TV Surf Report: Hollywood Is Less Afraid of Adaptations So We Should All Read More — Blame George R. R. Martin


Santa Monica, CA — (Updated 06 January 2017)  Hollywood loves a good book, especially when it’s a best-seller that has a built-in audience who will tune in when Television adapts it into a Series.

Exhibit A:  Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  HBO is doing quite well with its adaptation of Martin’s masterwork.  So well in fact, there’s talk of a prequel series.

Netflix is set to premiere Lemony Snicket’s  A Series of Unfortunate Events starring Neil Patrick Harris, but is it an adaptation of the book(s) or a re-make of the Paramount film? Is there a difference?  (Yes.)

TNT just premiered Good Behavior starring Michelle Dockery in her first post-Downton Abbey starring role.  Series is an adaptation of Blake Crouch’s Letty Dobesh books and premiered soft but here’s a link to the Pilot episode:

The CW has Riverdale coming up (it’s a dark teen drama based on the light-hearted Archie Comics). Starz has Neil Gaiman’s American Gods still to debut.  And, Amazon has Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan heading our way.

FOX and Ridley Scott are developing a pilot of Justin Cronin’s novel, The Passage, which both excites me and disturbs me in equal measure.  This TV adaptation could be the best new Sci Fi series since Battlestar Galactica (which was not an adaptation but rather a re-boot).  I am that interested.  Stuck in Development Hell in Features at Fox for nearly 10 years, Cronin’s very dark book is now headed to TV with a pilot order.

Here is a List-in-Progress of the Books, Comics and Magazine Articles bought and sold for TV, a development trend that’s been recurring for several years now:

nix    king-killer-chron


  • The King Killer Chronicles.  Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) executive produces both the feature and television adaptation(s) of Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy trilogy about an adventurer/musician.  Lionsgate produces.
  • Gone at NBC/Universal International.  Chris Noth stars in this adaptation of Chelsea Cain’s novel, One Kick.  It’s a procedural following the survivor of a famous abduction case.  And, it has a 12-episode order.  Pretty ambitious.
  • The Vampire Lestat at TBD.  Author Anne Rice has regained the theatrical rights and intends to bring Lestat & Co. to TV.  Better late than never?  We shall see.
  • Dune at TBD.  Legendary has acquired the rights to Frank Herbert’s classic series about The Spice and Desert Planets which is really just a backdrop for the Atreides family soap opera.  (Note to readers:   I developed SyFy’s Children of Dune miniseries a decade ago.  Check it out!)
  • The Passage at FOX.  Ridley Scott produces a pilot to be written by Liz Heldens and Matt Reeves.  Justin Cronin’s very dark futuristic take on Vampires in America.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land at SyFy.  Paramount sold the script which has no less than seven EPs attached.  That’s a lot of cooks stirring the soup based on Robert Heinlein’s classic.
  • Weaveworld at The CW.  Horror master Clive Barker’s novel gets adapted.  Barker is on a roll right now with several TV projects afoot.
  • Dietland at AMC.  Marti Noxon (UnREAL) and Bonnie Curtis (Albert Nobbs) produce the adaptation of Sarai Walker’s book.
  • The Nix at HBO.  Meryl Streep stars and produces with J.J. Abrams in this limited series adaptation of Nathan Hill’s novel about a woman who attacks a political candidate.
  •  The Curve, a satire on legal education, has landed at NBC with Jeff Rake (The Mysteries of Laura) adapting.
  • The Hike at IM Global.  David Goyer adapts.

atlantis-lestat-book-cover inhumans

  • Inhumans at ABC.  Marvel adapts its comic but it’s not a spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • On Her Own Ground.  Octavia Spencer EPs and stars in the limited series.
  • The Lou Perelman Story.  Toby Jones stars as the notorious boy band manager in an adaptation of an article that appeared in the New Yorker.
  • John Corey Mysteries at ABC. John Davis and Mace Neufeld EP the adaptation of Nelson DeMille’s brash homicide detective.
  • Oliver Twist at NBC.  Poor Charles Dickens.  This new version has orphans tracking down wealthy criminals.
  • King Arthur at Fox.  Re-imagined as a police procedural.  Hmm.  Unsure but I doubt the writers are working off of Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.
  • Agatha Christie Novels at BBC One.  Seven of her books to be made, including  Ordeal by Innocence and The ABC Murders.
  • Anne of Green Gables at Netflix.  A new series of the classic coming-of-age story.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale at Hulu.  Elizabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes star in a new version of the Margaret Atwood thriller.
  • Wild Cards at USA.  Universal Cable produces George R. R. Martin’s book as a series.
  • Humboldt, a drama series about pot farmers stars John Malkovich, and based on Emily Brady’s best-selling book.  No network attached yet.


Check back for updates as this List is a work-in-progess and will be revised as often as possible.  Thanks, Readers.  Also, let me know what you think of these proposed adaptations!  — S.

Next Up:

Origin Stories and Why We Never Tire Of Them


About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things Entertainment from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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2 Responses to TV Surf Report: Hollywood Is Less Afraid of Adaptations So We Should All Read More — Blame George R. R. Martin

  1. Hi Steve,
    I just wanted to write, that for most book-to-tv-series-adaptations producers/writers seem to look for books which have a strong set of interesting characters. Thus giving different audience groups different characters they can identify with, like Game of Thrones. When I saw your bio and read that you developed Buffy (!), I was like “Hey, who am I to write such a comment to somebody who obviously knows this stuff better than anyone?” 🙂 Well, the upcoming serieses sound really cool, especially “Dune”, “Weaveworld” and “The Passage”. You developed “Children of Dune” ?… I guess I must seek for it the next time I am in a DVD store (I´m old school, so I need something you can touch, not stream).


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