Santa Monica, CA — The Adaptation Trend has been in full-swing for several years now as Hollywood seeks to break through all the clutter with Intellectual Property Titles that audiences are already predisposed to like (and will thereby, tune in).
Maybe, your great idea should live as Something Other Than A Screenplay … first.
It’s not just popular movies and best-selling books that are being adapted as series, either:
- Video Games (World-building is a new buzzword!)
- Podcasts (Did you go to the App Store and Vote for your Favorite?)
- Magazine & Newspaper Articles (An Evergreen resource!)
- Songs (Dolly Parton, You Are Talented!)
- Foreign Series (adapted for the US market)
- Graphic Novels (about Super Heroes, natch)
Here’s the latest crop of Adaptations in active development and headed to your streaming device in the very near future:
- The Watch at BBC America. Based on the Discworld novels by Sir Terry Prachett (Good Omens), eight episodes of the punk rock thriller with misfit cops have been ordered.
- Joyland at Freeform. Stephen King’s novel about a college student working a summer job at an amusement park gets adapted for a pilot. Chris Pena (Jane the Virgin) scripts.
- It Takes Two at FOX. The memoir of Property Brothers, the home improvement reality series with the photogenic twin brother contractors is being adapted as a half-hour comedy. Cue obnoxious laugh track! Daily Variety Has The Scoop.
- Ranger at CBS. The novel by James Patterson gets adapted for pilot development.
- Dracula at BBC One and Netflix. The Sherlock maestros, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, adapt Bram Stoker’s classic novel into three 90-minute episodes (or movies).
- Whites at NBC. Matt Tarses adapts the British restaurant workplace comedy for Will Arnett and the US audience.
- Limetown at Facebook Watch. Based on a podcast about a Pulic Radio reporter who investigates the disappearances of hundreds of people in Tennessee, Jessica Biel (The Sinner) stars. Ten episodes ordered. Deadline Has The Details.
- The Chronicles of Narnia at Netflix. This seems like a big deal to me as these books are evergreen stories that can be re-made for each generation. Seems like Netflix aims to create a Narnia Universe and create series from there while making features from the main titles. Am a bit surprised Disney/Fox allowed the option on these books to lapse. Smart buy, Netflix.
- Wheel of Time at Amazon. Series order for this action fantasy drama adaptation of Robert Jordan’s best-selling books, wherein, Magic exists, but only women can wield it. Rafe Judkins (Agents of Shield) writes and EPs for Amazon Studios and Sony Pics TV.
- His Dark Materials at BBC One and HBO. HBO Acquires Broadcast Rights Outside The UK, per Deadline. Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directs this massive TV adapation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy novels with a cast that includes James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Dafne Keen (Logan). Production is underway in Wales on S1. Meanwhile, the BBC Orders 2nd Season of 8 Episodes.
- Foundation at Apple TV. David S. Goyer (DaVinci’s Demons, Krypton) and Josh Friedman (Snowpiercer, Sarah Conner Chronicles) get 10 episodes to adapt Isaac Asimov’s SF trilogy about the 1000-year saga of people defying the Galactic Empire. Hmm. I wonder if George Lucas read these books prior to Star Wars. Just a thought!
- Run Away at Netflix. Adaptation of Harlan Coben’s novel and part of an overdeal that encompasses 14 of Coben’s books. He has two other series on Netflix: Safe starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and No Second Chance.
- Shogun at FX. A new adaptation of James Clavell’s novel gets a 10-episode order.
- Hey There Delilah at TBD. The Plain White Ts’ hit tune is headed to TV. I love this song and am not discounting this effort. Oh, what you do to me! Songs That Should Be Adapted For TV, via EW
- Slaughterhouse-Five at Epix. Gale Anne Hurd EPs this adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel with Universal Cable Productions. Patrick Macmanus (Happy) scripts.
- The Time Traveler’s Wife at HBO. Series order for Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) to adapt the Audrey Niffenegger novel about a married man who travels through Time. A feature adaptation was released in 2009 starring Rachael McAdams and Eric Bana, which I did not see because I loved the book too much. Looking forward to this version, though!
- Less Than Zero at Hulu. The Bret Easton Ellis novel was made into a film in 1987 which starred Andrew McCarthy. Here, a pilot has been greenlight starring Austin Abrams (The Walking Dead) in an ensemble of privileged college kids up to no good in Palm Springs. Craig Wright (Greenleaf, Lost) scripts.
