A novelty on screen: Best and worst TV show adaptations

Which TV shows have blessed our screens?

Marina Snyder
7th March 2024
Image: IMDb
Though we are only at the start of 2024, we have already seen various new TV adaptations this year. From the new Percy Jackson show to the hit One Day series. TV adaptations are swooping in and taking over the industry. With the introduction of demand platforms such as Netflix and Disney Plus, accompanied by a generation of TikTok-induced short attention spans, the popularity of TV series means that TV adaptations have begun to take the stage, replacing the often hit-and-miss popularity of films.

But are these adaptations worth the time? Do they give the books justice? Or are they forming an entirely new sub-genre in their own right? Here are some of the worst and best book-to-tv show adaptations to find out.


Starting on a high note, several series have encountered positive responses from audiences. For instance, one of the most highly rated adaptations is Game of Thrones, which not only brought fans over from the book series but also created fandom on a much larger scale, making it one of the most popular television series of all time.


Demand platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix have also had a high success rate regarding adaptations. Netflix's 'Anne with an E' has been deemed as an "exquisite adaptation for our time", and Amazon's recent "The Summer I Turned Pretty" attracted immense positive attention on TikTok, accumulating a broader base of fans who could discuss similarities between the book and show.

Where the book has occasionally received criticism, the TV series has been noted for its brilliant chemistry between the actors and its tear-jerking portrayal of the story.


Another book-to-TV show adaptation that can't go without a mention is 'Normal People'. Where the book has occasionally received criticism, the TV series has been noted for its brilliant chemistry between the actors and its tear-jerking portrayal of the story. Normal People's success resonates similarly with the new 'One Day' series, which captures the book's actual character development and heartache in a way that, often, the film adaptation failed to.


On the other hand, Book to TV adaptations aren't always received with open arms, and sometimes there is uncertainty on whether these adaptations give the books the justice they deserve. Although, at first, Disney's new Percy Jackson series announcement received a buzz of excitement and anticipation from the Percy Jackson fanbase, there have been mixed messages since its release. On the one hand, the series is a vast improvement from its predecessor films, which faced backlash for its inaccuracies and poor adaptation of the beloved books; however, much like the films, the TV show felt too fast-paced and unfocused at times.

The series is a vast improvement from its predecessor films, which faced backlash for its inaccuracies and poor adaptation of the beloved books.


13 Reasons Why is another adaptation that can often cause mixed feelings. Though the characterization was layered and complex, the show needed help with what most adaptations do: striking a balance in how many seasons to make. Straying away from book plots and making too many seasons often leads to messiness and losing audiences' interest. This was also exemplified with The Handmaid's Tale, which, though a fantastic award-nominated show for the first few seasons, lost its' organic essence as the show progressed.


Most of the time, book-to-TV adaptations are an overall success; many times, people watch series without even realizing our beloved authors originally wrote them. TV shows do what films always fail to; they take the time to learn and explore the plot and characters, which is why they work so well. As long as scriptwriters keep the spirit of the books in mind and don't stray too far, then witnessing your favourite characters and stories come to life before you is, and will always, be a pleasure.

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