Monday, June 7, 2010

TV Based on Books

Pretty Little Liars

Tonight, ABC Family will premiere the TV show Pretty Little Liars based on the best-selling YA series by Sara Shepard. It's the latest in a long line of TV series based on books. I haven't read Pretty Little Liars yet, (despite being in the Pretty Little Liars challenge!) but I'm looking forward to this one.

One of my favorite series of books, the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles books by Tess Gerritsen have also been adapted for television and the show, Rizzoli and Isles, will premiere this July on TNT. (and it's been paired with one of my favorite existing shows, The Closer) I have to admit the casting for this show bothers me as neither character looks like I've imagined. And I love these books, so it's more important to me that the casting be right.

I can't help but think about the success rate of books being made into TV shows. A few of the more successful examples I can think of include, Bones (they radically changed the concept of the book for the show), The Vampire Diaries (they changed the mythology to extend the story), Gossip Girl (a bit hit or miss but the storyline has definitely strayed), and True Blood (which I've never seen).

A couple of recent failed examples include Past Life (based on M.J. Rose's The Reincarnationist) and FlashForward, based on the award winning Robert J. Sawyer sci-fi novel. Part of the reason I think FlashForward failed is because it was so limited in its original concept, that stretching out the storyline became impossible. Fans aren't quite ready to give up on it yet, and have issued a call to action. Unfortunately, I lost interest in this show, and don't really care if it never comes back.

It all makes me think about what books I think might make good TV shows. I'd definitely be up for seeing more of L.J. Smith's work made into TV shows, I think her stories and characters lend themselves to ongoing television well. I'd also love to see Carrie Vaughan's Kitty series as a TV show...I feel like there's a great deal of potential there for episodic and season long story-telling. I'd also love another good dystopian show like Dark Angel, any books we could base it on?

What's your favorite TV show based on a book or series of books? What books do you think would adapt well to episodic story-telling?


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