Science Fiction Books That Have Become TV Series


A good science fiction book deserves a good television adaptation

Fortunately, there are lots of good science fiction television series that have been adapted from the original source. Here are some of the examples of sci-fi books that have been turned into television series that are really worth the watch, and watch all over again (in no particular order:

1. The Six Million Dollar Man

The long-running hit series was based on the best-selling Cyborg novels written by Martin Caidin. The Six Million Dollar Man has, in a way, surpassed the novels at this point, and people tend to forget that the TV series was an adaptation from the books. As with any other adaptations, there were some modifications and alterations. The show’s producers softened the concept, as they made the main character Steve Austin not evil and monstrous. And of course, the classic catchphrase “We have the technology, we can rebuild him.” The series has become a cultural icon.

2. The Vampire Diaries

The popular young adult vampire horror book series by L. J. Smith have been turned into a hit series, which began in 2009 and is still running. It may be not a masterpiece, but it’s one of the most irresistibly watchable shows on television right now. You could call that as kind of a guilty pleasure. Thanks to its attractive-looking main cast, cheesy love triangles and supernatural love and romance, The Vampire Diaries has held its own as an example of a sci-fi/fantasy television adaptation that stands on its own.

3. Nineteen Eighty Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a British TV adaptation from George Orwell’s novel of the same name. Its original airing came out in 1954, it became so controversial that it provoked questions asked in Parliament and a lot of viewer complaints because of the show’s subversive and horrific content. In fact, one housewife even reportedly died of shock from watching the show. Orwell’s novel was adapted into the small screen by Nigel Kneale, who was best known for his creation of the character Professor Bernard Quartermass. The British Film Institute ranked the TV series as one of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century.

4. The Tripods

The Tripods is a 1980s sci-fi TV series based on the first two novels of The Tripods series written by author John Christopher in the late 1960s. This British TV series was produced and aired by the BBC, which succeeded in delivering the post-apocalyptic world of 100 years in the future, where the humans have been enslaved by the three-legged giant walking machines called the Tripods. The humans then are controlled by the Caps, the implants that curb their curiosity and creativity. The Caps are designed to make humans less rebellious and disobedient against the Masters, who pilot the Tripods.

5. The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone (also known as Stephen King’s Dead Zone in the US), is sci-fi/suspense series produced in both US and Canada. Of course, the series was based on Stephen King’s 1979 novel. The show evokes a moody feeling and its apocalyptic future visions get interlaced with its utterly frightening plots. The main character is portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall. He wakes from a five-year coma after a car accident, and then finds out that he can foresee the future. However, he sees widespread ruin and destruction in the future. Unfortunately too, the man also sees frightening visions of his own self.

6. The Middleman

The Middleman wasn’t really based on a traditional novel, but a graphic novel, very much similar to a comic book. But still we can’t resist including it here. Screenwriter and producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (who also did Charmed and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) brought the graphic novels into a brilliant TV series. It is about an (almost-) hero who saves the world, and his apprentice Wendy Watson, who is an artist. This series is almost faithful to the graphic novels, from the crazy humor and geek in-jokes. But there is certainly a deeper character development as the show progresses. This is a very good and worthy adaptation.

7. Jekyll

Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of a mad scientist was transferred into the small screen by writer and producer Steven Moffat, who went on to helm the revived version ofDoctor Who. Moffat brings Hyde into the present, modern era, but still retaining all the stuff that is fearsome and nightmarish. The series successfully accomplishes to be a worthy adaptation of this sci-fi classic.

8. True Blood

Aside from The Vampire Diaries, there’s another vampire TV series that is based on a book and this time it’s on the best-selling The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by author Charlaine Harris. Debuting in 2008, the HBO’s original show has been running for seven seasons and counting. Writer and producer Alan Ball (creator of another HBO series Six Feet Under and the screenwriter of the Oscar-award winning film American Beauty) and his team haven’t been daunted to take the novels as their own. But even so, they give some respectful acknowledgement to the main characters as well as the ideas and concepts that have made the novels excellent and famous in their own right.

If you want to discover more classic books, you may read our list of the best books written in the 80s.

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