T V series adapted from books

5 popular T.V series adapted from books

There is always a constant tussle between book lovers and telly watchers. You constantly hear the book lovers complaining how the book was better and how the show just ruined it for them. For which the show watchers aggressively shoo them away fearing spoilers. Why does this sound familiar? That’s because we have all been there and done that. Here is a list of 5 popular T.V series adapted from books for you. If you have read the books, its time for you to watch the series and judge; and if you have watched the shows, its time you read the novels. While you are at it, here is a list of top 11 books to read while on a holiday.



There is no way that this epic fantasy novel not be featured in this list. The book A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin is turning out to be the latest point of contention between the readers and the watchers of the same story. Game of thrones has broken all the records in every way possible. The fantasy genre, which was once hailed as the nerd zone, has now gone beyond that demographic as non-nerds have fallen hard for it as well. For the uninitiated, the story is about an all-out dynastic war between several families to control the fictional land of Westeroes. The book was planned to be published in seven volumes with the sixth one still being written. What is interesting is that the HBO series Game of thrones is ahead of R. R. Martins book series. And the show watchers can’t be any happier, as this time the tables have turned and they are well ahead of the book lovers. Games of thrones spoilers are notoriously famous for breaking friendships and even families in some cases. If you haven’t already, grab your copy of the book and start reading now. Or, you could watch the series first, whichever one works for you, but you must experience the pain, loss, anger, surprise and questioning of your existence that comes with the ‘GOT fandom, for yourself.

T.V series adapted from books


Has to be there in the list! Who hasn’t read Sir Arthur Connan Doyle Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This fictional detective was everyones favorite while growing up. This much loved fictional character has a Guinness World Record to his name for being the most portrayed character in history. Such is his popularity that there are a number of fan societies such as the Holmesian game that attempts to uncover the true identities of Mr. Holmes and his biographer friend Watson. The books are mostly narrated by Dr. Watson, except four stories. Pop culture has heavily borrowed from Sir Doyle’s works and his work has been adapted into multiple stage plays, radio shows, video games, movies and TV shows. You would be surprised by the sheer number of Sherlock-inspired shows in the recent times alone the most famous one being the Sherlock series by BBC, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, respectively. The series set in the present day, retains most of the basic characters like Professor Moriarty, Irene Adler, Mrs. Hudson etc. The American drama series Elementary is again a procedural drama that has Jonny Lee Miller playing Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu, who plays Dr. Joan Watson. Again, set in the present day, the show takes place in New York, where Sherlock relocates after his fall from grace in London. The list does not end there, there are several other T.V series that borrow elements from Sir Doyle’s work, as his stories are clever and has a sense of nostalgia attached to it.

T.V series adapted from books



This American comedy drama series is based on the book of the same name by Piper Keman. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at a federal correction facility, Kerman becomes an inmate and learns to live through the difficult experiences of the women’s prison. The story is a memoir of a young Piper Kerman, who is sent to an infamous correction center for 15 months for drug trafficking and money laundering. Netflix picked this successful book and turned it into a comedy-drama, loosely based on Kermans life. This series has become a huge success on its own and has added to the popularity of the book. Played by Taylor Schilling, and set in the fictional Litchfield correction center, it follows Piper Chapmans (Kerman to Chapman) petty battles with abusive guards, bureaucracy and her inmates constant battles with the treatment that the women prisoners face. There are elements that are unique to the show like the hunt for a mythical chicken. The series stays true to the comedy drama genre whereas the book being more of a memoir. Currently renewed for the fifth season, the series has received six Golden Globe Award nominations and various other awards for its outstanding screenplay and adaptation.

T.V series adapted from books



This American political drama, currently in its fifth season, is probably the most famous political drama ever. Frank Underwood, the scheming, conniving, stylish, manipulative, power hungry, House majority whip is played by Kevin Spacey. After being passed on for the role of the Secretary of State, Underwood initiates an elaborate plan to get to a more powerful post. Aiding him in his elaborate plan is his wife Claire Underwood, played by the stellar Robin Wright. The most exciting element of this series that makes it a must watch is, Kevin Spacey breaking the fourth wall (read: Fourth wall) by looking into the camera and making snide comments to the audience. It takes a while to get used to the character talking to us, but after a point you get hooked. The series is adapted from BBC’s mini-series of the same name. What most viewers do not know is that both these shows are loosely-based on the novel House of Cards by Micheal Dobbs. In a case of complete reversal, the Netflix series led to the popularity of the book, with even Amazon listing it as House of Cards: The Dark Political Thriller That Inspired the Hit Netflix Series. The book follows the story of Francis Urquhart, the chief whip who schemes and plots to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The author, Micheal Dobbs, who was the former advisor to Margaret Thatcher and a Conservative Party Chief of Staff, gives us inside scoop about the twists and turns of British politics in this book. A must read and a must watch if you like smartly written dramas.

T.V series adapted from books



This American young adult novel series written by Cecily von Ziegesar revolves around the lives of a few privileged teenagers from the fictional Constance Billard School for Girl, an elite private school in New York. The story revolves around best friends Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, whose experiences are covered by an anonymous gossip blogger who calls herself/himself Gossip Girl. The first novel was released in 2002 and the eleventh one of the series was published in 2007. The underlying element of the novel is that the secret identity of the Gossip Girl is never revealed. Reactions to the books were mixed as many readers felt that the book did not showcase the lives of typical American teenagers, but of a bunch of spoilt, elite teenagers. While the others opined that, the Gossip Girl series made the American teen girls take up reading. One of the most famous novels in the Young Adult Genre, the book was adapted into a TV series in 2007 and successfully aired for six seasons on The CW. The main characters, Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf are portrayed by Blake Lively and Leighton Meester respectively. The series starts with Serena returning to Manhattan after a mysterious hiatus and what follows after her sudden reappearance is the rest of the story with a lot of teenage melodrama. The interesting point to note in the series is that all the episodes are based on the name of a film or a novel. For example, the Epsiode Easy J was named after the hit movie Easy A and all the episodes end with the typical teenage signage XOXO. The series went on to collect a number of People’s choice and Teen choice awards and became a worldwide sensation that it spawned several international adaptations.

T.V series adapted from books


Now that you know these books and the corresponding TV series, tell us which ones you liked. The book or the series? The debate between the book readers and the show watchers is always fun to witness and sometimes even partake.

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Aishwarya Mukundarajan

Aishwarya is an MBA graduate from Symbiosis International University, Pune. When asked what her hobbies are she points to an overflowing bookcase.

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