Originally published on Set The Tape
Television series based on books have always been popular, from children’s series like The Worst Witch and The Animals of Farthing Wood, to teen shows like The Vampire Diaries and Shadow and Bone, and the adult oriented Game of Thrones and Dexter. Some of the biggest and best shows around have begun life as books, and with so many amazing book series around it’s hard to know where to begin looking for the next potential series. Well, here’s a list of five books that definitely deserve a show.
Written by Irish author Derek Landy, Skulduggery Pleasant follows eleven year old Stephanie Edgley after she inherits a huge house from her recently deceased uncle. When checking out the house she comes under attack by mysterious assailants and is rescued by an old friend of her uncle’s, Skulduggery Pleasant the skeleton detective.
This introduces Stephanie to the world of magic and monsters, and she discovers a whole secret world hidden beneath our own. Not only that, she learns that she too could harness magical abilities, and taking on the name Valkyrie Cain she convinces Skulduggery to train her to be his partner.
The Skulduggery Pleasant series is an absolutely amazing set of books, and one that I completely adore. Much like other middle-grade magic series the books see Valkyrie grow up and mature with each new book, and the adventures that she gets into get more adult in nature, with some pretty nasty villains and some brutal battles thrown into the mix.
With a more action adventure tone than other books in this genre, and a cast of amazing characters, it would make an amazing series, especially now that technology has moved to the point where it would be possible to bring the titular living skeleton to life in a realistic way.
Created by Michael Grant, the Gone series is set in the fictional Califonia town of Perdido Beach. One day the kids of the town wake up to discover that everyone over the age of fifteen has mysteriously vanished. If that wasn’t bad enough the town seems to be trapped inside an odd barrier, one that burns anyone who tries to pass through it or touch it.
With the kids of the town stuck and alone they must work together to not only survive, but to try to find answers; something that becomes even harder when many of the kids start to develop strange abilities, and a mysterious creature appears and starts hunting people down.
The Gone series is a really intense young adult series that focuses on Sam Temple, a teen who develops the power to create light from his hands, and his struggles to bring the various kids together. He has to take charge in what is essentially a survival situation. The fact that we get various factions beginning to form within those left in Perdido Beach, mysteries to solve, and a few creatures thrown into the mix, it’s a series that feels like the super powered teenage version of Lost.
Shades of Magic
The Shades of Magic series is a trilogy of books, and a series of prequel comics, from acclaimed author Victoria ‘V.E.’ Schwab, and follows the lives of several magically powered individuals across different realities. The books centre on Kell, a magician with the rare ability to travel between the different Londons, Red, White, Grey, and Black.
These worlds are vastly different from each other, from Red London where magic rules supreme, to White London where magic doesn’t exist, to Black London, which was so consumed by magic that it is believed long destroyed. When Kell gets drawn into a scheme that could bring ruin to Red London he travels between the various worlds to try to stop disaster, picking allies and enemies along the way.
One of the things that makes the Shades of Magic series stand out is the wonderfully imaginative worlds that Schwab has managed to create, ones that are similar to our own and others that are vastly different. Along with some distinct and hugely interesting characters and some amazing action it’s a story that would look amazing on the screen, and would definitely wow any fantasy fan; as well as being able to draw in new viewers with its distinct style. With Schwab being a popular author, it’s shocking there’s not been an adaptation of her work yet.
Officially a ‘children’s’ series, The Demonata by Darren Shan might have one of the most messed up beginnings I’ve ever read, with an event that puts one of our protagonists in a psychiatric ward for months.
When Grubbitsch ‘Grubbs’ Grady is supposed to be out for the night but comes home early he discovers that his family have been brutally ripped to pieces by the demon Lord Loss. After spending months catatonic he’s eventually taken in by his uncle, Dervish, who goes on to reveal to Grubbs that not only are demons real, and that there’s a secret war going on, but that their family has been cursed – a curse that will see Grubbs facing Lord Loss once again.
With an incredibly dark story that features a number of protagonists from across the centuries, The Demonata series is a shocking YA series for sure, one that really pushes the boundaries of horror and introduces some incredible concepts. It’s a series that could be toned down a bit in order to make it less graphic and be a teen or children’s show, but if you kept the brutal and bloody nature of the books it would definitely appeal to adults, and might even give Game of Thrones a run for shocking and vicious moments.
Loveless by Alice Oseman is one of my favourite books from 2020, and whilst it wouldn’t make for a long running show I think it would certainly make a wonderful limited series. The story follows Georgia, a teen who’s obsessed with fan fiction, love, and romance, yet has never been kissed herself.
Having convinced herself that she’s just not found the right person yet she heads off to start a new chapter of her life at Durham University with her best friends Pip and Jason. Despite the extra opportunities to experience romance at uni Georgia is still struggling; until she begins to discovers the terms asexual and aromantic at the uni Pride club, and starts to think that maybe these might apply to her.
Alice Oseman is a writer who’s become extremely popular thanks to her YA romance books, particularly ones that deal with queer characters. Whilst there’s more and more queer rep on screen, asexuality and aromanticism are two things that are hardly ever explored. Ace folks tend to be ignored, overlooked, or even told that they’re wrong in their identities because a lot of people refuse to believe that asexulaity exists.
Loveless not only shines a light on this part of the queer community, but does so in a wonderfully sweet and understanding way, and teaches people that you don’t need romance to love people, and friendships can be magical parts of your life. With no need for special effects or big set pieces it’d make for a relatively easy book to adapt.