There are those who hold that we are in a new golden age of television, heralded by The Sopranos and now dominated by streaming services like Amazon and Netflix. In order to meet audiences' nearly insatiable demand for content, studios have turned to both recent and classic books for material. Here are some of the novels that have been turned into series or movies available online.
Killing Eve on BBC America is based on the thriller Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings. Villanelle is an assassin who is very good at a job she loves and has a taste for the good things in life. Eve Polastri is recruited by MI6 specifically to track her. Villanelle proceeds to turn Eve's life upside down in the first book in a series that will especially appeal to Stieg Larsson fans.
Much beloved by both adults and children, Watership Down is available as a miniseries on Netflix. Written by Richard Adams, this novel follows the exploits of a group of rabbits trying to find a new place to call home. Full of the rabbits' mythology and language, this is a tale of heroism and loyalty among those who seem small.
Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been adapted several times since its original publication in 1959; the latest offering is a Netflix series. A researcher into supernatural phenomena invites people who may have psychic abilities to Hill House, which is supposedly haunted. Weird things happen in this classic of psychological terror, but aren't they just the imagination of the visitors?
I highlighted Julie Murphy's Dumplin' in the blog post Go Big Or Go Home: Teen Girls Find Their Place, so I'll be brief. Willowdean Dixon, generously sized and proud of it, decides to enter the local beauty pageant to the horror of her mother and most of the town. Good thing she's got the support of some other nontraditional contestants and some really nice guys, some of whom are drag queens. This is a fun romp about friendship and defying expectations. The movie adaptation is on Netflix.
Of course, if you're like me and have to watch anything that has women in corsets, there's the serial adaptation of Vanity Fair on Amazon. William Makepeace Thackeray pens the story of Becky Sharp, a social mountaineer of the early Victorian era. Becky is amoral, opportunistic and possessed of the pointiest elbows south of Hadrian's Wall, but then again, society seems to require that in this delightful satire.
For those of you who want more from Philip K. Dick, the author of this season's One Book, One Chicago pick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, there's The Man in the High Castle. This dystopian novel asks what would have happened if the Nazis and Japan had won World War II and divided the United States between them. Well, we would have resisted, however surreptitiously. Winner of the Hugo Award, this novel is considered the author's first mature work. Adaptations of both titles are on Amazon.
Agatha Christie is well-loved by scriptwriters on both sides of the pond, and the latest adaptation is of her novel Ordeal by Innocence, for a BBC miniseries. Jacko Argyle did not murder his mother, but it's too late now: He's died in prison of pneumonia before the proof could be confirmed. That means the real murderer is out there and ready to strike again at the divided family and the doctor who knows the truth. One of Christie's best later novels, this is a cracking good thriller.
What are your favorite books that have been turned into series? Tell us in the comments.