16 Popular TV Shows That Were Also Books

April 18, 2017

Over the past ten years, there have been many books that have been turned into TV shows. The TV shows illustrate and recreate the message written by the author while transforming it into another outlet of entertainment. However, there are some issues when it comes to shows based on books, for example, the dilemma of what happens after the publishing stops, but TV fans want the story line to continue. Also, in the case of Game of Thrones, the TV series production might surpass the written material it is based on. Often times the words on a page can not be accurately depicted through visual entertainment, so they often change and alter moments from how they were in the book. Some book fans are often unhappy with the off course track the producers of the show decide to take. Regardless, many fans and authors appreciate the attention and recognition the book’s message receives after it is recreated into a TV series.

Senior Jenna Wiley expresses her concerns saying, “I feel that shows based on books need to stay based on books. It’s the original author’s ideas and they have a specific plan for it. The author knows the plot better than anyone, and if someone came along and tried to write it after them, it wouldn’t be the same.”

13 Reasons Why

 13 Reason Why is a novel written by Jay Asher about a junior in high school who, after she commits suicide, leaves cassette tapes for the people that led to her downfall. On March 31, Netflix released 13 episodes based off of the book, produced by Selena Gomez and stars Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford. The #1 New York Times bestselling book broke the scene in 2007 and rumors about the TV series started last year. The show brings awareness to the impact of teen suicide, bringing attention to the way people tend to take action after a tragedy happens instead of taking into consideration their thoughts and action in the moment. 

“This show has had a huge impact on my life and the way I treat others. I have become more cognizant of other people’s feelings because you never truly know what is happening in someone’s life. I told myself to cut down on gossiping and being mean,” said senior Vanessa Alvarez.

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies, a novel by Lianne Moriarty, became a mini-series adaptation recently after HBO picked up the series last fall. Recently, HBO premiered the finale, meaning that there would only be seven episodes comprising the novel.

The mini-series stars Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz and depicts the lives of three mothers of first graders, whose lives drastically change after a murder in their small town near California’s rugged coast. It centers around the lies, deception, and gossip surrounding the women’s lives, many relating it “The Real Housewives” franchise.

Vanity Fair said, “The performances are mature and often downright mesmerizing. Though it covers some awfully well-worn subject matter, Big Little Lies is, in its curious way, like nothing people have ever seen before.”

Games of Thrones

Game of Thrones, a popular book-series-turned-TV-show, has aired for over six years on HBO and released last year that season seven would be their last season. The books were first published in 1996 and the series premiered in 2011. In 2016, the TV series passed the storyline in the books and the writers created their own plot. Many book fans were not happy about the outcome. Season 7 only consists of seven episodes and premieres on July 16, after which the show will definitively end with Season 8.

Ally Wehle says, “Game of Thrones is going off of the path of the books now, and I’m excited to see where it will go because I think there is a lot more of the story left to tell. Overall, I think it really depends on the show and the direction the show writers take it if they decide to go past the book adaptations.”

Orange Is The New Black 

Orange is the New Black depicts the story about a public relations officer whose dark past catches up with her and spends a year in a minimum-security women’s prison for her hand in a drug deal ten years ago. Netflix started producing the binge-worthy series in July 2011 and it soon gained popularity. Many people do not know that the series was actually loosely based off the memoir of the author, Piper Kerman. The author’s story is loosely based off her time there, like her altercation with the cook “Red” and bunking with her ex-girlfriend.

The 100

The 100 is a series of young adult novels, first published in 2013, set three centuries after an apocalyptic event that destroyed part of the Earth and centers around lives of 100 teens and their rebuilding of society.

Senior Valerie White says, “I watch it on Netflix and it is very fast paced and interesting. I haven’t read the books yet but I’m excited for season four to come on Netflix.”

DC Comics- Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow 

The CW currently has four shows based off of comics including Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. The comics gained popularity over the last 50 years but recently Hollywood has developed movies based off of them as well, including Man of Steel, The Dark Knight, Wonder Women, and The Justice League. The TV series began with Arrow in 2012 and branched off from there, spinning off characters from The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow

Marvel Comics- Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist 

While DC Comics has their Superhero mashup, Marvel created their own version, a grittier, more grounded version called The Defenders. It features Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand aka Iron Fist. Each defender began with their own TV shows, Daredevil first, on Netflix and will come together in a miniseries later this year as four dysfunctional outsiders who must put aside their own burdens in order to save New York City. Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist comics were all published in the 60s and 70s but Jessica Jones is relatively new to the comic book universe, its first publication date in 2001. Each hero comes to the team with their own power, Daredevil as an extremely skilled fighter with extremely heightened senses due to his blindness, Luke Cage with his super strength and bulletproof skin, Jessica Jones with her superhuman strength, and Iron Fist as an experienced martial arts fighter who channels his strength into his powerful fist. Although the premiere date has not been made known to audiences, Marvel recently released (and then removed) a teaser trailer for The Defenders this fall.


