With the return of the immensely successful and wildly popular Game of Thrones, it’s only natural to look at the bookshelf and imagine what books may have a chance to rival the success that George R.R. Martin’s series has achieved on HBO. Obviously not every book would make for a great show, and some would make better movies, but there are some stories that are just so epic and grand in scale that the small screen just seems like the best possible fit.
7The Dark Tower
Before we get started, we do have to point out the fact there’s a chance we may get our wish on this one. Stephen King’s magnum opus has been rumored to be turned into an unprecedented project for Ron Howard, split between a recurring television series and a film trilogy. The seven book series is about as epic as they come, following Roland Deschain and his companions, or Ka-Tet, as they search out the titular Dark Tower and fight the Crimson King. This is a book series that almost has to be an HBO or Showtime series, told over several seasons. The mythology and plotlines are incredibly dense, the characters rich, and frankly, this is the series that has the best chance to duplicate the success seen by Game of Thrones.
6Gods Behaving Badly
Now this is a book that actually got a very little seen movie adaptation last year. Amazingly, despite a cast that included Christopher Walken, the film adaptation went unreleased and was shot in 2011, with a premiere at the Rome Film Festival in 2013. However, for whatever reasons it was never picked up, so we’re throwing it back into the pile and asking for a TV adaptation instead. The book follows the Greek gods, living in present day London as their powers begin to fade and they try to fit into the modern world. Imagine a series following Zeus, Aphrodite, Ares, and the rest of the Greek gods in a fish out of water setting and you have the potential for a hilarious satire, which is another one of those ideas that seems absolutely perfect for HBO.
5World War Z
Since we just talked about a book that was made into an unreleased film, how about a book that was in fact turned into a film that was widely released and a smash success? We feel like we can ask for a World War Z television adaptation, preferably in miniseries form a la Band of Brothers, because the film had so very little to do with the actual book, other than sharing a title. The book, for those who haven’t read it, is an oral history of the zombie wars as related to a journalist traveling the world talking to survivors. It’s the perfect framing device for either a zombie anthology series or, as we mentioned, a Band of Brothers style faux-documentary series. At the very least, it would finally give us an awesome Battle of Yonkers scene that fans of the book have been begging to see.
Hey, would you look at that! It’s another Stephen King book! And why not? With the success of Under the Dome and the forthcoming movie adaptation of Cell, along with the rumored new version of The Stand, Stephen King’s literary properties have never been hotter. So why not take a chance on one of his best recent works, which tells the story of a man who goes through a time rift back to 1958 and lives for five years, all the while preparing to kill Lee Harvey Oswald and stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy? One of the keys to the book is the fact that every time the hero returns to the present and then goes back into the past again, everything is reset because he always returns to the exact same time and place, rendering every change he made meaningless. Just try and tell us there’s not a brilliant series in there.
One of the most epic novels to be released in recent years, The Passage has long been “in development” as a movie but, as there doesn’t seem to be a ton of movement there, we’re going to go ahead and say that it should at least be considered as a television series. The Passage is a sweeping, post-apocalyptic, supernatural thriller that spans decades, with the government inadvertently setting off a catastrophic event that leads to more or less the end of the world and the rise of a group of vampire-like creatures who terrorize the remaining humans of the world. The novel goes into tremendous detail about the fall of civilization, and the development of the virus that creates the original vampire creatures (using death row inmates), before shifting nearly a century into the future to show the aftermath and quest for survival of the human race.
2THE LAST SURVIVORS
People love end of the world scenarios, as evidenced by so many of the titles on this list in addition to so many films, books, and TV shows we haven’t even touched on. The Last Survivors series begins with the novel Life as We Knew It, and tells the story of what happens after an asteroid hits the moon, bringing it closer to the Earth, and shifting the environment on our planet to a terrifying degree. Imagine a world where there are massive volcanic eruptions in New York City, along with numerous other cataclysmic events like tsunamis, earthquakes, and floods all over the world at a startling frequency, killing millions while others do everything in their power to stay alive in this harsh new world.
Right up there with post-apocalyptic stories in terms of continued immense popularity is the supernatural genre, particularly when the people and beings involved in this supernatural activity are all pretty much normal, average folks thrust into a truly weird situation. If you’re the kind who likes that sort of thing, then The Collector series would be right up your alley, and we can only imagine how interesting it would be to see as, say, Showtime’s follow up to Dexter. We compare it to Dexter mainly because the main character is an antihero, like Dexter, though instead of Dexter he’s not collecting corpses, he’s collecting souls. There’s so much potential for dark humor in this urban fantasy that we have to think it would make one of our favorite shows almost instantly.