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10 TV Shows You Might Not Have Known Were Based on Books

Home > Everywhere > Literary | Books and Writing | Television | Lists
Published August 12th 2014
Why read when you can watch
1) Gossip Girl (2007)
Sharing the same name as the books written by Cecily von Ziegesar, Gossip Girl was created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and originally ran on The CW for six seasons. It's narrated by the all-knowing blogger 'Gossip Girl,' and revolves around the lives of privileged young adults on Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City. You know you'll love it xox.

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2) Hemlock Grove (2013)
After writing the books, Brian McGreevy adapted the show to become a Netflix Original horror television series. Based in Pennsylvania, it examines the strange happenings in town of Hemlock Grove. A wealthy heir, Roman Godfrey, befriends the town's newcomer, Peter Rumancek, as a string of brutal murders take place. Rumors swell and the two work together to solve the case while also hiding their own dark secrets.

3) Dexter (2006)
The shows first season is based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, written by Jeff Lindsay. It was adapted for television by screenwriter James Manos, Jr. and follows Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department. He also happens to be a serial killer, hunting down criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system. The following seasons progressed independently of Lindsay's works.

4) The Vampire Diaries (2009)
Developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, The Vampire Diaries is based on the book series of the same title written by L. J. Smith. It's set in Mystic Falls, Virginia and follows the protagonist Elena Gilbert as she falls in love with the vampire Stefan Salvatore and is lured into the supernatural world. As the series progresses Elena finds herself drawn to Stefan's brother, Damon resulting in a love triangle. However as the show progresses the narrative shifts to the mysterious past of the town and Elena's malicious doppelganger, Katerina. It's also worth mentioning The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals. Full of vampires, werewolves and hybrids it's everything you could hope for in a spin off. If that's not enough of a supernatural fix here's another adaption of Smith's work; The Secret Circle. It follows a coven of teenage witches and is sure to be full of mystery.

5) Game of Thrones (2011)
Let's be honest with all the hype surrounding this show, I'd be surprised if you didn't know it was a series of books first. But perhaps what you didn't know is that the first book was published way back in August of 1996! The author, George R.R. Martin had turned down multiple offers to adapt the books into films stating that story line would be to epic to condense into two hours. Then in 2010 David Benioff and D. B. Weiss approached Martin and shared with him their idea to turn it into a TV show and we all know how that turned out.

6) Orange is the New Black (2013)
Jenji Kohan adapted the series from the best-selling novel Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, written by Piper Kerman. It tells the story of Piper Chapman, a woman who is sentenced to 15 months in prison after being convicted of transporting money for her drug-dealing girlfriend. It premiered on Netflix in 2013 and has since been renewed for two more seasons.

7) Pretty Little Liars (2010)
Writer of the 1995 film Now and Then, I. Marlene King developed Pretty Little Liars from the popular novels written by Sara Shepard. Set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania it follows the lives of four girls whose friendship falls apart after the disappearance of their friend, Alison. A year later, the estranged four are reunited as they begin receiving messages marked from "A". Their deepest secrets are threatened as they realise someone is planning on ruining their perfect lives.

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8) True Blood (2008)
Produced and created by Alan Ball, it's based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries a series of novels written by Charlaine Harris. It tells the story of the co-existence between vampires and humans the fictional small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. The series centers on the protagonist Sookie Stackhouse a telepathic waitress with an affinity for the supernatural. After season four the show begins to develop its own story line independent of the books.

9) The Walking Dead (2010)
Although not technically a book it's still a great adaption that deserves to make this list. First issued in 2003 The Walking Dead is a series of ongoing black-and-white comic books created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore. Sharing the same name the TV show is loosely inspired by the comic, introducing new characters and deviating from the comic in many plot points. It's also spawned two video games with the some of the characters voicing their virtual counterparts. The Waking Dead premiered in 2010 coinciding with Halloween. It chronicles the journey of Rick Grimes, his family and other survivors as they battle the zombie apocalypse.

10) The Slap (2011)
Adapted from the novel by Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas this eight part miniseries follows the repercussions of single event that occurs at a family's barbecue in suburban Melbourne. A child is slapped and this action sends the characters into a spiral, agonising and arguing over the notion that striking a child can ever be justified. Some believe a naughty boy should be taught some discipline, others maintain the police ought to be brought in to investigate a common assault.

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So do you have a favorite book turned TV series that hasn't been mentioned? Share your comments below and tell us would you rather read the book or watch the show?
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