More Shows We Want From the Worlds of Neil Gaiman

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Adapting literature for television is the sharpest of double-edged swords.

Popular and well-loved texts come with a built-in fan base but they also come with the most fanatical of critics.

Related: Book to TV Adaptations -- The Good, The Bad, and the WTH were They Thinking?

Neil Gaiman's fans may be some of the most excitable and voracious mobs around.

Over the last couple of decades, his work has been adapted for stage and film as well as television to varying degrees of praise and ire.

Currently, on television, Starz has renewed American Gods for a third season while Amazon Prime Video released the complete Good Omens series on May 31st.

Good Omens Poster

However, these two series just scratch the surface of Gaiman's incredibly diverse bibliography. His writing is full of worlds, adventures, and characters just waiting to be actualized on our TV screens.

1) The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

Although there were rumblings of a film adaptation of the tale of Nobody (aka "Bod") Owens back in 2013, nothing's come of it and that's probably because the book would be much better served as a television series. 

Since the book is eight chapters long, but each chapter is a short story about Bod set two years after the previous chapter, wouldn't it makes sense for eight feature-length episodes, something Sherlock-like? 

Why does everything have to be understandable? Why can't some things be unacceptable, and we just say that?

John

With Bod growing up between episodes, it would allow for recasting and even a change in director, allowing each story to have its own feel and style.

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It's fabulous material to work with, beginning with the death of Bod's family at the hands of a murderer known only as "Jack" and involving ghosts, werewolves, reformed vampires, and something known as the "Sleer."

Along the way, Bod learns some supernatural skills and makes friends with both living and undead folks. What's not to like?

2) Neverwhere

Neverwhere

That would be my personal choice to be adapted next into a television series. The BBC produced a six-episode mini-series in 1996, but with all the advancements in special effects in the last 20 years, a new production would be BONKERS.

A fantastical adventure in the world of London Below, peopled by magical monarchs, fearsome faceless warriors, and all those that we mundane people cannot fathom and therefore do not see, Neverwhere follows Richard Mayhew as his good intentions get him embroiled in a power play by unknown forces.

Casting should be a snap as the 2013 BBC Radio 4 all-star radio play was voiced by the likes of James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer.

Neverwhere Radio Play Cast

Being a bit of an Anglophile who lived in London for a time, Gaiman's brilliant reinterpretation of London's Underground Station from simple names to warning labels always thrills the geek-girl in me.

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The Knight of Knightsbridge had better be downright terrifying.

3) Stardust

Stardust

Not to take anything away from the excellent 2007 film adaptation but there is SO MUCH in the novel that a feature-length film couldn't do justice.

Furthermore, the novel is an origin story that sets up a whole world in which it would be quite easy to continue the adventures in Stormhold, Wall, or Faerie.

4) Anansi Boys

Anansi - American Gods

That would be the most sensible adaptation to hit the screens next as the character of Anansi has already been introduced to audiences on American Gods Seasons 1 and American Gods Season 2.

Played to spectacular effect by Orlando Jones, "Mr. Nancy" (as he is known) is the modern form of the African trickster god, Anansi and the 2005 novel chronicles the story of his sons, Fat Charlie and Spider, after the untimely death of their father.

Anasi in His True Form - American Gods Season 2 Episode 1

Despite being dead, Mr. Nancy (Senior) is very much still in play, and I'm sure Jones would have a blast with some of the shenanigans this persona gets up to as the story progresses.

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5) The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I don't actually seeing a television adaptation of this being a direct transfer from the text as the protagonist of the novel is a terribly unreliable narrator, up to and including the conclusion where he has already begun to forget everything that's happened to him in the course of the book.

Oh course, what do I know? After all, I had no idea FX's Legion would play out as well as it did.

A more probable approach is for the show to be focused on the Hempstock family, a clan of magic-wielders who defend the world from supernatural threats.

6) Anthology series based on short stories

Trio of Neil Gaiman Anthology Covers

With the relaunch of The Twilight Zone and the success of shows like Black Mirror and Electric Dreams, it's not hard to imagine an anthology series solely drawn from Gaiman's short fiction.

His stories are full of the weird and wonderful, often drawn from folktales and legend but also with original tales of a surreal and supernatural bent.

There's a couple of salutes to Cthulu lore as well as cameos by familiar Gaiman characters like American Gods' Shadow, Neverwhere's Marquis de Carabas, and the Hempstocks.

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Gaiman's love of literature imbues his writing with familiar references while his imagination blows them up with new perspectives and mind-blowing twists.

With titles from "Fifteen Painted Cards From A Vampire Tarot" to "The Problem on Susan" (you'll NEVER look at The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe the same again), I foresee a series that runs well beyond the seven years of the current champion author-based anthology series, The Ray Bradbury Theatre.

7) Sandman

Sandman/Morpheus

Production companies have been salivating over the potential payday of bringing Gaiman's most definitive work to date to the screen for the past twenty years.

Initially, a film was proposed, but after much back-and-forth, Gaiman went on record that he would rather there be NO Sandman movie versus a bad one. And thus, nothing.

With TEN comic volumes in the original epic published between 1989-96 and a recently published six-part prequel, this is an incredibly rich source material with potential meta-philosophical leanings.

Neil Gaiman as Morpheus

Sandman chronicles the experiences of Morpheus, the anthropomorphization of the concept of Dream, who must reacquaint himself with the world after decades of imprisonment by an immortality-obsessed occultist.

Being an offshoot of the DC Comic-verse, there are opportunities here for appearances by characters like Constantine, Scarecrow, and even Batman.

Furthermore, the Netflix-resurrected series Lucifer is actually a spin-off narrative from Sandman itself so lends itself to some interesting possibilities.

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That is by no means an exhaustive list. I'd also be fully on-board with a TV version of the 2005 film "Mirrormask" or a series that springboards off of the known adventures of Coraline or Timothy Hunter.

Do any of these ideas spark your excitement? Which would you most like to see adapted next?

Do you have ideas of what should be the next Gaiman world we visit? Throw them in the mix in the comments below!

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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