- The Vampire Chronicles at Hulu. Anne Rice, Christopher Rice and Anonymous Content exec produce this series based on 11 of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles books which center on Lestat who becomes a vampire in medieval Paris and continues a long journey of immortality with stops along the way as a rock star, an otherworldly adventure with The Devil, and a body snatching. Looking forward!
- Batwoman at The CW. Greg Berlanti (who else!) EPs this comic adaptation with a crossover event on the horizon within The Arrowverse. TV gets its first gay super hero.
- Y at FX. Diane Lane, Amber Tamblyn, and Timothy Hutton star in the adaptation of DC Comics’ Y: The Last Man, a post-apocalyptic world where only one male mammal has survived. Pilot order. Michael Green (American Gods) scripts and EPs.
- 68 Whiskey at Paramount Network . Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment produces this half-hour dark comedy adaptation of Charlie Golf One, an Israeli series about a diverse group of medics stationed in Afghanistan. Sounds a lot like M*A*S*H to me! Howard is set to direct. Roberto Benabib scripts.
- Quantum and Woody at TBS. The Russo Bros. (Avengers: Infinity War) and the screenwriters from Ant-Man & Wasp adapt this super hero Valiant Entertainment Comic inspired by the characters Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes played in White Men Can’t Jump. Only they have super powers. Pilot order for a TV series based on a Comic that is inspired by a Film. Triple-threat!
- Halo at Showtime. 10-episode series order for this popular video game from Microsoft with Amblin producing this futuristic conflict. Kyle Killen scripts and EPs with Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) set to direct.
- Fortnite at TBD. ‘Tis only a matter of time as this is the game of the moment. The Most Important Video Game on the Planet
- Watchmen at HBO. Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Lost) delves back into the Alan Moore graphic novel source material and assembles a stellar cast of Super Heroes that includes Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Don Johnson, and Louis Gossett, Jr. Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers) directed the pilot. Series order. Interestingly, Lindelof says his take is more “remix” than adaptation of the graphic novel with some new characters to explore. More world-building! Damon Lindelof Loves A Sad Ending – New York Public Library Interview
- Midnight’s Children at Netflix. The 1981 Salman Rushdie novel about India’s independence from British colonialism centers on one character who is telepathically connected to 1,000 other people born at the same hour in 1947. Series order.
- Invincible at Amazon. Robert Kirkman’s popular comic gets an 8-episode hour-long animated series order for this adult superhero multi-generational story about fathers and sons.
- Dolly Parton Songbook at Netflix. Parton follows up her successful NBC adaptations of Coat of Many Colors and Jolene.
- Nightbreed at SyFy. Based on best-selling horror author Clive Barker’s short story collection and graphic novel, Cabal, series explores race relations in America, only the races are humans and monsters. Hmm. Morgan Creek and UCP produce.
- Resident Alien at SyFy. Based on the Dark Horse Comics title about an alien posing as a Colorado doctor who surmises Humanity might not be worth saving. Pilot order.
- Tender is the Night at TBD. Colin Callender (Wolf Hall, Little Women) has optioned F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final novel for television with an international co-production likely as the story is set in the South of France and recalls Fitzgerald’s romance with his wife, Zelda.
- Welcome to Night Vale at FX. A fictitious radio show covering the supernatural news in the Southwest USA. The popular podcast gets adapted by Sony TV.
- Wolverine: The Podcast via Stitcher. Now, this is interesting. Marvel Studios has launched a 10-episode podcast murder mystery with Logan as the primary suspect based on The Long Night storyline. Richard Armitage (Berlin Station) voices everyone’s favorite grumpy mutant. Check Out The Trailer To The Podcast Here.
- Les Miserables at BBC. Victor Hugo’s novel about Jean Valjean, a man sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread, gets adapted (again).
- Catch-22 at Paramount Network (formerly Spike). George Clooney EPs and directs a 6-episode adaptation of Joseph Heller’s book.
- Crimetown at FX. Another Podcast gets adapted. Crimetown is from the creators of The Jinx. Organized crime and city corruption in Rhode Island take center stage. S2 Looks Into Detroit’s Corruption.
- Inside The Church of Chili’s at NBC. Inspired by an article in GQ Magazine, this ensemble comedy centers on Super Trainers who travel across the country opening new franchises of a successful restaurant chain. Conde Nast partners with Sony TV.
- The Lord of the Rings at Amazon. Warner Bros. TV is producing a prequel series adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic novels set in Middle Earth. No Showrunner set yet. Not Ready Until 2021!
