This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl asked us to have some fun thinking about book to film adaptations in all their glory. I’ve decided to split my list in two: my favorite adaptations that already exist, and my favorite anticipated upcoming releases. In honor of Wyrd and Wonder, I’ve kept this list mostly fantasy related, though I had to let something sci-fi slip in because I love it that much!
Top 5 Existing Adaptations
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
I have a deep fondness for the first two movies in this series (I mean, there’s only two, a third one doesn’t exist I don’t know what you’re talking about). The casting was spot on and I really appreciated that they really leaned into essentially making this a younger-skewing LORD OF THE RINGS. Not to mention that the score for the first film is one of my favorites of recent memory.
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES
I admit that I have not read the books, and that I was largely drawn to trying this series because of my deep and abiding love for Matthew Goode. As someone who does not regularly binge programs, I was surprised that I tore this show in a few days. I found it utterly compelling and loved the main relationship. True, there are a few things that don’t make sense, but I cannot wait for season 2.
No list of fantasy adaptations would be complete without HARRY POTTER. This series definitely had its ups and downs, but the sheer ambition of adapting all seven books, and actually following through with the plan was an unprecedented feat at the time. Favorite of the series? CHAMBER OF SECRETS, followed by GOBLET OF FIRE.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
The book has a definite flare and I love the in-book commentary as someone who is “editing” an “classic” for a new audience. But the adaptation has transcended the book, become a cultural touchstone that is probably one of the most quoted pieces of media of all time.
And here it is, the lone sci-fi series that has snuck onto the list. THE EXPANSE has become one of my favorite series of all time, and I am so glad that Amazon saved it after SyFy let it go. I have not read the books, and at this point, I’m so in love with the television program that I’m putting off that task. I know the books are just as highly regarded, but I’ve decided to keep just one version in my head for now and not worry about divergences from the source material.
Top Five Upcoming Adaptations
A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC
If you know me, you will not be surprised to see A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC on this list. I am, of course, nervous as all get out about how well the execution will be, but I’m hopeful that the film will manage to do the series justice.
I read this book last summer, in part because I knew it had been optioned by Starz for a TV series. It’s the tale of a woman who wakes up in a park with no memory and soon discovers two things: one, she has a special ability, and two, she is part of a government agency that keeps tabs on and regulates supernatural phenomenon in the UK. It’s a twisty murder mystery that I’m hoping will be a bit streamlined on screen, as the flashbacks peppered throughout the book added interesting flavor to the world, but weren’t integral to the overall story.
SHADOW AND BONE/SIX OF CROWS
The biggest news this year has been that Netflix optioned the highly beloved Grishaverse and will be starting with an eight episode first season. The plan is to adapt both series in one TV show, as some elements overlap slightly timeline wise. There are going to be a lot of teens (and older!) anxiously awaiting this series to drop, myself included!
Disney FINALLY got their adaptation of this children’s series off the ground, after it being in the works since I was in high school. I read several of these books when they were first published (and then they introduced time-travel and I tapped out) and am curious to see what they do with this bonkers world where faeries are real and also use technology, and a genius eleven-old-old is going to outwit them all. The fact that Disney pushed this out of August 2019 into May 2020 indicates they’ve got a high degree of confidence in the final product, as May is a coveted summer launch window.
And now, for an adaptation that I’m not truly convinced will ever see the light of day, MISTBORN. A Chinese film company recently optioned the entire “Cosmere” universe, from THE FINAL EMPIRE to THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES. These books are so large and ambitious I’m not sure films could do them justice, but the chance to see an Allomancy fight on screen…..be still my heart!
THE DRESDEN FILES
But wait, there’s more! I remembered at the end of writing this that THE DRESDEN FILES was optioned for a reboot series in 2018. No word on how this is progressing, but I am all for a do-over on a television series. What little I remember of the first attempt was that it leaned hard into making the show a case of the week series for SyFy (or the Sci-Fi Channel as it was called at the time before strange marketing decisions were made). I’m hoping a future adaptation will see the bigger picture of THE DRESDEN FILES universe, that behind the smaller villains is an overarching war between faeries, a web of vampire politics, and some angelic nudging of certain events.
Okay, speak up! What have I shamefully left off my list, what adaptation can you not possibly live without? Let me know in the comments!