Sometimes the next best thing to reading a book is watching one! When you need a reading break but still want to live in literary land, watching an adaptation of a favorite novel can be the way to go. Here’s a countdown of the best tv shows based on books (or those that just feel like they were based on books)!
With so many endless choices out there, it’s hard to know what tv show will make you feel all the feels just like a book. Well, wonder no further–just read on:
1. Gossip Girl
Based on the book series of the same name written by Cecily von Ziegesar, “Gossip Girl” revolves around the lives of oh so rich and privileged upper-class teens living in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Filled with teen angst, drama, and fashion galore, the show is–dare it be said–even better than the books.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Technically, the show came before the books (the novels are not usually considered part of Buffyverse canon but were approved by Joss Whedon who created the show). The series is a spin-off of the movie (same name) and follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in a line of young female vampire slayers. Buffy wants to live a normal life, but killing demons puts a real kink in her day-to-day high school plans. The show has a healthy dose of dark humor and romance and is a cult favorite. (A remake is supposedly in the works.)
3. The Vampire Diaries
Based on the bestselling book series by prolific YA author L.J. Smith, “The Vampire Diaries” is an American supernatural drama series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec (producing super forces behind shows like “Dawsons Creek”). The series is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia–a town charged with supernatural history since its settlement in the late 19th century. TVD follows the life of orphan Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) as she falls in love with not one but TWO centuries-old hot vampire brothers–Stefan Salvatore and Damon Salvatore. But who will she pick? You’ll just have to watch to find out.
4. Game of Thrones
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, “Game of Thrones” really needs no introduction. But just in case you like rocks, the HBO fantasy series is based on the bestselling books of the same name by George R. R. Martin and is set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos. There are multiple (and complex) plot lines all revolving around the ultimate question of who will sit on the Iron Throne and rule over the Seven Kingdoms of this fictional world. The show is filled with action (warning: sometimes very violent action) and a web of alliances and conflicts. And, of course, dragons!
“Younger” is an American comedy-drama television series created and produced by Darren Star (“Sex and the City,” Beverly Hills 90210,” “Melrose Place”) based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Pamela Redmond Satran. The show is about Liza Miller, a recently divorced 40-year-old mother, who now has to support herself and her daughter after her ex-husband’s gambling addiction leaves them in a financial hole. Liza attempts to get a job in publishing but finds she is now too old to gain any meaningful employment. In a moment of inspiration, she decides to fake being a 26-year-old and lands an assistant job at a publishing house. This show is a must watch for book lovers because it follows the insider world of publishing (and is quite hilarious about it)!
6. The Walking Dead
Though it’s based off a comic book series–not a traditional book–TWD seems fit to include it in this list because it’s freaking awesome! If you like dystopian and zombies then this is the show for you. Just don’t watch it with the lights off. This gritty drama details life following a zombie apocalypse. Led by former police officer Rick Grimes, he along with his family and a group of other survivors find themselves constantly on the move in search of a safe and secure home. Only the humans on this show turn out to be even scarier than the zombies!
7. Sex and the City
Based on the 1997 Candace Bushnell book, it’s safe to say this beloved favorite show is even more famous than the books. The sitcom stars journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her three best girlfriends as they navigate love, jobs, and friendship in the wonderfulness that is New York City. The show is hysterical and the fashion–oh the fashion!!!–is to die for. Especially the shoes!
This is not your parent’s Archie. The Netflix show is based on the beloved characters from the “Archie” comics but has a much darker spin as the same cast of characters–Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead–try to solve a deadly murder in their hometown of Riverdale. This is a good pick for lovers of atmosphere and mystery. And it doesn’t hurt that the cast is far better looking than the original comics portrayed them (especially Jughead!).
9. Pretty Little Liars
A fun, fast paced murder mystery loosely based on the novel series of the same name written by Sara Shepard. The series follows the lives of four girls whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their leader. One year later, the estranged friends are reunited as they begin receiving messages from a mysterious figure named “A” who threatens to expose their deepest secrets.
10. Gilmore Girls
Okay, okay, so this isn’t based on a book series but don’t we wish it was? Because wouldn’t this be one awesome book? The show’s main focus is on the relationship between single mother Lorelai Gilmore and her bookworm daughter Rory, who live in Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a small fictional town filled with colorful characters. The series explores issues of family, romance, education, friendship, disappointment, and ambition, along with generational divides and social class. Such an adorable show and the two female leads are dynamite together.
For more bookish entertainment, check out The Best Scary Book Adaptations on Netflix.