, this novel gives insight into the life of Jude, Malcolm, Willem, and JB. It also shows how each of them deals with issues like mental health, love, abuse, and suicide. However, regardless of these issues, they manage to keep each other afloat and act as anchors for one another.
While there is a good side to a friendship, A Little Life also explores the darkness of the friendship between these four individuals. Back in 2016, the Author was said to be working on an adaptation of the novel for a TV series. However, later on in the year, it was announced that there would be no series based on the book.
6. Nathan Heller Series
A detective series by Max Allan Collins. The Nathan Heller series follows Nathan, an intelligent detective with a great track record. Nathan is seen handling various cases like the Amelia Earhart disappearance to Huey Long’s assassination, and the Lindberg kidnapping, over the course of this series. This 17-part series dates back to 1983 when the first novel ‘True Detective’ was released.
The most recent one was published just two years ago in 2020. Since there is so much to discover and explore in this series of novels, a TV show based on it would be relatively easy to make. It is also no secret that detective series are loved by the masses and another amazing detective series might just be what this genre needs.
7. Radio Silence
A story that focuses on the friendship between the two main characters rather than creating the ‘stereotypical’ romance angle. This novel by Alice Oseman revolves around a podcast called ‘Universe City’ that has an anonymous host. Other than exploring the friendship between the two main characters and revealing who the anonymous host is, Radio Silence also highlights several sensitive and emotional topics. Turning it into a TV show will give the audiences something fun and lighthearted yet important and inspirational to watch. As announced by Netflix, Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper has been adapted into a series. This may indicate there is a chance that Radio Silence may also follow the lead.
8. The Dark Tower
Another book series has made it to this best novels list that should be turned into a tv show. However, this list would be incomplete if ‘The Dark Tower’ by Stephen King was not mentioned in it. While it has been turned into a movie, it just did not do it justice because an 85-minute movie based on a series of seven books cannot explain the whole story. However, turning it into a TV series and exploring all the aspects provided will give the novel series the justice it deserves.