The Internet is lit at the moment with the outstanding TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s much loved novel ‘Normal People’ – a delicate and heartbreaking book brought to the small screen. It has been an outstanding success!
With this in mind we picked out our top 5 adaptations where the TV shows were as good as, if not better, than the book….
SHARP OBJECTS – It has been almost two years since Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects hit our screens and totally creeped us out. Crime Reporter Camille reluctantly returns to her hometown to investigate the murder of two local girls, unravelling a number of demons from her past to contend with.
This series remains right up there as one of our favourite all time adaptations and mini series. How Amy Adams did not get any awards for her role in this is a travesty – if you haven’t watched it or read it then you really should.
BIG LITTLE LIES – The cast alone for this series was a big enough draw to know that the book adaptation was in good hands. Reece Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Adam Scott, and Laura Dern are just a few top talents bringing to the life the story of a local murder that has a huge effect on their very tangled-up lives. The mini-series did so well that the cast returned for a second season which goes beyond the book AND added Meryl Streep to their cast. Definitely worth a watch as it is currently back on Sky Atlantic/Now TV at the time of this post!
KILLING EVE – Another series that has been an incredibly successful adaption is Killing Eve which has been adapted from Luke Jennings’ “Codename Villanelle” series. Without doubt season 1 has held up as the most captivating of the seasons so far (perhaps thanks to Phoebe Waller Bridge’s input), but all of the series have had a great following – if anything just to see the brilliantly talented Jodie Comer play the role of killer Villanelle. Catch all seasons of the show now on BBC iPlayer.
NORMAL PEOPLE – When we first read that this was going to be adapted, we found it hard to imagine how this story and relationship was going to be conveyed on screen. However, with Sally Rooney onboard with the writing duties (alongside Alice Birch), the brilliant Lenny Abrahamson directing a number of episodes, and the casting of Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, it came together perfectly.
The next problem was getting our head around how they were going to make this story stretch for 12 episodes, well, in the end we wished there were more! The length helps to build up the characters and takes us on the journey of their emotional roller-coaster relationship that spans years. What has been produced is one of the best adaptations from book to TV screen we have ever seen. It is hard to know where to start (and without writing too much) but we’ll focus on one of the key aspects of why this works so well and that is the casting of Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Mescal as Connell – everything about them works, their chemistry is mesmerising, it is no wonder the world has fallen in love with this.
WESTWORLD – Based on the Michael Crichton book and then evolved into something much much bigger, we have a lot to thank the original content for which helped develop this fascinating series. Westworld is in its third season now on Sky Atlantic/Now TV and despite a bumpy ride amongst the seasons, it still stands out as a truly epic TV show and one that we have thoroughly enjoyed!
Of course there are many, many, many more adaptions out there – we dared not mention Game of Thrones that, although undeniably an amazing TV show, splits opinion on how it stands as an adaptation of the books…We thought the first season of Orange is the New Black was superb, and we have also been told that Bosch is a great adaptation from the Michael Connelly crime novels, but we are yet to watch that one…… yet!
What book to TV adaptations have you thought were the best?