Riverdale is based on the Archie Comics which gained popularity in the 1950s as a series of comedic cartoons depicting the life of high schoolers Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Cheryl, and their friends at Riverdale High. The CW picked up the series, a dark twist on the comics based on the mysterious murder of Jason Blossom, this year. Although the characters have some of the same characteristics, comic book fans notice the difference in their personalities and interactions with characters, including the plot.

Mortal Instruments

The Mortal Instruments has two Hollywood spinoffs. The book series was published 2007 and, after gaining popularity from both teens and adults, many fans called for a movie adaption. The movie City of bones, starring Lilly Collins as Clary and Jamie Cambpell Bower as Jace, received mixed reaction from the fans and a second movie was not made. Then, last year, Freeform, formally known as ABC Family, picked up Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments which revamped the story told by Cassandre Clare.

The Vampire Diaries

One of the most beloved fantasy TV shows, The Vampire Diaries, was loosely based off the novels written by L.J.Smith which centers around Elena, a high schooler who finds herself torn between two brothers with a dark secret. Although the CW show did not follow the plot of the books directly, it recently ended its eight-season run last month. The series starring Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, and Paul Wesley changed the outlook on vampire sterotypes, many critics labeling it “TV Twilight”. Eight years later, the show has a dedicated fanbase, even through the departure of Nina Dobrev in season six.

Senior Maria Cacciatore says, “The Vampire Diaries is my life. I can go on for days, but I was really skeptical about the whole series because I thought they were trying to copy Twilight, but absolutely not. I fell in love with the love story from day one, because the show has just enough drama and always has a cliffhanger.’

A Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the three orphaned Baudelaire children who are placed in the custody of their cunning relative Count Olaf who makes it his mission to steal their parent’s fortune and create horrible circumstances for the children. The easy-to-read book series, written by Daniel Handler in 2004, has been popular for several years and many middle school students enjoy reading the 13 books that come in the collection. This year, on January 13, Netflix produced what would be the first season in A Series of Unfortunate Events. It stars Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf, many praising him as the perfectly devious depiction of the cruel guardian and has already been picked up for a second season 

“Although I have not read the books I definitely plan to,” says senior Jhuztin Honrado. “I love seeing the book actualized, and seeing it come to life (the characters, the setting, etc). I also love seeing how the characters react toward each other and the chemistry between different characters and how it plays out. Shows are also a good opportunity to wrap things up if the books didn’t, and to really bring it to life. However, by adding more, shows could really ruin the integrity of the book, and become something completely different than the original.”

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl gained fame in 2007 as the new drama series surrounded around the elite lives of teenagers in New York City and the one person who knew everything about their scandalous lives. The 11-book series was written by Cecily von Ziegesar and ended in 2009. The series, lasting six seasons, has become popular on Netflix in recent years and altered the outlook of drama in the Upper East Sider, spawning celebrities like Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Ed Westwick, and Chace Crawford.

“I love the story line and all the drama and how everything ties together with characters and their lives and their history. Also, Chuck Bass and Nate Archibald aren’t bad to look at,” says senior Audrey Anello. “I honestly wouldn’t mind if the TV writers carried on the script. I think it would still be interesting and it would still make sense because there’s already a developed storyline that they would just elaborate on.”

True Blood

The HBO Prime Time show True Blood premiered for seven seasons before ending in 2014. Based in southern Louisiana, the series about vampires slowly becoming integrated into human society became a hit overnight with its strong book following and its “colorful cast of supernatural misfits”.

Senior Anne Marie Yatsula praises both the novel series and show saying, “I have read all the Sookie Stackhouse books and I love all of them. My mom first read the books but I was never allowed to watch the show because it was “too graphic”. Once I found it on Amazon Prime, I was hooked, so even when the show stopped, I could always reread the books!”

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead has a strong TV and comic book following to this day. Picked up by AMC network in 2010, the show gained popularity as the hit zombie apocalypse series with added drama between the characters. Both the show and the comic books never fail to shock, amaze, and disgust fans with its gruesome depiction of the flesh eating zombies. While it follows the comics, there are some major differences in the TV show, including the plot and creation of characters like Daryl.


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, published by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was first published in the early 20th century. Over 100 years later, it returns to the screen in the famous BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as a modern depiction of the crime solver in 21st century London. The series is notorious for its long breaks in between each season, sometimes lasting tow years or more, and only three, 90-minute episodes per season.

Pretty Little Liars

Credit: youtango.com

The infamous murder mystery drama series follows the lives of four teenage girls whose lives are changed by the mysterious “A” after the disappearance of their friend Allison. In this case, the TV series continued after the books that were first published in 2006 and ended in 2014. The Freeform show has been on the air for seven years, with this season being the final 10 episodes to debuting April 18.

“I love the PLL books, which is why I started the show in the first place. I also like to compare the show with the book and see the creative differences between the two and how they affect the plot. PLL became one of my favorite shows because it mixes mystery, murder, and drama and it’s just fun to watch. The characters are also really complex and it’s amazing to see how they evolve, especiall5-year 5 year time jump in the last season. The show is so different from the books that even after the novels ended, the show kept going. I like it because it gives the show the chance to evolve and develop new theories and plot twists,” said senior Jessica Zachary. 

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