Books That Deserve Another Shot On TV

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Possibly more than we realize, many TV shows are based on books.

Often the same books get readapted over and over again as new TV shows -- think of how many TV series Sherlock Holmes alone spawned.

It's a good thing because far too often the TV adaptation can't measure up to the books, isn't given enough time to find an audience, or could benefit from an update.

Books to TV

Based on George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire series, Game of Thrones was a mega-hit but ended its run as one of TV's greatest disappointments.

Why did the series crash and burn like King's Landing on Game of Throne Season 8 Episode 5?

In general, the more faithful Game of Thrones was to the books, the better the TV series was. You can easily see this from the unevenness of Game of Thrones Season 2.

Tyrion's storyline as the acting Hand of the King in charge of defending King's Landing from Stannis Baratheon's forces adhered closely to the novels and was the best of the season.

Jon and Dany's storylines beyond the Wall and in Qarth were not so faithfully depicted, and they were major misfires.

Once the TV series went past the events of the published material, it kept declining in quality all to way to the trainwreck of a series finale known as Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6.

Prisoner - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6

It's early to be talking about a remake, especially with a prequel series in development, but the A Song Of Ice And Fire novels should get another television adaptation someday.

The characters and the fans deserve a better TV show than what we received.

Hopefully, the remake will happen after all the novels are published, so whoever adapts them has a clear and full picture of the story.

Moreso, whoever remakes it needs to understand the characters and the themes of the story, as failing to do so why was a large reason why Game of Thrones ultimately failed.

Like Game of Thrones, Dexter was a TV series based on a series of books that weren't all published at the time the TV series began and finished airing. Before Dexter premiered, only the first two Dexter books were published.

Dexter Season 1 was largely based on the first Dexter novel. The subsequent seasons did not follow the books.

This did not harm Dexter as much as not following the books harmed Game of Thrones.

Dexter Season 2 showed the TV series could stand on its own. John Lithgow's stint as Arthur Mitchell on Dexter Season 4 elevated the show.

Arthur the Trinity - Dexter

Despite the highs of the TV series, Dexter is mostly remembered for the lows, especially its infamous series finale (Dexter Season 8 Episode 12), where the title character becomes a lumberjack.

The last Dexter novel was published after the TV series finished, and its ending is very different. Erasing the image of Dexter as a lumberjack is a enough of a reason for Dexter to get a do-over.

True Blood was based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris.

It's another example of the books being much better than the show. 

True Blood Season 1 did a good job of staying true to the books. True Blood Season 2 went off the rails, and the series didn't recover. 

The TV series didn't delve enough into the mystery aspect of the series. The vampire politics were different.

The TV series didn't even try to capture the books' sense of humor.

The only good adaptational change was keeping Lafayette alive.

Sookie in Black - True Blood Season 7 Episode 10

All the other characters were screwed. Sookie was more likable in the books. Sam's backstory was mutilated. Important characters like Quinn were completely omitted.  

Then there's the awful depiction of fairies. Instead of bringing the drama like their book counterparts, True Blood's fairies were jokes.

The complete disregard of the fairy lore the books set up and making Sookie's telepathy a fairy power contributed to the nonsense. 

If The Southern Vampire Mysteries ever does get another TV adaptation, there's a lot of material to be mined from the books that will prevent it from being a retread.

Another TV adaptation of a Charlaine Harris series that did not fare well was Midnight, Texas.

The premise is the eponymous town is a haven for psychics, vampires, and others with connections to the supernatural.

It only ran for two seasons. Some found it be a worse, more PG knock-off of True Blood. Others found it fun and charming.

It should get another adaptation because there are more stories to be had with its premise and its characters.

Angel in Midnight - Midnight, Texas

Preferably it would happen on cable or a streaming service to prevent a repeat of network TV limiting its potential.  

If you're more interested in mobsters than in vampires, The Last Don (authored by Mario Puzo of The Godfather fame) seems ripe for another adaptation.

The Last Don is a story about how a blood feud between cousins threatens the Clericuzo Family's plan to go legitimate (and that's a very simplified summary). 

It aired as a TV miniseries in 1997 and spawned a sequel for the following year.

It's a novel whose adaptation would benefit from a longer runtime as opposed to cramming the entire story into three parts aired over three nights.

It would also benefit from being created in a post The Sopranos world.

The Last Don touches upon a lot of psychological issues.

If a second TV adaptation allowed itself to delve deep into those topics with as much care as The Sopranos did, it could be better than the novel. 

Over to you, TV Fanatics!

What other previously adapted books deserve another TV adaptation?

Or did you really enjoy the versions we've already noted above?

Hit the comments below.

Becca Newton wis a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in February of 2023

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