One of these 14 TV shows your new obsession? Read the book next
Finished Watching? Read the Book!
Whether it's an acclaimed new superhero show, a prestige limited series sparking conversations over cocktails, or a wild new sci-fi bender getting binged within a few days, chances are at least one of 2018's new book-to-TV adaptations has become your new obsession. We've rounded up 14 of our favorites, because for those who just can't get enough of the story, there's always a book to turn to next.
Patrick Melrose by Edward St Aubyn
Edward St Aubyn's semi-autobiographical dark satire masterfully dissects the trappings of English upper-class as we are led through the life of Patrick Melrose. We first meet the protagonist as a child being abused by his father, and follow him throughout his life as he overcomes heroin addiction and experiences fatherhood. Benedict Cumberbatch will take on the role in the Showtime series Patrick Melrose, set to premiere on Showtime on May 12.
Howards End by E. M. Forster
James Ivory directed the first adaptation of E. M. Forster’s beloved novel to Oscar-winning success. While his movie successfully set its focus on buried desire, the new Starz miniseries, written by Manchester by the Sea's Kenneth Lonergan and directed by Hettie MacDonald, highlights the socioeconomic and cultural clashes of three intertwined families. The series remains true to the intentions of the novel while proving relevant for a modern audience.
Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings
The cat-and-mouse spy construct is hardly a new one — yet Killing Eve writer and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge brings an enticingly fresh take on the genre, a darkly humorous thriller perfect for the #MeToo era. For those enticed by the Sandra Oh-fronted drama, Luke Jennings' series on which it's based provides juicy companion reading. The first novel, Codename Villanelle, has newly been released stateside.
End of the F***ing World by Charles Forsman
Jonathan Entwistle’s pitch-black Netflix comedy is a delightful take on Charles Forsman's award-winning graphic novels of the same name. There's plenty more murderous-escapist fare to be found in the books.
Black Lightning: Year One by Cully Hamner and Jen Van Meter
The newest addition to the CW DC universe, Black Lightning is more than a superhero show; it's a compelling meditation on race in America, with an act of police brutality the impetus for high school principal Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) to put on the Black Lighting suit once again after a nine-year hiatus. The show not only looks at race, but also at the trappings of growing up in a lower class community, sexuality and family. And it's all rooted in the source material: The Black Lighting comics have long brought a fresh perspective to the superhero genre that is greatly appreciated.
The Terror by Dan Simmons
This psychological thriller, based on the Dan Simmons novel of the same name, follows the British crews aboard HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which both famously went missing while searching for the Northwest Passage. Simmons received a British Fantasy Award nomination for his fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition.
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
This 9/11 drama is adapted from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, published in 2006, taking a deep dive into the rise of Al-Qaeda and the role that the FBI and CIA’s lack of cooperation with one another may have played in not uncovering the terrorist attack in time. The Hulu series, starring Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard, puts the focus squarely on the American players and tension between the agencies, sidelining the majority of the book, which showcased many Middle Eastern voices and perspectives.
Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth
After a hit first season, Ryan Murphy announced that American Crime Story would be dramatizing the events leading up to fashion icon Gianni Versace’s murder. Maureen Orth’s acclaimed book, published in 1999, served as the source material for the season, plenty of which didn't make it into the final cut.
Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick
The impact of sci-fi mastermind Philip K. Dick has been felt across pop culture for years. His stories have inspired such works as Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, and Man in the High Castle. Most recently, Amazon pulled inspiration from a number of Dick’s short stories for the Bryan Cranston-produced anthology series Electric Dreams. While the series is flooded with star power — starring Terrence Howard, Greg Kinnear, Janelle Monáe and more — critics have not wholly embraced it. The stories, however, are universally acclaimed.
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
After 15 years of no luck, Netflix finally financed Laeta Kalogridis’ ambitious 10-episode adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 cyberpunk novel. The original book, a dystopian thriller, secured great reviews and a huge following off of its Hugo Award win, making the TV version long-anticipated.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Caleb Carr’s bestselling historical crime novel takes place in the Gilded Age of New York City. With its rich atmospheric detail and compelling characters, it’s no surprise that the film rights were purchased before the book was even released in 1994. After 24 years, the novel finally got the adaptation Carr hoped for in the form of a TNT drama. The book remains a seminal favorite, however, far outranking the show in popularity.
Drama High by Michael Sokolove
Author Michael Sokolove says he wasn’t exactly surprised when his acclaimed book Drama High was adapted into the NBC series Rise. The book recounts the life of legendary drama teacher Lou Volpe and the impact he had on his students. Volpe was known for his boundary-pushing productions in the small, economically devastated town of Levittown, Pennsylvania. The school’s drama department acted as a pilot program for many more controversial productions, including Rent, Spring Awakening, and Les Misérables. The show tries to match the book's spirit, but there's nothing like the extraordinary story Sokolove tells.
McMafia by Misha Glenny
From a book with mixed reviews to a show with mixed reviews, McMafia, while good surface-level entertainment, struggled to live up to the bar of its globe-trotting production. BBC One recently renewed the show for a second season, but AMC, where it airs in the US, has yet to say if they will bring back the show for a second season.
Stalling for Time by Gary Noesner
Gary Noesner’s riveting memoir recounts his 30-year career working as a crisis negotiator for the FBI, highlighting several cases that he worked on throughout the years. Paramount Network’s Waco focuses on Noesner’s most detailed account, dramatizing the 51-day Waco siege in 1993 of the Branch Davidians. A charismatic performance from Friday Night Lights alum Taylor Kitsch has lifted visibility on the drama. (Note: Waco also drew from A Place Called Waco by David Thibodeau & Leon Whiteson.)