Monday, September 09, 2013

What book or series of books should be made into a TV show?

The AVclub recently did an article on: What book or series of books should be made into a TV show? 
So allow me to chime in with my two cents on this important issue.
I previously made a list of all the historical dramas I would love to see given The Tudors  or Game of Thrones treatment, and this list will overlap with that list somewhat, but this time I'll contain myself to books.

First and foremost, I think you really could do an awesome TV show based off Collen McCullough's Masters of Rome  series.
I know we just recently had a drama based on the same time period: HBO's Rome.  But television is changing so much lately that Rome already seems to be a relic from another era. Rome was constantly worried it's audience would get bored by the real history, so they kept trying to simplify or change it.
 Back then, it was thought that television audiences wouldn't have patience for long drawn out plots, and all the complications of history, especially a history that involved many different feuding aristocratic families over a long period of time.  (I think it's safe to say that Game of Thrones has now made these series popular.)
Also, I'm told that the business and distribution model was different at that time, so that a show like Rome was not profitable to produce, and that's why it got cancelled after only two seasons, and all the historical events in the second season then had to be so rushed.  Someone better informed than me will have to comment, but I understand these shows are much more profitable now.
So, I think there would probably be a market for a TV show that gave Masters of Rome the whole epic Game of Thrones treatment.  

.....And, basically that's my only really good idea.
I've got a couple more sub ideas, but I'm not nearly as enthusiastic about them.
I'm of course a fan of the Flashman series.  That might make an interesting TV show, although the series isn't really so much one interconnected story as it is a series of different episodes.  You could of course still adapt it for TV, but it might be hard to keep the momentum going from season to season.  
Also there's the fact that Flashman himself does a lot of terrible things, which make him an unsympathetic hero.
If you were going to adapt this series for television, I think the way to do it would be to borrow the conceit from the book where a historian is going through and commenting on Flashman's memoirs as he reads them.  You could have an external historian narrator, who you could frequently cut back to and who would comment on Flashman's deplorably morals, and also tell the audience what details of history Flashman is getting right, and what details he's exaggerating.

 Other ideas: The 1632 series might have some potential, although I should probably read the whole series before I comment on it.
Also I've been reading The 3 Musketeers series lately, and I'm struck by how much story there is in these books, and how skillfully it integrates real history with fiction.  Plus if you count in all the sequels, there's a lot of material to work with here, so you could probably get a lot of seasons out of it.  But, as with 1632, I should probably wait until I actually finish the books before I make a definitive comment.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.  What series of books would you like to see given the Game of Thrones treatment?

Link of the Day

1 comment:

dpreimer said...

There are some good suggestions at that link, many that have never crossed my mind. Love Goes To Buildings On Fire is particularly appealing.

I have to say the series that surprise me with their quality are usually based on books that underwhelmed me. Kenneth Brannagh in Wallander is the perfect example. So based on that, perhaps a series devoted to Stephen King's Dark Tower novels is ideal.