Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Became Great TV Shows

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s topic was a page to screen freebie. I’ve decided to narrow down my focus to five books that were made into wonderful TV shows. I’ve left off a couple of the titles that I always discuss on this blog (*cough* The Handmaid’s Tale) so I could focus on stories I haven’t talked all of your ears off about yet.

Tomorrow’s Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge prompt has what turned out to be a similar theme this week, so I had to divide my answers evenly between these two hops since so many of my answers would fit into both of them. I would have otherwise written a much longer post on this topic.

The Haunting of Hill House

Based on: Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House

Why I loved it: Paranormal stories always grab my attention, especially if they rely on psychological horror more than jump scares. The fact that this one had so much subtle foreshadowing on top of the psychological horror made it impossible for me to stop reading or watching it.

I also enjoyed the fact that the TV version found a fresh take on the characters while still remaining true to their personalities. That isn’t an easy thing to do…especially when some of the characters were of dramatically different ages and origins in each version!

The Magicians

Based on: Lev Grossman’s Magicians series.

Why I love it: This universe feels like Harry Potter for an adult audience. I love the unpredictability of the magic in it as well as the fact that the characters deal with serious issues like drug/alcohol abuse, depression, and abortion alongside delightfully joyful moments where talking rabbits deliver important messages or centaurs randomly cross your path.

Everything else I want to say about this series is filled with spoilers, so I’ll stop talking now.

True Blood

Based on: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series

Why I loved it: I spent a year of my childhood living in the south, so southern food, accents, and culture can’t help but make my ears perk up. I also enjoyed the parallels the screenwriters made between the prejudice faced by vampires and the real-life prejudice that other groups deal with every day in our world. They did a nice job of gently nudging the audience into being more accepting without ever turning their episodes into an After School Special.

The Man in the High Castle

Based on: Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle

Why I loved it: Imagine what the world would be like if the Nazis had won World War II and taken over North America. This definitely isn’t the right thing to read or watch if you’re in the mood for something cheerful, but it is a fantastic alternate history for anyone who has ever wondered how terribly things could have turned out in a different version of Earth.

I’m actually taking a break from this show right now because of how dark and gritty it is. It’s absolutely worth watching, though, and I do hope to return to it in the near future.

Little House on the Prairie

Based on: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series

Why I loved it: This show ended before I was even born, but the stories it told are timeless. My step-grandmother taped some of the episodes on those old-fashioned VHS tapes people once had.  I used to watch those reruns in her living room while the adults chatted in another room.

It was so interesting to see how people survived in the 1800s when women cooked every meal of the day over roaring fires, antibiotics and automobiles didn’t exist, and everyone had to work under some pretty demanding (and often dangerous) conditions from sunup to sundown if there was any hope of the family making it through the winter.

This series seemed like an adventure to me when I read it as a young child. Seeing it play out on the small screen really drove home how much easier life is for us now.



138 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Became Great TV Shows

  1. I watched the Haunting of Hill House, and I LOVED it. I’m actually planning on reading the book (whenever my hold comes through) because I loved the series so much and I was curious how much was changed from the book. And because it seems like people really enjoyed the book, so I’m all for reliving the creepiness.

    I actually didn’t realize that The Magicians was based on a book series. 😮 How did I miss that? Now I’ll have to check that out.

    Here’s my TTT post.

    • I should warn you that the book is quite different from the film, but I’m loving it so far. Hope you do as well. What other paranormal stories do you like?

      And, yeah, The Magicians is a series I believe. Still need to finish it one of these days.

  2. I watched The Haunting of Hill House and it was great, I still have to read the book though. Little House on the Prairie is so cute and has a nostalgic feel to it (I wasn’t born either), I loved the show. Again, haven’t read the book. Great list!

  3. The Magicians is on my list too this week. I really love that show! I watched the 1st season of The Man in the High Castle and thought it was great, but haven’t gotten around to continuing it. Sounds like you’d say it’s worth it!

  4. Great post!
    I really loved TrueBlood and The Haunting Of Hill House. They were so well done, unfortunately the books weren’t as good.

    • I agree with you on True Blood. I haven’t finished The Haunting of Hill House yet, but thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. 🙂

  5. I’ve always wanted to watch The Magicians and the Man in the High Castle, but I haven’t done it yet. Glad to hear they are good shows!

    • Yes, they sure are. I hope you like them if or when you check them out. I’d happily gush over them for ages with you if you wanted. Hehe.

  6. I haven’t watched Man in the High Castle yet. It’s a favorite book so I’m worried that the show won’t be as good.

    Plus, I’m behind on all the cool streaming shows all the cool kids watch. 🙂

    • It’s so easy to get behind on shows. I don’t actually remember a lot about the book, so I’ll refrain from comparing them for you. 🙂

  7. I’ve been curious about The Man in the High Castle. It wasn’t my favorite book and I couldn’t imagine how in the world it would play out on screen. I’ll have to check it out!

  8. I loved the first season of The Man in The High Castle, I really need to catch up when I have a bit more time on my hands. I’ve wanted to watch The Haunting of Hill House ever since it came out but got put off cause of how scary it looked (not a massive fan of horror films!), it’s at the top of my watchlist though so I’ll just convince my brother to watch it with me so i’m not watching it alone!