- I Know This Much Is True at HBO. Mark Ruffalo stars in and EPs this 8-hour miniseries adaptation of the Wally Lamb best-selling novel, playing dual roles (Loved It!). Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) writes and directs. High hopes for this one.
- Nancy Drew at NBC. The teenage sleuth and her best friend get an update (again) after CBS passed on a previous incarnation. Ah, The Secret Is In The Clock!
- The Name of the Rose at TBD. John Turturro and Rupert Everett topline this 8-hour miniseries adaptation of the Umberto Eco best-selling novel.
- The Blinds at TBD. Neil Sternberg’s novel was just published a year ago (August 1st) and was scooped up by Sony TV three weeks later. Story centers on a Texas town, wherein, all the residents or either former criminals or victims of crimes. The Twist is everyone has had their memories erased and has a new chance to begin again. A Thriller.
- The Haunting of Hill House at Netflix. Timothy Hutton is to star for Paramount TV and Amblin in this adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel. Ten episodes have been ordered straight to series. Mike Flanagan directs. Here is the T R A I L E R. Premieres Oct. 12th. GQ Calls Hill House TV’s First Great Horror Series.
- Black Samurai at STARZ. An update of Marc Olden’s novels and a 1977 film courtesy of Jerry Bruckheimer, this is an action-drama about an American soldier who trains with a Samurai master. Common stars and also EPs.
- A Discovery of Witches at SKY. Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer topline this adaptation of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy. Premieres January 17, 2019 in the US on Sundance Now, AMC’s SVOD service as well as Shudder, the streaming service specializing in Horror. It was only a matter of time before Witches got hot again! Oxford locations! I’m in. Here’s the very enticing Trailer.
- Good Omens at Amazon. Limited series produced by BBC Studios based on the book by Neil Gaiman & Sir Terry Pratchett about the Earth’s final days. Hour-long comedy stars David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm and Frances McDormand. Here’s the T R A I L E R (which I found uneven and unfunny).!
- The Changling at Annapurna. No buyer yet for a TV version of Victor LaValle’s novel about a newborn and his parents.
- Ascendant at Starz. Veronica Roth’s last entry in the popular YA Divergent series gets a TV adaptation following a lukewarm last feature film. Smart move.
- The Rook at Starz. Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) sold this project to the BBC last year, and now Lionsgate is on board to produce for Starz, however, Meyer has since left the series which is an adaptation of Daniel O’Malley’s novel about an amnesiac in London with a shady past as a British Secret Service agent. Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson, and Olivia Munn star.
- Homecoming at Amazon. Julia Roberts stars in this political thriller based on a podcast about government conspiracy. Two seasons ordered! Anonymous Content and Universal Cable produce. Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) scripts. Sissy Spaceck and Bobby Cannavale also star. Premieres Nov. 2nd, and here’s The Trailer
- Today Will Be Different at HBO. More Julia Roberts! JR is attached to star in this miniseries version of Maria Semple’s novel.
- The Nix at HBO. Nathan Hill’s fun novel gets Meryl Streep as its matriarchal lead.
- The Passage at Fox. Justin Cronin’s very dark alternate future where a vampiric plague has drastically changed the United States still haunts me. Series order for Midseason with a January 2019 premiere. This book greatly disturbed me (but in a good way). Will take a wait and see approach as the casting does not thrill me. Mark-Paul Gosselar stars.
- Tales of the City at Netflix. Unclear if this latest adaptation is based on Armisted Maupin’s columns and books or the successful Showtime re-boot of the PBS Masterpiece original adaptation. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are set to return to Barbary Lane in San Francisco.
- The Witcher at Netflix. A group of young people hunt demons in this series based on Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski’s books. Sean Daniel (The Mummy) produces. Buffy 2.0 anyone? Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible, Superman, Justice League) has signed on to star. Wow! Check out Henry Cavill’s Recent Post on Instagram!
- Agatha Christie Mysteries at BBC One and Amazon. Ordeal By Innocence is the latest of these evergreen properties that are getting re-made following recent updates to And Then There Were None (which Lifetime broadcast) and Witness for the Prosecution (Acorn). John Malkovich stars in the upcoming ABC Murders.
Not all adaptations work, so take heart, Scribes, as there will always be room for a terrific original idea. In the meantime, get to work on that Podcast or Graphic Novel.
N E X T U P:
Female Characters Who Deserve Their Own Story.