8 TV Shows You Didn’t Know Were Inspired By BooksPublished on June 15, 2017. Updated April 12, 2019
Many television producers seem to follow the classic formula of looking to book series for inspiration when planning their next hit television series. Often this method of TV adaption is a foolproof way for success because the characters already have a fan-base when being transformed onto the big screen. At times, these television spin offs even seem to outlive the success of the novel series and take on a life of their own with separate twists and turns than the book initially laid out. Check out 8 successful television shows you didn’t know were inspired by books:
8. Friday Night Lights
Many fans of the successful football drama Friday Night Lights are completely unaware that the story line originally came from a book published in 1988. The series actually tells a true story of the Permian Panthers high school football team in Odessa, Texas, and was written by Buzz Bissinger, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. The best-selling book later expanded into a movie and then into the successful TV show we know it as today.
7. Pretty Little Liars
The long-standing teen drama Pretty Little Liars definitely took a few unexpected turns along the way and has finally announced its conclusion during its astounding seventh season. The show began as a popular teen book series by Sara Shepard, featuring brightly coloured book covers with dolls on the cover and the series totals to a surprising sixteen novels. The hit novel series transferred its legacy to the television networks in 2010 and follow a similar plot line of four best friends living in Rosewood trying to solve the secret to their ring leader Alison DiLaurentis’ death. Although the plot line started off similarly, the story definitely spiraled into something that the books did not by the end of season 2 when Mona was revealed to be “A.”
6. Orange Is The New Black
When Orange Is The New Black first premiered on Netflix, the show was the recipient of much praise and high reviews from its loyal viewers. However, one thing that these fans may not realize is that the hit television series actually originally was a book entitled Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Is the screen adaption of Piper’s experience in prison accurate to her experience in prison? Not exactly. Many of the details and even characters were made up entirely for the purpose of furthering the one-book plot line and for purely entertainment’s sake.
5. House of Cards
The prize-winning adaption of House Of Cards with its frequent cliffhangers and unexpected twists surprisingly originated as a novel! Michael Dubbs, author of the original novel, actually published a blog post speaking of how deeply the story line – both book and TV series – have affected his life. In the post he wrote, “The US series is different, of course, but not that different than the book that started it all. It’s true to the spirit of the story I wrote so many years ago—a dark tale of greed, corruption and unquenchable ambition.”
4. The Vampire Diaries
The hit teen drama The Vampire Diaries had just as much success during it’s original debut as a book series as it did on television! Teens everywhere grew up with the book characters of the series, so when the debut of the series portrayed the ever-popular Elena Gilbert as a brunette rather than a blonde, the loyal fans were outraged and judged the show even before it premiered! Despite the initial uproar, the show was highly successful and after an impressive eight years of doppelgängers and love triangles, the fantasy teen series concluded this past March.
3. Gossip Girl
The fashion-forward teen drama Gossip Girl actually began much earlier than its TV debut in 2007! The constant battle for queen of the upper east side between elites Blair and Serena originated in a book series written by Cecily von Ziegesar and quickly became a bestseller in the young adult genre. Vastly different from the TV series, the iconic romance between Chuck and Blair actually never happened in the novels and Chuck even comes out as gay midway through the series! Most shocking of all, Gossip Girl is never revealed at the end, leaving the core mystery of the series up to the reader’s discretion.
2. Sex And The City
While the hit television drama does not have a book series reflected directly from it, Sex And the City as we know it was actually inspired by a series of columns written by New York journalist Candace Bushnell. In comparison to the TV series, it is clear that the novel portrays a stripped down and raw version of New York devoid of the glamour that Carrie Bradshaw made apparent on our television screens. Rather, Bushnell spoke of New York materialism, cramped lifestyles and sleazy men. So is Bushnell the real life Carrie Bradshaw and does Mr. Big actually grace the streets of New York? Despite many obvious connections, Bushnell has continued to deny that the character of Carrie is a direct reflection of herself, but I guess we’ll never know for certain!
1. 13 Reasons Why
The hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why had everyone talking due to its highly sensitive subject matter and graphic images. The original version of Hannah Baker’s story began as a single novel, which means much of the individual character plot lines were expanded when creating the TV show and will be even more so when season 2 is released. Since the book was released nearly a decade earlier than the recent debut of the television series, much has changed in high school culture including the prominent role of social media and technology. The TV series decided to stay true to modern day bulling and showed a lot of rumours circulating over text messages and Facebook which made Hannah’s story even more realistic for teens struggling with depression in 2017.