Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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This topic was submitted by Nushu @ Not A Prima Donna Girl and is an interesting one: not all books make a good drama, or are capable of being dramatised and there have been some cracking dramas on TV: the BBC has done great things with Normal People, The Luminaries, A Suitable Boy and Good Omens. In terms of the sorts of Netflix I watch: I do like fantasy especially quirkier fantasy like Locke and Key and The Umbrella Academy although I haven’t got into The Witcher yet; and crime is always good, shows like Line of Duty, The Fall, and Unforgotten seem like good fodder although not Netflix originals. There is an appetite for historical drama so lets see how we can approach this through genre.

So what do I think would make a great series? Something visually striking because television is ultimately a very visual medium, with a cracking pace, a strong sense of place and an episodic style. Of course, it would have to have compelling characters and ideally pass the Bechdel test – and a weight to it to last a series.

Fantasy

The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon

Three reasons it would work:

  • kick-ass heroines – dragon riding warriors and magic wielding nuns
  • great action scenes
  • a vivid sense of place with a range of different palettes for the cinematography.

In fact, the scope of a series might help to flesh out some of the history and mythology a little more.

The Winternight series, Katherine Arden

Three reasons it would work:

  • Vasya – Vasilisa Petrovna – a wonderful independent wilful heroine
  • The breadth of the mythology within it with rusalka, dvorovoi, bannik  and of course Morozko, Medved and Baba Yaga.
  • The wonderful sense of place from the rural village Lesnaya Zemlya to Moscow to the paths within the otherworld.

Rotherweird trilogy, Andrew Caldecott

Three reasons it would work:

  • A great sense of place in a cut-off quirky village in England;
  • A wide and diverse cast of quirky individuals including teachers, shopkeepers, mayors, and molemen and ferretmen
  • A hugely fun and sinister sense of otherness in the alternate dimension of Lost Acre

Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo

Three reasons it would work:

  • Magic and university campus and secret societies – it is a grown up Buffy and so much better than The Order which Netflix already did!
  • Interesting and very visual – and literally visceral – forms of magic;
  • Alex was an interesting and great protagonist.

The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher

Three reasons it should have worked better than the Paul Blackthorne series:

  • Heavily plot focussed and full of action – there already was no need to deviate as far from the plots of the books at the TV series did
  • A magic system which would work really well on screen – and we know that there is an appetite for werewolves, vampires, magicians … and I am sure zombie T-Rexs!
  • And Dresden – who doesn’t love the hardboiled detective trope?

The Rivers of London series, Ben Aaronovitch

Three reasons it would work:

  • Wonderfully embedded in the geography of London – so much so that the locations are given genii loci in order to walk and talk on the streets, and fall in love with local policemen;
  • Again, a sense of magic that would work well on screen;
  • A narrative arc which is essentially police procedural, with additional magic.

Crime

The Dublin Murder Squad, Tana French

Three reasons it should have worked better than the RTE / BBC Adaptation:

  • Wonderful settings, whether it be the wildness of the woods, a privileged all-girls school, a traditional working class street or a half-abandoned housing estate;
  • Great characters whose relationships with each other are as gripping as the crimes they uncover – and great writing about intense relationships which did not come across strongly enough in the recent adaptation;
  • A real and genuinely creepy Gothic atmosphere.

The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman

Three reasons it would work:

  • Great cast of septuagenarian characters, as Osman’s eponymous club is part of life in a retirement village – a little stereotypical perhaps in places but very warmly crafted;
  • A lovely sense of place in the Kent countryside – although I am a little biased as that is where I grew up!
  • A cosy mystery – ideal for a Sunday night

Historical

The Mitford Murders series, Jessica Fellowes

Three reasons it would work:

  • Cosy detective drama mixing real historical characters and events with drama – always fun!
  • Set between the World Wars, in high society, this could feature gorgeous set pieces and costumes;
  • The Mitford Sisters are pretty iconic wild dangerous siblings.

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

Three reasons it would work:

  • The Todd family and their home is so wonderfully described and lived here – a (somewhat privileged upper middle class) very British Edenic life
  • The intricacies of the plot, as Ursula Todd is born and dies and reborn again and again – slowly coming to realise the bizarre nature of her life – a structure which might work well in an episodic format;
  • Kate Atkinson’s writing – it is sublime and there is already an adaptation of the Jackson Brodie series (which I have not seen).

So these are my top ten possible Netflix series – a tricky task for someone who doesn’t watch that much TV: I do tend to spend more time flicking through Netflix grumbling that there is nothing on than actually watching anything!

I am looking forward to hearing your views and recommendations too so please do drop me a comment!

Forthcoming Top Ten Tuesday Topics

  • August 25: Questions I Would Ask My Favorite Authors (Living or dead. You can post 10 questions for one author, one question each for 10 different authors, or anything else!)
  • September 1: Books that Make Me Hungry (They could have food items on the cover, foods in the title, be about foodies or have food as a main plot point… they could be cookbooks or memoirs, etc.)
  • September 8: Books for My Younger Self (These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.)
  • September 15: Cover Freebie (choose your own topic, centered on book covers or cover art)
  • September 22: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere)
  • September 29: Favorite Book Quotes (these could be quotes from books you love, or bookish quotes in general)

22 comments

  1. Sadly I haven’t read any of these, although several are on my TBR, but for the reasons you give, I think they all sound like they could make great TV shows. And having really enjoyed Locke & Key and The Witcher, I hope you’re able to get into the latter too. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Dublin Murder Squad series would make a great adaptation. I still need to read them (they’re waiting on my shelf) but maybe an adaptation would force me to finally start them. 😃

    Like

  3. I agree that a reboot of the Dresden Files as a series would be awesome. Not sure if you could do one season per book as another fantasy show did….because then we’re in for 25 seasons. 🙂

    And I can’t believe I forgot Rivers of London on my list! That’s a great choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always look forward to your posts – I love the thought that you put into each one….much more than most of us! 🙂 Or, I had some of the same thoughts, just didn’t articulate them as well as you. And every week I get at least one new addition to my TBR. I’ve only read the first in the Butcher series but loved it and keep forgetting to read on – this is a good reminder. I’ve read all Tana French and agree with you on that score and Ninth House made my list as well. I’m so glad you participate….I’ll be back next week!

    Liked by 1 person

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