12 of our favourite TV series adapted from books
When a TV adaptation of one of our most beloved and dog-eared novels is a success and almost more beautiful than the book itself, we get to experience the joy of the book and the memories it evokes all over again.
Here are some are the best TV dramas based on some of our favourite books...
Sally Rooney's wondrous adaptation of her acclaimed novel of the same title Normal People follows lovestruck Irish couple Marianne and Connell as they navigate the trials and tribulations of young adulthood. The tender drama has transcended generations with its poignant and moving portrayal of first love and heartache. Newcomers Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal give heartbreaking and utterly compelling performances, and we defy you not to sob your way through the 12-part series.
Sally's second celebrated novel Conversations with Friends is currently being adapted by the BBC with Oscar-winning director Lenny Abrahamson returning to helm the project which should be launching in 2021.
Adapted by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay from Natalie Baszile's novel of the same title, Queen Sugar tells the story of three estranged siblings who move back to Louisiana following a family tragedy. The trio are forced to put their complicated lives aside so that they can come together to run the clan's struggling sugar cane farm. The cast includes Scandal's Tina Lifford, Rutina Wesley, Kofi Siriboe and Omar J Dorsey.
Oprah Winfrey serves as executive producer.
Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson and Little Women's Eliza Scanlen star in Jean-Marc Vallée's stylish and brooding adaptation of Gone Girl novelist Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects. Amy plays troubled crime reporter Camille Preaker who reluctantly returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to solve the murder of two young girls. As she endures her dysfunctional family and suffocating mother, Amy finally confronts her past and unearths a chilling twist in the process.
Clarkson won a Golden Globe for her performance as chilling matriarch Adora.
My Brilliant Friend
Elena Ferrante's beloved Neapolitan novels My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name have been adapted by HBO into an exquisite and absorbing drama - the network's first ever in a foreign language. The poignant series captures the intense friendship of two young girls as they dream of escaping their impoverished and oppressive neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples in 1950s, which is marred by violence and complex family hierarchies.
The Secret She Keeps
BBC's adaptation of Michael Robotham's The Secret She Keeps may be slightly predictable, but the the six-part series about a woman faking her pregnancy makes for compulsive viewing. Downton Abbey's Laura Carmichael plays Aggie, a woman suffering from trauma who pretends to be pregnant in a bid to steal the newborn of a wealthy blogger she befriends.
Anne with an E
Netflix's stunning reimagining of Lucy Maud Montgomery's coming-of-age classic Anne of Green Gables is moving, life-affirming and modern with it's celebration of feminism, gender equality, diversity and the LGBTQ+ community.
Set in the late 19th century, the series follows Amybeth McNulty's Anne as she is adopted by two lonely siblings whose lives she transforms with her indomitable spirit, appetite for knowledge and zeal for life.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Natalie Dormer stars in BBC's intoxicating adaptation of Joan Lindsay's iconic Australian novel that delves into the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and their governess in 1900. Their vanishing causes conspiracy theories and paranoia amongst staff and students of Appleyard college as long-held secrets begin to emerge.
This hopelessly romantic historical drama - adapted from the novel of the same title by Diana Gabaldon - has acquired a cult following due to the palpable on-screen chemistry between the two dynamic leads Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. The story centres on Caitriona's Claire Randall, a World War II combat nurse who is suddenly transported back in time to 1743 Scotland where she falls for Sam's Jamie Fraser.
Big Little Lies
HBO's adaptation of Liane Moriarty's novel of the same title, Big Little Lies follows the lives of the infamous Monterey five - aka Hollywood stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz. Set in a city on California's stunning central coast, the women struggle with strained marriages, infidelity and domestic abuse, before a fatal incident bonds them together for life. Season two introduces Meryl Streep as the mother-in-law from hell.
Netflix's underrated adaptation of Margaret Atwood's powerful historical novel Alias Grace follows enigmatic Irish immigrant and domestic servant Grace who, in 1843, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murders of her employer and his housekeeper.
The story is based on actual 19th-century events, but Grace's perilous journey in a male-dominated era - during which she is as subjected to endless abuse from men in power and expected to remain silent - couldn't have been more timely upon its release in 2017 as the MeToo movement took effect.
Little Fires Everywhere
Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere takes place in a placid Ohio suburb and follows Elena (Reese Witherspoon), a local journalist and meticulous rule follower who helps to maintain order in Shaker Heights while trying to keep her family of six happy.
When Mia (Kerry Washington) and her daughter Pearl arrive and become Elena’s tenants, the two women clash while their kids become friends. The show explores the links between the two families, one of which is an intense adoption trial.
Noughts and Crosses
BBC's adaptation of Malorie Blackman's novel Noughts & Crosses charts the stories of much-loved protagonists Sephy and Callum who are divided by their colour but united by love.
Sephy is a Cross, a member of the Black ruling class and daughter of a prominent politician. Callum is a Nought, a white member of the underclass. The two have been friends since early childhood but their relationship grows ever more complicated as they come of age. It's the story of two families separated by power and prejudice but forever entwined by fate.
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