Have you ever read a book and pictured who would play those characters on the screen? Those are the books that capture your imagination and stay with you long after.

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Books to Adapt for the Screen
Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

There are countless programs on TV. You realize after a while that most of those TV series eventually look the same. Frankly, I’m tired of watching another Law & Order, Chicago, or NCIS TV spinoff. It’s no better in the world of movies. There are offerings of movie remakes and movie updates in the last few years. I’m old enough to remember the original version of these movies! Superheroes dominate the movies and have found another home on TV. It is becoming difficult to find original content as a viewer.

The success of the Harry Potter movies gave rise to a myriad of fantasy TV and movie series featuring vampires and werewolves. This TV and movie era is ending. If producers are struggling for original content, there are several books to adapt for TV or movies.

1. The Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich

My name is Stephanie Plum and I was born and raised in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, where the top male activities are scarfing pastries and pork rinds and growing love handles. The pastry and pork rind scarfing I’ve seen firsthand. The love handles grow over time. Thank God for small favors.

Quote from To The Nines, p1 by Janet Evanovich

The Stephanie Plum book series would be an ideal adaptation as a television comedy. Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter who works for Vincent Plum’s Bail Bonds. She is close to her gun-toting maternal grandmother, Grandma Mazur, who sometimes accompanies her on her cases and is one of the funniest characters in the books. These books are laugh-out-loud funny.

The characters in this book series, such as Lula who works with Stephanie initially as a filing clerk, would translate well to television. One of these books, One for the Money, was made into a move, but I think these books would be better suited for television because of the richness of the stories over the series. It is downright funny and there’s nothing on TV like it. Stephanie Plum is not a conventional character, but her escapades are hilarious and would be well worth the watch.

2. American Royals by Katharine McGee

This young adult series published in 2019 is ideal for a television adaptation. It is an alternate history story in which George Washington is the first king of America, and a few centuries later, the House of Washington still rules. They pass a law that enables the first-born child to inherit the throne, regardless of gender, the same ruling the real-life English Royal family pronounced before the birth of Prince William’s firstborn.

In American Royals, Princess Beatrice is the firstborn to King George IV, making her first in line to the throne. Her younger siblings, Samantha and Jefferson, are carefree and enjoy their lives while she has to follow royal protocol and find a suitable husband. The book deals with her challenges and those of her siblings. It is a funny, well-written book with strong, likable characters. It is too rich for a single moving but would make a brilliant television series. It would attract both young and old audiences and hopefully introduce newer faces to our TV screens, likely to be a modern take on something like Netflix’s The Crown.

3. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Cover image from Goodreads

The Water Dancer is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ fictional book debut. It is historical fiction with magical realism, telling the story of Hiram Walker, a man of mixed race born into slavery. He possesses a photographic memory and a special power called conduction. He discovers his power after a tragic incident on a bridge in which conduction allows him to transport himself across distances. Memories of his mother activate this power. It is heartbreaking as we watch Hiram’s journey unfold. The characters he encounters provide historical context to the African-American struggle for freedom.

This book is so beautifully written. There have been many books and movies on slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, but this book offers a fress perspective with the addition of a character with superpowers that makes it intriguing. It is too lare a story for television, but would translate well as a move. It wouldn’t surprise me is there isn’t already interest in this book to be optioned as a movie.


Books can be magical. They can transport you to unique worlds and spaces. We’ve all read a book or two where we wish they could make it into a TV series or movie. We crave original movies and TV series after a long diet of superheroes and vampires. Have you read any books that you would want to be made into a movie or TV series?