TMP Television Edition: Book to TV Adaptations

Hello, my darling readers!
Welcome to another entry for Thursday Movie Picks.
It’s a series hosted by Wandering through the Shelves, so if you want to join the party, head over to her blog! It’s pretty easy: check out each week’s topic and come up with 3 to 5 movies that fit the theme.
Today we have another TV special: so instead of films, I’ll pick a bunch of great TV shows that are based on books!

#1 The Handmaid’s Tale:

This is so good. Seriously, if you haven’t seen The Handmaid’s Tale yet, stop what you are doing and check it out right now. The book was written by Margret Atwood and contains many interesting and frightening ideas. However, it never fully hit me until watching the show. Elizabeth Moss as the leading lady is just haunting. The atmosphere, the soundtrack, the color palette and the costumes of the show are super impressive. I can’t wait for season 3 to finally arrive!

#2 A Series of Unfortunate Events:

Netflix offers quite a bunch of shows that are based on books. My favorite so far is definitely A Series of Unfortunate Events. With thirteen books, it’s a lot to read, and to be honest, after book 9 (or so) I began to be a bit annoyed. The show, on the other hand, has, naturally, a faster pace and many of the story elements are just made for the screen. There’s rarely an adaptation that translates this well from book to show.
A Series of Unfortunate Events has a rather weird humor, so I’m reluctant to recommend it to everybody, but I certainly loved it!

#3 Game of Thrones:

I saved the most obvious choice for last. Among the shows I picked today, Game of Thrones is the most famous and the most watched. What I enjoy most about it is that all the details and the extensive work George R. R. Martin put into his novels also went into the adaptation. Only few things were cut and I certainly appreciate that! However, you can tell how vital the novels were as a base for the show once you get to the point where the show surpasses the novels. It’s still good but there is a big drop in quality and I’m curious how it will end!

What are your favorite TV shows based on books? Let me know in the comments!

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20 thoughts on “TMP Television Edition: Book to TV Adaptations

  1. I’ve only seen Game of Thrones and I’m not a fan which disappointed me. Going in I was certain I would, people had told me I would and I enjoy that sort of thing being a huge fan of Excalibur and the like but it just wasn’t for me.

    I’ve stayed away from Handmaid’s Tale because I hadn’t liked the film version with Natasha Richardson and Faye Dunaway. The other just isn’t my thing.

    I don’t watch much series TV so I went with special productions for mine.

    A Doll’s House (1959)-This Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of the Ibsen story (back when that program was the benchmark for quality TV-years before it became the dispenser of treacle that Hallmark is today) traces the emotional awakening of Nora Helmer (Julie Harris) from her previously unexamined life of domestic wifely comfort. Ruled her entire life by either her father or husband, Torvald (Christopher Plummer) Nora finally comes to question the foundation of everything she believes in when her marriage faces a profound test. Stacked with an astonishing cast, beside Julie Harris & Plummer it includes Jason Robards, Hume Cronyn, Eileen Heckart and an eight year old Richard Thomas this is currently showing on Amazon Prime.

    East of Eden (1981)-Miniseries adaptation of the entirety of the John Steinbeck sprawling novel (the James Dean film only dealt with the final third) of brothers Adam & Charles Trask (Timothy Bottoms & Bruce Boxleitner), Adam’s sons Caleb and Aron (Sam Bottoms & Hart Bochner) and how their lives intertwine with the Hamiltons lead by patriarch Samuel (Lloyd Bridges) and especially the unknowable Cathy Ames (Jane Seymour) throughout the decades of the late 19th and early 20th century. With a who’s who of notable names in support the highlight of this is a riveting turn of nearly unbridled evil by Jane Seymour as human succubus Cathy/Kate.

    Lonesome Dove (1989)-Beginning in the small Southern town of Lonesome Dove around the 1860’s two former Texas Rangers and best friends Gus McCrae (Robert Duvall) and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones) head out to Wyoming on a cattle drive that takes a heavy toll on all involved. Massive, violent and intense adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s epic tale is loaded with talent-Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Anjelica Huston, Chris Cooper and Steve Buscemi to name just a few- won unanimous praise upon its release.


    • The film about the Handmaid’s Tale is almost a crime against humanity. It’s absolutely ridiculous and terrible. I can assure the show is about a million times better. I’d rather pretend the film doesn’t even exist.
      East of Eden is the only one of your choices that I’ve ever heart of, but A Doll’s House sounds very intriguing!


      • Though I knew the story of A Doll’s House and had seen other versions, both Jane Fonda & Claire Bloom did well regarded versions in the 70’s, I just happened up this Julie Harris production last month on Amazon Prime, which is why I mentioned that, and was blown away. Just the cast alone made it a must see. One of my absolute best memories of theatre going was seeing Julie Harris in a little jewel box of a theatre doing her one woman show about Emily Dickinson-The Belle of Amherst. I’d always been a fan but she held that audience in her grasp from her first entrance to her last, just mesmerizing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The only one I’ve watched is Game of Thrones and that’s definitley one of my favorites as well! I also really like Killing Eve and Good Behavior, though I didn’t realize they were book adaptions until after I’d seen them. I’m really excited to watch The Handmaid’s Tale!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The books are extremely good. Eventhough they are super long, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I just hope Martin finally finishes the next book. 🙄
      Please go and check out The Handmaid’s Tale. Elisabeth’s Moss performance is so haunting, I want everybody to see the show – and to think about it!


  3. I am one of the few who has not seen Game of Thrones…I will one day:). For some reason I have no desire to see A Handmaid’s Tale…I think because it seems to bleak. A Series of Unfortunate Events looks quite odd and funny…right down my alley

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have not read Lemony Snickets but have seen most of the TV episodes. The books I think are for middle graders so I find the TV series is a little too young for me and am often bored by the episodes because it gets very repetitive. I think I prefer the movie, just short and sweet and not overloaded with the same things again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can totally see why Lemony Snicket didn’t excite you that much as a show. I read the books before and those got really lenghty at some point (we are talking about 13 books), so the show felt much faster to me.
      The movie was really great, though. I remember seeing it at the cinema 🙂


  5. I have watched and really enjoyed both Handmaid’s Tale and Game of Thrones. I haven’t watched A Series of Unfortunate Events because I found the books unreadable.

    When it comes to other picks I would go for Outlander, The Last Kingdom, Thirteen Reasons Why, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

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