    • Yes, you should definitely catch up on that show. It’s awesome.

      The Haunting of Hill House isn’t gory (if that’s something that bugs you), but it is super scary. I hope you convince your brother to watch it soon.

  9. Great points about Little House on the Prairie! It really does drive home how much harder, and different, life would have been back then. No time for blogging and other such luxuries I imagine lol!

    And I really need to get back to the Magicians. I’ve only seen the first season.

    • It’s gotten so good in the later seasons. I hope you do get back to The Magicians sometime.

      And, yeah, we’re very lucky to live in 2019.

  10. I’ve actually never seen any of these, but I loved reading Little House on the Prairie as a kid. Glad to see that you enjoyed the shows and the books!

  11. The Man in the High Castle was pretty decent! I loved how they were able to pull off completely different alternate history timeline. Magicians, first season at least, was good too. Nice list!

  12. Good twist on the prompt! I wish I had stuck with the man in the high castle but my family got bored with it and I ended up giving up!

  13. I’m starting to feel like the only one who didn’t like True Blood! Lol. It wasn’t bad, but I just couldn’t deal with a lot of the changes the TV series too from the books. It just boggled my mind too much and then the way the show ended vs the book’s ending…I wasn’t too happy with the show after that! Lol.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT post!

    • Oh, yeah! Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote a whole series of them. They’re meant for elementary/middle school aged readers, but they’re really lovely.

  14. Ooh, nice list! The Man in the High Castle is one I keep meaning to check out, it looks really well done. I think the Magicians adaptation is great as well!

  15. Oooh, I watched the first season and half of the second season of the Magicians awhile ago but then I kinda lost interest/became too busy. I haven’t read the actual books though. Would you recommend them? How do they compare?

  16. I loved the series True Blood, but never read the books. I didn’t realize there were books before I started watching and by the time I figured it out I was already hooked. Usually I prefer to read the books first.

    • In this case, I think the TV show was better. Feel free to read the books if you’d like, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary.

  17. My favorite seasons of True Blood were the first few where they stuck the most closely to the books…I love the book series!

  18. I’ve been wanting to get into The Haunting of Hill House for a long time now. And you’ve sold me into picking up The Magicians with the describing it as an adult HP! 😀

  19. I actually want to get around to The Magicians one day. I mean I’ve heard some mixed things about the show but the trailers look fun. Plus I can’t really resist Harry Potter for an adult audience! 🙂

    • Ditto! If you use Reddit, did you read all of the threads on the Haunting of Hill House subreddit where people pointed out the foreshadowing/interesting things happening in the background, etc?

  20. I love The Magicians and it’s actually one of those adaptations where I didn’t enjoy the book as much.
    I used to really like True Blood but I feel as though it’s one of those series which deteriorated with time – such a bummer. I didn’t mind the books either but found they had a similar problem. Weird considering the stories ended up being quite different.

  21. I started watching The Man in the High Castle, but have put a pause on it after a couple of episodes. I definitely want to watch The Magicians too, I’ve heard so many good things about it!

  22. The magicians caught my eye because it was on right before Deadly Class. But I havent had a chance to watch it yet. I cut my cable and have to see if it is on Hulu. The Man in the High Castle I kept meaning to watch but I’ve been reading so much I haven’t gotten to it yet. But it is on my list!

  23. Lydia, I watched the first series of True Blood years and years ago because my friend had it, but sadly I didn’t have the chance to continue to watch it. Some day, I really must go back and watch the rest!

  24. Little House and True Blood are both great – I really enjoy the shows. I’ve read a few of the Little House books, but none of the True Blood ones. Not sure if I would get into the style of them, but I liked watching it as a show from time to time.

  25. AM I GLAD TO FIND ANOTHER THE MAGICIANS FAN! It’s my favourite show and I haven’t found many others who watch it. Especially here in the UK where we are STILL waiting for season 4 to air. It’s killing me :'( there is no where to watch it for us at all. I’m quite glad I’ve managed to avoid spoilers so far.

    • Hello! It’s always nice to meet others fans of The Magicians. I hope you’ll get to see season 4 soon. If only every country got new episodes of all shows at the same time.

  26. I loved The Little House on the Prairie when I was young. My mum used to watch them whenever they came on TV when she was a child, so now she has all the dvds and made us watch them 😂 It’s a good show. I was invested. I haven’t read the books though? I think I’d like to try them.
    Great list! ❤️

  27. OMG I forgot about Trueblood!! I did like the books more, but the first seasons of the show are so great. And you can’t beat Alexander Skarsgård as Eric <3

  28. I didn’t know Little House On The Prairie was based on a series of books! I’ve heard great things about the TV show so I might need to check out both the books and the show.

  29. Aww, I watched so many of the ‘Little House’ episodes as a kid and teen. They were always favorites. Someday, just for nostalgic sake, I should read the books and re-watch some of the show. 🙂

    Thanks so much for the Finding Wonderland visit, Lydia!!

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