Books lend themselves to being really easy to be adapted into movies, but the same can't be said for TV shows. The limited source material has to go through an awful lot of changes, lengthening, editing etc. be readily adaptable to be converted into a show. In this process sometimes the shows can lose the essence of the book or recreate its own essence different from the source. In the end it really depends upon the show how it pulls of the story and if its able to attract viewers as many of the shows fans are the ones who haven't ever read the book.

Some of these shows fall flat on their backs from the get go and are downright terrible.


Some are great and are destined to be great forever.



While some others start great and go downhill from there.



Despite some of the failures TV shows based on books are now the rage and are only going to increase in numbers and quality due to their success. Till then sound off your own best and worst TV shows based on books in comments.

Also, Check out this cool new trailer of FX's The Strain based on a novel by Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

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I remember when book adaptions wound up as mini-series. There's a number of good classic mini-series based upon books. Game of Thrones does well because it's essentially a series of mini-series.

Generally, as long as the TV producers stick relatively close to the books they tend to work out well, because the book writer has spent the time developing a proper plot. Although it's often a body of work that gets made into a TV series, such as Haven which uses material from a number of King's stories. In fact Haven and Under the Dome make for a good comparison showing that quality is not necessarily due to the original writer.

And If you redefine "book" to include comics, you then get into a whole slew of superhero stories. But it tends to be that material that has a series of works which lends itself to something as long as a TV series rather than a movie or mini-series. If Game of Thrones was based on one book alone it would be over by now.



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Having read "The Strain"... it could actually make for a decent series.

But if someone doesn't turn "The Passage" into a movie or television show soon, something is severely wrong with the media moguls of our world---that's gotta be the most cinematic book I've read in years.
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A lot of "original" shows on HBO and Showtime are based on books, like True Blood, Game of Thrones, and Dexter.
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I kinda wish somebody new would do a new adaption on the Dresden Files. That show though it was ok I think it would be great if it was on Like HBO or Showtim
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I think you are right. Book to TV adaptations rarely work. I'm trying to think of one (other than Game of Thrones) and I'm coming up blank. It's strange, because there are endless examples of movies based on books. I guess this really is one of those things where the medium does make the difference. It's like how sci-fi/fantasy are the biggest box office movies yet on TV this genre has a limited audience with poor-OK ratings.
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There's also The Vampire Diaries, which was based in the a few of the worst books I have ever read and turned out to be a great tv show, since the creators pretty much took the very essence of the books and built upon that on the show, making for an incredibly surprising twisty-turny thriller, even if it has its teen side. The second season of TVD is amazing! You might disagree, though, and that's fine :)
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blah, I can't believe I forgot Haven! It's loosely based on the short story (which I haven't read) The Colorado Kid, but it incorporates many aspects of Stephen King's other novels.
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Witches of East End ... the series is surprisingly ok, never could put myself through the books, though.

And I remember the Dresden Files, boy was that a while ago. But still. Love the books!! Series was not so good. Jim Butcher deserved better!
What I really would like to see as a series ins Faith Hunters Skinwalker novels. Its about time for an ass-kicking heroine. I've had enough of female douche-bags like TVDs Elena and Bittens Elena and alls those warm-washed people. Bring me some native american vampire hunter!
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Yeas totally, I hate the Elenas and Bellas of the Vampire worlds. How good is a vampire who lives without drinking human blood. It's like telling someone to live by eating leaves. You would survive but wouldn't want to. Haven't we got extremely selfless vampires around us? This is why I'm really looking forward to The Strain where Vampires hunt humans as is their instinct and we kill them back as is our right.
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Very rarely does a TV show (or movie for that matter) live up to the source material. The only book adaptations that I've enjoyed are the ones where I haven't read the book/s first.
Nothing compares to our imaginations and the world we create in our minds whilst experiencing a good book/s.
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I would disagree, Harry Potter lived up to my expectations. Sometimes it was greater than my imagination, sometimes it was less. So as a whole it was just right. Hunger games caught up to the range of its source material in Catching Fire. Still I would agree that I can't think of any other adaptation quite as great as the book!
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true... and not to forget Sherlock, though modernized and improvised considerably, is also based on a book series! and well, at least I can't get over it any time soon...
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Mentioning Sherlock, Jeremy Brett's version is my favourite version, but how could I have forgotten David Suchet's Poirot!
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As you've brought up films, I've got two for you that I thought were great book adaptations: The Color Purple and The Green Mile?
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Agreed!!! I've read both books and I thin they were adapted very well to the screen. I'd add The Shawshank Redemption to the list as well.
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I've watched Colour Purple and that movie was great, but I can't really tell you how good of an adaptation it was as I haven't read the book.
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Dexter was also based on books but didn't stay true to them
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It did get down in quality in seasons 6 through 8.
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  1. Best - ...Game of Thrones is great, but I wanna say Justified (Technically though, those are loosely based on Leonard's short stories ). Love what they've done with Raylan.
    Worst - Hands down, Under the Dome. Such a letdown from the beginning. I understand that some authors are ok with screenwriters deviating from their original stories in order to try something new (Neil Gaiman, for example, approved changes in Stardust) , but the changes in Under the Dome were pure garbage. I hear that 11/22/63 might be turned into a television series. For the love of god Mr. King, YOUR SOURCE MATERIAL IS GREAT. PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM CHANGE YOUR CHARACTERS FOR THE WORSE!
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I'm glad you said it---with the ratings it's been getting, I thought I was the only person in the world who thought Under the Dome was a terrible, insulting, nigh obscene defilement of the source material :P
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Yeah I totally forgot about Under The Dome, it was so terrible I couldn't watch it after the 15 minutes of the pilot. I totally agree. Much worse than The Lying Game
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Under The Dome fits the "fall flat on their backs" category.
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Putting Bitten under highly disappointing and downright tedious wouldn't be far of from the truth
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For me Bitten is watchable...while at the same time disappointing. To be honest, I didn't really expect much when I saw which writer/producer was adapting this series. If you don't have a really strong adaptation to build on everything else is going to be weak. And even though Kelley had some input into the TV series...she's just the novelist, not the screenwriter. I really wish they had a more experienced production team behind Bitten.
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Not to mention the godawful CGI... I mean that fight scene in episode 2 was plain torture and the wolf animation looks like something out of a kids show only with slight improvements
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Never watched that show. Just couldn't care about it.
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you're doing yourself a favor.
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