What Literary Classics Would Make the Best Modern TV Adaptations?

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These days TV fans simply cannot get enough of modernized literary properties. From ABC's Revenge, and its retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, to CBS's Sherlock-Holmes-reboot-with-a-female-Watson Elementary, networks just love dusting off old tales to create flashy new stories (Once Upon a Time, much?). But before this trend ends, hopefully we'll get a chance to see a few more titles get the ol' "adapted for the masses" treatment, what with prettier main characters, sleeker settings, and an overall hipness. From laugh-out-loud comedies to steamy, creamy dramas, these ain't your mom and dad's masterpieces...


Don Quixote

Old Premise: Delusional Spanish dreamer thinks he's a knight and gets into all sorts of misadventures with a knucklehead sidekick.

New Premise: A lunatic Spanish grandfather and his aimless teenage grandson take on the vicious street gangs of East L.A. ...with hilarious results.

Pilot: Expelled from Windmill Retirement Home for eccentric vandalism, Donald Quixote (Edward James Olmos) must go live with his working-class daughter (America Ferrara) and her aimless teenage son, Sancho (Jake T. Austin). At first his insanity is a strain on the household, with antics like wearing the recyclables as a suit of armor simply embarrassing everyone, but eventually his old-world charm helps Quixote protect the family from corner toughs, El Hoyo Maravilla.

Season Arc: Quixote develops a one-sided romance with local cake maker Dulcinea (Rosie Perez) and founds a community center for outcasts and would-be psychopaths.

Hip New Title: D.Q.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Old Premise: Disfigured recluse falls in love with a tragic, free-spirited gypsy.

New Premise: Quick-witted hunchback chiropractor struggles to run a small business in the Notre Dame college town of South Bend, Indiana.

Pilot: When a late mentor leaves him a chiropractic practice, unlucky hunchback Dr. Luke Quasimodo (Matthew Lawrence) uproots his big-city life to move to Indiana and gain the trust—and business—of college students and academic residents alike. There's only one problem: His alma mater is USC and the practice is located in a crumbling cathedral. A gruff building-code inspector (Michael Chiklis) tries shutting down the business for political reasons, and Quasimodo is ready to give it all up—until spunky World Arts and Culture student Esmeralda (Olivia Thirlby) catches his eye.

Season Arc: Quasimodo installs a giant bell at the top of the cathedral, and kisses Esmeralda during the inaugural ring, only to find out she's carrying the building inspector's baby.

Hip New Title: The Bell Curve


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Old Premise: Respectable gentlemen leads a double life as a killer monstrosity.

New Premise: A kind-hearted Denver stockbroker with a split personality must rely on his murderous second self for hot trading tips.

Pilot: Hank Jekyll (Hunter Parrish) has always been a good Colorado samaritan, donating huge sums of money to a children's hospital named after his late wife and son. When a mysterious cocktail turns him into a vicious brute, he finds himself at the center of an insider-trading scandal—and loving it. Trading under the name of Eddie Hyde, he gains the attention of a secret society of moneymen led by the elusive Gabriel Utterson (Neal McDonough), who introduces Jekyll's dangerous alias to the seedy underground of the stock market. But will fast cars and even faster women cause Hyde to take over for good?

Season Arc: Jekyll becomes President of the United Nations General Assembly after Hyde cannibalizes the former title holder.

Hip New Title: $PLIT


Moll Flanders

Old Premise: Gold-digging con artist repeatedly marries in and out of fortune, bearing children and scheming along the way.

New Premise: Gold-digging con artist repeatedly marries in and out of fortune, bearing children and scheming along the way... in the year 2083

Pilot: Down-on-her-luck Molly Flanders (Eliza Dushku) is a genetically enhanced courier for the mega-corporation UltraNex who abandons her biologically ordained destiny to seek fortune in the NetherColonies while pregnant with a half-hologram, half-cyborg baby. There's just one problem: She's being followed by an army of hover-chimps bent on bringing her to justice before the League of Mutant Elders! Accompanied by a smooth-talking marauder (Ethan Peck), Molly must con and cheat her way past the Death Borders into a world of sewer pirates and laser fairies, all while seeking out the father of her unborn infant holoborg.

Season Arc: Molly becomes the face of a revolution, uniting the NetherColonies and sparking a war with the Mutant Elders in the Realm of the Other.

Hip New Title: MOLLY 6.0


The Wife of Bath's Tale

Old Premise: Mystical hag teaches a jerk knight what women really want.

New Premise: A pair of British coeds—one descended from an actual hag, and the other a slacker son of a disgraced knight—team up to solve brutal crimes in New York City.

Pilot: Facing eviction, genius Women's Studies professor and performance artist Trisha (Victoria Justice) takes in the only available roommate she can find—a slovenly chauvinist named Lester (Alex Pettyfer). While at first they butt heads, a shared interest in the murder of a bartender at hip local cocktail lounge The Milliner brings the two together. However, Lester's crude attitude toward the opposite sex just might drive them apart.

Season Arc: Trisha uses her background in performance art to assume a variety of disguises while the two discover their landlord Mr. Canterbury has filled the tenement with other members of the famous Canterbury Tales, each with a secret darker than the next.

Hip New Title: Bath Time


Medea

Old Premise: A barbarian woman loses her husband to a young princess, then murders the new woman with a poison dress and strangles her own children.

New Premise: Divorce lawyer takes justice into her own hands, offering revenge-for-hire services to single mothers who've been failed by the Chicago legal system.

Pilot: Nicknamed "The Barbarian" for her no-nonsense ways, Maddie Law (Patricia Richardson) takes on the pro bono case of a wronged wife (Amanda Bynes) while under investigation for the mysterious death of her own children... by ex-husband and heroic police chief Jason (Kyle Maclachlan).

Season Arc: Maddie confesses to the murder of her own children... who are found alive at a Greek orphanage.

Hip New Title: Courting Maddie


BONUS: If networks can base shows on Twitter feeds, why not a series rooted in ancient cave paintings, too?

Old Premise: Venus figurines stand by some running animals. Also fire.

New Premise: Plucky archaeologist/sexual adventurer kills her own food and sells cords of chopped wood in a remote logging town.

Pilot: Feisty archaeologist Vivian Cave (Felicity Huffman) is transplanted to the boring town of Anacortes, WA to investigate an extinct underground civilization. However, the group of subterranean Eskimos may still be thriving—and planning an attack on the world above. While hunting for her own meat one night, she makes love to a sultry forest drifter (Tom Welling) who holds the keys to the mysterious peoples down below, and invites her to join the cause...

Season Arc: Vivian becomes queen of the tunnel Inuits and learns how to astral-project through time and space using magic snow.

Hip New Title: Caving In!



So there it is, folks, the future of TV, brought to you by the past. What famous stories would YOU like to see adapted for primetime?