Top 5 Book-to-TV Adaptations to Binge-Watch

Updated: 4 days ago

Ordinarily when we talk about movie or TV adaptations, people typically consider the original book to be far superior. However, there are some shows that actually manage to capture the same quality of the written story, and sometimes portray it even better than the book! Here are five TV adaptations for you to binge-watch while stuck at home, or you can snuggle up with the original books!

Good Omens

“Good Omens” was published in 1990 by critically-acclaimed fantasy authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The book follows the eternal war between angels and demons with both sides assuming they will be the eventual victor. While most of these beings care very little for the well-being of Earth and humanity, Aziraphale and Crowley, an angel and demon, have actually grown to enjoy the pleasures of the human world and have become somewhat fond of humans. They form a secret friendship to make sure that they counteract each other’s good and evil acts, so that the world doesn’t get destroyed from swinging too far over to one of their extremes. When the demons release the Antichrist into the world, Aziraphale and Crowley only have 11 years to try to keep the Antichrist as morally neutral as possible to stop Armageddon from happening and to save the planet they have come to love. Last year, Amazon released a mini-series based on the show nearly 30 years after the book’s release. It stars Michael Sheen and David Tennant as Aziraphale and Crowley. Frances McDormand voices God, and her narration does an excellent job at capturing the humorous and quirky writing style from the books. Although this show flew under many people’s radars, it is absolutely worth checking out even simply to hear the boisterous opening theme song. If you have an Amazon account, then check out this fabulous little show which you’ll probably watch entirely in just one or two days!

The Witcher

The first collection of short stories featuring famed witcher Geralt of Rivia came out in 1990 written by polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. He has since written an entire book series based on Geralt’s adventures, had his books translated into over 20 other languages, had a wildly successful video game series based off his books, and just last year the first season of a Netflix show titled “The Witcher” was released. While TV and movie adaptations of video games have been historically unsuccessful, this endeavor has received critical acclaim likely because the filmmakers chose to adapt it directly from the books as opposed to the games. The first season adapted many of the short stories Geralt was first featured in, and it is likely that future seasons will adapt the full-length novels. Geralt is a witcher which is a mutated monster hunter. The world he lives in is heavily inspired by Slavic mythology and is nowhere near as bright, funny, and colorful as other beloved fantasy series such as “The Lord of the Rings”. Henry Cavill, known for his performances as Superman, plays the lead role of Geralt. Cavill prepared for this role by reading the books and playing the games and his research really paid off. He nails every part of his performance from the overall pessimistic attitude of Geralt down to his rough voice. He has been hardened by the world, but his softer side occasionally peeks through. The comic relief character, Jaskier the bard, performed an original song for the show which is heavily featured in the first season called “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher”. This song became so beloved that it became a viral hit. So if you are looking for a mature fantasy world to sink your teeth into, then head on over to your Netflix account and toss a coin to your witcher!

Big Little Lies

“Big Little Lies” was written by Liane Moriarty and published in 2014 with the first season of the HBO mini-series released in 2017. It is about a group of wealthy mothers from Monterey who are played by an all-star cast. The story involves domestic violence, friendship, rape, motherhood, competitiveness, infidelity, and a murder. We learn about the murder through brief flash-forward sequences so that the show plays out like a mystery even though the murder happens at the very end. Who is killed? Who is the killer? How are all of these women involved? And why are they all dressed like Audrey Hepburn on the night of the murder? These questions will hold your attention through the climatic final episode of the first season! A second season was made which was not based on the book and was not as well-received as the first season. However, there were several memorable lines and Meryl Streep excelled as the passive-aggressive, antagonistic mother-in-law. Make your way over to HBO to enjoy the beautiful scenery and to learn the secrets hiding within this wealthy California town!

Sharp Objects

Next up we have another HBO mini-series which was also directed by Jean-Marc Vallee. This one is based on the novel by Gillian Flynn who is known for her other popular book-to-movie adaptation “Gone Girl”. This one stars Amy Adams as a journalist who returns to her hometown to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. While she is home, she is forced to confront her toxic relationship with her mother and half-sister while trying to discover who the murderer is. This show explores similar themes to “Big Little Lies” but in a much darker way. Just as a precautionary trigger warning, this show deals with the themes of self-harm and depression so be aware that these topics will come up in this show. This one is also definitely remaining a mini-series and won’t have any future seasons, so it’s not a huge investment. If you’re looking for a mystery that will actually keep you guessing until the very end, then check out this HBO mini-series! There’s also a little surprise hidden during and at the end of the final episode’s end-credit sequence, so make sure you stick around until the very end! 


Finally on this list we have the Netflix series “Mindhunter” directed by acclaimed thriller director David Fincher. This show is based on the non-fiction book “Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit” which was written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker and profiles some of the most famous serial killers through real-life interviews they conducted. The main character of the show, Holden Ford, is loosely based on Douglas and portrays a fictionalized version of how these people in the 70’s and 80’s went about inventing the terminology and methodology we now use today when discussing serial killers and criminal psychology. Ford is played by Jonathan Groff known for his more light-hearted roles as Kristoff in “Frozen” and King George in Broadway's “Hamilton”. This show allows him to prove his range as a serious actor. “Mindhunter” features a variety of serial killers including Ed Kemper, Son of Sam, the BTK Strangler, and even Charles Manson who is portrayed by the same actor that played him in Quentin Tarantino's “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. If you’re looking for a show that lets you get a peek inside the minds of some of the most well-known serial killers, then check out this Netflix original right now!

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