Top Ten Tuesday: Best TV Series Based on Books

TV PicMonkey Collage

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about television-related topics. As TV has evolved from sitcoms with standalone plots in favor of long-form storytelling, books are becoming more popular as the go-to place for outstanding content for the small screen.

I’m super excited to finish reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, in anticipation of the STARZ adaptation coming next year, but to celebrate this TTT, here are the best TV series based on books (according to the humble opinions of me and my friends!):

  1. Best wedding scene: “Game of Thrones” (2011-present) based on the series by George R.R. Martin
  2. Best accents: “Outlander” (2014-present) based on the series by Diana Gabaldon
  3. Best six-pack abs: “Poldark” (2015-present) based on the series by Winston Graham
  4. Best Clinton biography: “House of Cards” (2013-present) based on the novel by Michael Dobbs
  5. Best swordwielding: “Legend of the Seeker” (2008-2010) based on The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
  6. Best wardrobes: “Sex and the City” (1998-2004) based on the novel by Candace Bushnell
  7. Best backstabbing: “Gossip Girl” (2007-2012) based on the series by Cecily von Ziegesar
  8. Best for Millenials: “Younger” (2015-present) based on the novel by Pamela Redmond Satran
  9. Best “Will they? Won’t they?” chemistry: “Elementary” (2012-present) based on the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  10. Best culinary show: “Hannibal” (2013-2015) based on the novels by Thomas Harris

I’ve listed some fan-favorites, and I’m sure that there will be a lot of overlap on other bloggers’ TTTs, but let me know if I missed a TV adaptation you love!

Literary News: In Case You (Really) Missed It

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The past 14 hours have been a whirlwind of fun: last night my book club met to drink a few bottles of wine while discussing the horrendous novel All the Birds in the Sky (review coming next week!). This morning was even invigorating, because I was finally able to login to Pokemon Go, the mobile game that’s taken over the globe. I’ve been gallivanting around San Francisco hoping to catch them all!

But now it’s time to get serious…I have a confession to make.

In full disclosure, I have a terrible habit of filing away articles for my blog, then forgetting that they exist. Every time my cursor hovers over the bookmarks folder on my browser, I cringe and try to ignore the growing list as best I can.

But 2016 is half over, and I just can’t take it anymore! Time for some summer cleaning!

Here are the first six months of literary news in review, in case you really, really missed the boat, or just want to relive the excitement!

Literary Feminism

  • “Damn, you’re not reading any books by white men this year? That’s so freakin brave and cool” (Jezebel)
  • “In literature and in life, men and women still want different things in a mate” (Jezebel)
  • “One weird trick that makes a novel addictive” (Jezebel)

Harry Potter News

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be eighth book” (BBC)
  • “J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America was a travesty from start to finish” (io9)

Hollywood Adaptations

  • “Ava DuVernay confirmed to direct A Wrinkle in Time” (IndieWire)
  • “Inside the peculiar new home of Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine” (Entertainment Weekly)
  • “6 adaptations that fixed the book (according to the author)” (Cracked)
  • “First Look as Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf on A Series of Unfortunate Events set” (Spinoff Online)
  • Will drama about young William Shakespeare picked up to series by TNT” (Deadline)

Et Cetera

  • Placing Literature maps out real places you’ve read about in books” (Lifehacker)
  • “The mass-market edition of To Kill a Mockingbird is dead” (New Republic)

Can you tell I’m a fan of Gawker Media publications? After reading this list, what literary news made you most excited? And if I missed any headlines, please send them my way!

Beowulf and the next Tim Burton movie: The latest in literary adaptations

It’s the first day of spring! Despite the crippling drought in California, I admit that I’m enjoying the abnormally warm weather here in the Bay Area. This week I’ve been binge-watching “House of Cards” on Netflix (I’m only on season 2, so no spoilers!), which many people may not know is based on a novel by British politician Michael Dobbs. This remake has got me thinking about other stories that are coming to television and movie theaters!

ComingSoon.net reported two fun facts on March 12, so here’s what I’m excited about when it comes to literary adaptations:

Image via ComingSoon.net

1. ITV, a television network in the United Kingdom, will be re-imagining Beowulf in a 13-part drama series, the filming of which will begin at the end of this month. Kieran Bew (from “Da Vinci’s Demons” and other British TV series) will star as Beowulf with William Hurt as Hrothgar and Joanne Whalley as Rheda. I’m currently reading this epic, so it will be interesting to see it on TV–hopefully following the stylistic footsteps of “Game of Thrones”!

