When I did research for 5 TV Shows Based On Books I ended up having enough for a second list. Well, it turns out I had even more, and needed to share with everyone else, so here’s the third entry in television shows that started life as books!
Fresh Off The Boat (2015 – 2020, ABC)
Fresh Off The Boat is an American sitcom series centred around the lives of a Taiwanese-American family. Loosely based on the life of chef and food personality Eddie Huang, the series takes inspiration from his autobiography of the same name. The show is set in the 1990s, and follows the Huang family as they relocate to Florida to start a new life and open a restaurant.
The series stars Randall Park and Constance Wu as Eddie Huang’s parents, with Hudson Yang playing Eddie. The cast was rounded out with two younger brothers and a grandmother, as well as Chelsey Crisp and Ray Wise as the family’s friendly neighbours. The series marked the first prime-time American sitcom with an all Asian main cast since 1994, and is the only series featuring an all Asian American cast to reach more than 100 episodes.
READ MORE: Joint Security Area (2000) – Blu-ray Review
Hannibal (2013 – 2015, NBC)
It’s probably easy to tell from the name, but this series is based upon the Hannibal Lecter series of books, Red Dragon, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising by crime author Thomas Harris. The series is focused on the relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and forensic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).
Whilst Hannibal Lecter is a known criminal and killer in the novels and their film adaptations, the series has Lecter’s cannibal identity a secret, and instead focuses on his relationship with Graham as he tries to push him closer to becoming a killer himself. The series was well received with fans and critics. Despite this, the show was cancelled after three seasons. There have been a number of campaigns and petitions to revive the show, and series stars have said that they would be eager to return, but so far there is no sign that Hannibal will make it back to screens.
READ MORE: Schemers – Film Review
Sherlock (2010 – 2017, BBC)
Sherlock takes the classic Arthur Conan Doyle mystery novels from the 19th century and gives them a flashy, modern spin in this BBC series. Produced by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatis, the series would go on to achieve huge acclaim with the public and make stars of series’ leads Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
There’s a lot that can be said about this show, about how it takes different elements from the original stories and makes them almost unrecognisable, about how it seems to not understand any of the characters, or about how the show seemed to implode and lost most of its fans by the fourth series – but you can read that elsewhere on the site! Despite not being the best version of Sherlock Holmes by any means, the series did make the fictional detective popular with a whole new audience.
READ MORE: Black Sun (Rebecca Roanhorse) – Book Review
The Vampire Diaries (2009 – 2017, The CW)
Based upon the L.J. Smith series of the same name, The Vampire Diaries is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, a town full of supernatural history. It follows teen girl Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) as she falls in love with centuries old vampire Stefan (Paul Wesley). Over the course of the series viewers learn more about the mysterious past of the town and its inhabitants, as well as getting to see the heroes deal with other supernatural threats such as ghosts, witches, and werewolves.
Despite having the highest watched series premiere of all time on the CW (until Arrow took the title) the show didn’t do particularly well when it first aired, but ratings improved over time. The series was popular enough to last for eight seasons, and even received a spin-off series, The Originals, which would last for five seasons itself.
The Man In The High Castle (2015 – 2019, Amazon)
The Man In The High Castle premiered in 2015 to much fanfare among Amazon viewers. The show is based upon Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, where the allied powers lost World War 2, and the US is now under occupation of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan, who have divided the country in half.
The series follows members of the American Resistance as they fight against the fascist powers, when they discover old film reels that show an alternate history where the Allies won the war. The show diverged a fair bit from the original books, mainly due to lasting for 4 season. It still proved to be popular with fans of the original work, and received a number of award nominations across its run.