December 7th, 2011

Books That Inspired Great TV

When I read a book, I don’t really “see” much. Characters are just vague outlines in my imagination, like people seen at a distance without my glasses. Their words are spoken in my voice, making some scenarios a little awkward. Descriptions of beautiful vistas? Consider them instantly forgotten. Perish the thought of having to imagine what a fantastical creature looks like, even with a long string of adjectives to guide me.

This problem makes Fantasy an untouchable genre. Science Fiction is a considerable struggle as well. Remove the setting descriptions in Westerns and it’s just a bunch of faceless cowboys with nondescript guns and war cries that sound a lot like my “ack! a spider!” shriek.

I don’t like being confined to a few genres, particularly because I help people find their next favorite book. So I cheat a little. Watching movies and TV shows based on books helps me see the scenery, hear the characters, and experience the story more fully before I read the book. This ruins things for people with a rich visual mindscape. (You can easily pick them out of a crowd because they say things like, “I can’t believe they casted so-in-so in that movie. He doesn’t look at ALL how he’s supposed to look.”) To them, I tip my hat.

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Check out this list of TV shows based on books and make your own comparisons!

•    Bones (FOX): Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs
•    Christy (CBS): Christy by Catherine Marshall
•    Dexter (Showtime): Dexter Morgan series by Jeffry Lindsay
•    The Dresden Files (Syfy): The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
•    Flashforward (ABC): Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
•    Game of Thrones (HBO): A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
•    Friday Night Lights (NBC): Friday Night Lights: a Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger
•    Gossip Girl (The CW): Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar
•    The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC): Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George
•    Rizzoli & Isles (TNT): Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series by Tess Gerritsen
•    Kitchen Confidential (FOX): Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain
•    Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family): Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard
•    True Blood (HBO): Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries by Charlaine Harris
•    The Vampire Diaries (The CW): Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith
•    The Walking Dead (AMC): The Walking Dead graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman

For a list of books that inspired movies, click here.

When you read, do you “see” anything? What’s your favorite book/film/TV show adaptation?


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