We are nothing short in consuming visual content. Premium cable channels and streaming services are getting bolder with their series development, hoping to forge a new binge-worthy blockbuster. With HBO's Game of Thrones ending in possibly two years from now, networks are scrambling to release the next big hit to bank on audiences' fantasy withdrawal.
Fortunately, networks don't even need to gather creative writers and lock them up in a room until they come up with something fresh. There are hundreds of stories out there scattered in different mediums that the likes of Netflix or HBO could license and adapt into a TV series.
We've all heard that FX will be adapting Welcome to Night Vale podcast into a TV series. Showtime and Lionsgate, with the participation of Lin-Manuel Miranda, will be working on The Kingkiller Chronicles by bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss. Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale is receiving praises all over. And Netflix is working on several projects: a series based on Richard K. Morgan's science-fiction novel Altered Carbon, and former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way's Eisner Award-winning graphic novel, Umbrella Academy. A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) author, George R.R. Martin, is producing a post-apocalyptic series for HBO that is based on the multi award-winning novel Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor.
That's just the gist of things.
Earlier this this year Amazon has announced plans to adapt multiple science-fiction novels into TV series. These include Larry Niven's Ringworld, Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk Snow Crash, and Greg Rucka's Lazarus. In a shocking revelation, Amazon also announced they will be working on a prequel series of The Lord of the Rings.
Television viewing is fickle thing. It's not as simple as flipping through pages of a book or listening to a podcast while on-the-road. In TV, there are simpler pleasures of watching things unravel without concentration as deep as reading or listening. If networks would want to play it safe, then what better way than pick up established titles that already have a loyal fan base? The challenges would then stem from how to maintain that momentum, how to ensure the fans remain loyal to the series, and how to attract a new audience altogether.
This leads us, finally, to stories that need "good" television adaptations. Cause baby, there are a lot out there.
Legion by Brandon Sanderson
Protagonist Stephen Leeds has what other people might call, multiple personality disorder. However, unlike the 2010 TV series Shattered, where the main character changes personality in order to adapt to his environment, Stephen Leeds' multiple personalities manifest as different individuals that only he can interact with. He calls them aspects, and each aspect has a personality, ethnicity, specialty, and gender. One of them even has his own aspect. It's these different personalities that allow Leeds to solve crimes. Naturally, this aspect business will eventually get more complicated. Nevertheless, the premise provides a solid foundation for a police procedural series.
The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
There is a lot to love in Joe Abercrombie's grimdark fantasy trilogy, The First Law. It involves lot of action, intriguing-but-not-so-likeable characters, politics, and a march to the north. There's enough material here for at least three seasons, and if you include Abercrombie's other standalone novels, Best Served Cold, Red Country, the mighty impressive Heroes, and the short story collection Sharp Ends, which all take place in the world of The First Law, this could stretch up to eight delightfully macabre seasons.
The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence
The Broken Empire is a unique material. At first, it appears to be set in a fantasy world, but as readers delve further into the mythos, they begin to realize that it isn't the case. The trilogy is also unique because, the first book Prince of Thorns introduces the series protagonist, Jorg, who at the young age of 14 has already done every unspeakable act against humanity. Yet, despite being the devil that he is, Lawrence manages to craft a sympathetic and complex character. The series progresses as Jorg reaches adulthood, ascending the throne that he reclaimed by spilling blood with swords and literally nuking an entire castle.
The Prince of Nothing Trilogy by R. Scott Bakker
The world Bakker has created makes for excellent TV material. In fact, it's something more suited for Netflix than HBO. It focuses on deep philosophical questions, complex cultures, and elaborate histories.
One of the most delightful podcasts I have listened to in 2017. As a limited nonfiction series, this can become one of those gems that really shine. A reporter receives a tip about a murder in an Alabama town and the alleged murderer gets to brag about it without repercussions. The reporter is the narrator of the podcast and listeners get to hear his conversations with the people of "Shit Town". The reporter gets a little too involved in matters that are better left alone. Things begin to escalate in ways you think would only happen in fiction stories.
Alice Isn't Dead podcast
If you are familiar with the content of the Night Vale podcast, you will enjoy this sort of spinoff. Alice Isn't Dead is a serial fiction podcast about a woman searching for her wife, who may or may not be dead. The woman encounters serial murderers and finds towns literally lost in time. She unfolds conspiracies and survives horror stories. It's a thing of beauty.
Orbiting Human Circus (Of the Air) podcast
As part of the Night Vale Presents network, the Orbiting Human Circus is about stage performers. It's full of whimsical fun and heartfelt moments from stories shared by the show's guests. But the main attraction is Julian, the janitor, and his subconscious, with their comic adventures. It's weird, it's funny, it's sad. It's everything you would feel if you were part of the circus audience.
Worm by Windbow aka John McCrae
What started out as fiction published in Wordpress has turned into something that created a massive fan base. It's a superhero story, and, according to a Google search, has about 7,000 words. What McCrae did here, is create his own superhero universe that rivals both Marvel and DC.