Image via ComingSoon.net

2. Another production underway is the anticipated Tim Burton adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which is scheduled for March 4, 2016. The movie will have a star-studded cast, including Asa Butterfield (“Ender’s Game”) as Jacob, Eva Green (“Casino Royale,” “300: Rise of an Empire”) as Miss Peregrine, and Allison Janney (“Mom,” “Masters of Sex”) as a female version of Dr. Golan, who was originally male in the novel. This is a fantastic literary bandwagon to join, and I’m optimistic that Burton will preserve its creepy-cool vibe.

For even more to look forward to, check out my most anticipated movie adaptations of 2015! And let me know what film and TV remakes you’re psyched about in the comments!

My New TV Obsession: Outlander!

Image via Outlander TV News

You know that feeling when you discover a really good TV show? You binge watch until you catch up, then anxiously await the latest episode. You want to bring it up in random conversation and convince everyone around you to get on the bandwagon. You’re hooked, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Well, that feeling has happened to me with the new hit “Outlander!” On Saturdays at 9:00pm EST on STARZ, the show is based off the series by Diana Gabaldon, which began in 1991 and currently stands at eight novels.

The story follows Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe), an English nurse who is vacationing in Scotland with her husband Frank after World War II. After seeing each other only briefly in the past five years, this ‘honeymoon’ is a chance for them to reconnect.

They come across an ancient Druid ritual, and when Claire returns to the scene the following day, she touches one of the standing stones and is magically transported back 200 years in time.

Image via Buzz Sugar

Lost and confused by what has happened, she runs into Frank’s ancestor, a ruthless British officer known as Black Jack Randall. She nearly escapes being raped when a group of Scottish highlanders rescue her and take her back to Castle Leoch.

Even though her nursing skills have helped the clan, she has yet to earn their trust. Fearing she’s an English spy, they keep her against her will, while she plans her return to the standing stones and into the present time.

Although I am not familiar with the book series, I am absolutely in love with this show. I’m already a huge fan of period dramas, and if you like “The Tudors,” “Rome,” or “Game of Thrones,” you will appreciate “Outlander.” It’s the perfect combination of history, adventure, science fiction, and folklore.

And did I mention romance? Claire’s relationship with Scotsman Jamie MacTavish is sizzling under the surface, and I look forward to watching their love progress. I also look forward to shirtless shots of actor Sam Heughan in his kilt, but who can blame a girl?

I’ll just leave this here 😉 (Image via Cinema Blend)

I’ve only seen the first three episodes, but I can’t give the show enough praise. Claire is a strong female heroine with plenty of wit and wisdom, and the landscape of Scotland is so gorgeous it counts as its own character. STARZ has signed off on 16 highly addictive episodes this season, so jump right in!

“Community” is Officially the Best Comedy on TV

So if you haven’t experienced the wonderland that is “Community,” then you are missing out–big time! This show about an eclectic study group at Greendale Community College has some of the wittiest jokes I’ve ever heard on TV. Instead of the slapstick nonsense that normally gets aired, “Community” has become a beloved cult classic for its rapid-fire one-liners, political incorrectness, and meta-entertainment that appeals to the hipster masses.

The latest episode, “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” (yes, all episodes are named to sound like college classes!), elevated the humor to a new level by parodying George Orwell’s 1984. Take a look at this clip:

In this episode, Shirley and Pierce are upset that their cafeteria sandwich shop idea has been stolen and sold to Subway. Because of a loophole which allows individuals to become physical representations of their corporations, Subway can sell its food to Greendale’s students. Britta falls in love with the face of Subway (real name Rick), despite her resistance to corporate capitalism.

My favorite part of that clip is when Subway thinks that students should be “forced” to read 1984. While I agree that the novel is one that everyone should experience, forcing them would be doing exactly what Big Brother does in the story. Needless to say, I was downright giddy with the “Community” writers this week for coming up with such irony!

And the 1984 references don’t stop there! In a sideplot, best buds Troy and Abed find themselves feuding over whether they’re going to break a world record by building the largest blanket or pillow fort. They come to a standstill when they run out of room in the school, and Greendale must choose sides, creating a battle for no reason whatsoever.

Blankets v. Pillows…Oh, the humanity!

Fans of 1984 will notice the similarities between this fort war and the wars between Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. The entire world fought over arbitrary land boundaries simply to keep the military-industrial complex alive. Luckily, in the show, the battle ends with zero casualties, but I greatly enjoyed this subtle comparison to Orwell’s masterpiece.

All in all, “Community” is TV’s most underrated show, suffering low ratings while mind-numbing junk like “Jersey Shore” and “Dance Moms” manages to gain publicity. Some people are just too dense to appreciate real, well-thought-out comedy that exists in this diamond in the rough.

Do yourself and “Community’s” staff a favor by watching this show and saving it from cancellation. Forcing you would be very Orwellian, but trust me, it’s for your own good! Mwahaha!