While us bibliophiles usually need to have our books pried from our dead, cold hands, sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than a night of mindless television. But while you're pulling up Hulu or Netflix, why not watch a book then? Here are some books that have been adapted into TV shows or serials; some must-sees, some maybes, and some that'll burn your eyes out and ruin your favorite literature forever.
Sherlock Holmes // Quite the popular book series and an equally popular BBC series, especially if you ask Tumblr. In terms of staying true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's text, it takes liberty with the setting, but if Sir Doyle were to write a modern day Sherlock I'm pretty sure he'd have imagined something pretty close to the sassy persona that Benedict Cumberbatch so aptly acts out.
Angels In America // This two part play was written and widely published in 1993 before being turned into a HBO miniseries in 2003. Though some inevitable cuts had to be made, the translation to TV is done surprisingly well. After all, seeing a female angel crash through the roof of a New York City apartment building and give a gay guy a mind-shattering orgasm just seems to come across more clearly on a TV screen.
Game of Thrones // Considering how
dense the books are and how much is accomplished and conveyed in an hour
long TV show, HBO's Game of Thrones proves to be a pretty loyal adaptation. Plus it has managed to please both book and TV fans. Some even claim that this TV series does the near
impossible: it surpasses the actual books, give or take a CGI dragon or two.
Birdsong // Sebastian Faulks' World War I novel is a modern day classic, and expectations were high for this adaptation. Thankfully, Eddie Redmayne was perfectly cast as the lovelorn, shell-shocked Stephen, and Clémence Poésy should always play beautiful, fragile French heroines. History buffs also praise this serial for its heart-wrenching portrayal of the Battle of the Somme.
Gossip Girl // The
show in itself isn't too bad, long as you're in the mood for an over abundance of cleavage and unrealistic New York City geography. But as a book adaptation, it doesn't really resemble the books
than a few episodes. How dare they leave out the most crucial character: Chuck Bass's pet monkey?
Vampire Diaries // At first the TV show
did stay rather closely linked to the books, but as the
season progressed so did the amount of creative license taken. But if the author, L.J. Smith, is okay
with it then why shouldn't we, the readers, be? The screenwriters seem to know their demographic well, considering the number of shirtless men per episode.
Dexter // A well liked book series and Showtime television show (both of
which are still ongoing). However, the two only seem only loosely related to
one another, especially beyond the first
book and season. But if you watch the show like its protagonist --sans emotions-- you should have no problem with this.
True Blood // Another show that relies heavily on shirtless men and the occasional nipple slip. The book series by Charlaine Harris was full of guilty, campy fun, but the TV show seems more like a weak echo of that. Chalk it up to the horrible accents or the tedious love triangles, but this vampire show could use more sparkle. (But not a sparkly vampire.)
The Carrie Diaries // As if six (relatively good) seasons and two (awful) movies of Carrie Bradshaw wasn't enough, the CW decided to dredge up her past. We know the journey is more important the destination, but are people really compelled to watch, knowing that she'll end up with emotionally distant, commitment-phobe Mr. Big? I guess we'll just have to stick around for the puns.
Beauty & the Beast // An interesting twist on an old fairy tale. Not sure the TV show does
the original story any justice, but in a
way it's oddly transfixing and horrific at the same time.
Either way, it isn't the book or the Disney movie. And apparently all it takes to be a "beast" is some creative facial hair.
The Walking Dead // While a lot of the plot changes in the first season are
understandable, especially given the transition from graphic novel to
TV, the series goes on to do ill justice to the original work. This
proves to be another one of those instances where stand alone, it's a
good enough show, but when thought of in relation to it's inspiration is
a rather weak representation.
Legend of Earthsea // You know you messed up when the book's author "screamed at the sight of it."
Credit: Flickr user libertygrace0. Used with a Creative Commons license.
Written by Rebecca Hoffman.