With the immeasurable success many companies have had adapting book series’ into movies or television, it’s little wonder that more studios haven’t already jumped on that bandwagon. With Warner Bros. Harry Potter adaptions currently the highest grossing series of all time, and the Peter Jackson’ Tolkien novel adaptions sitting in 4th place, there is obvious money to be found.
But what about on TV? Well, with the massive popularity boom that Game of Thrones on HBO is receiving, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the television frontier is now fully primed for a larger book-to-series presence. To name off the many book-to-series shows already upon us is an insane task, but to name a few we have Starz adapting Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and the CW has greenlit a second season for The 100, based on the series by author Kass Morgan. But let’s take a look at what we can expect from the SciFi/Fantasy genre in the years to come.
Syfy is adapting James S. A. Corey’s uber popular SciFi novel series The Expanse for TV. It’s an epic of such immense scale, it’ll surely be Syfy’s most ambitious project to date. I reviewed the first book, Leviathan Wakes, a month or so back, and I can’t wait to begin the second book, Caliban’s War. Currently there are four released novels in the series, each released on an annual basis, and we can expect at least two more novels along the way. Syfy has ordered this direct to series, with 10 hour-long episodes for its first season.
The series is touted as Game of Thrones in space. The official synopsis off Syfy’s website follows. “A thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.”
Touted as Harry Potter for adults, The Magicians trilogy by fantasy author Lev Grossman is a fan favorite. Syfy has ordered a pilot to be produced, and hopefully it’ll go somewhere. Back in 2011 Fox ordered a pilot, but eventually just dropped the project. I haven’t read the series, but have heard great things, especially with the third book in the trilogy having just been released.
Old Man’s War
Again, the Syfy channel grabs a good one. Old Man’s War, currently a 5-novel science fiction saga by John Scalzi, will be adapted into a series entitled Ghost Brigades (which is the title of the second book in the series). It’s been nominated for Hugo Awards, appeared in NPR’s Top 100 SciFi/fantasy series of all time, and has been voted the #1 science fiction novel of the 21st century. Academy Award-nominated director Wolfgang Petersen will be adapting the books for Syfy.
Here’s how Syfy explains it: “Ghost Brigades follows John Perry, who at seventy five, enlists into the Colonial Defense Force to fight a centuries-long war for man’s expansion into the cosmos. Technology allows experiences and consciousness to be transplanted into younger bodies that are outfitted to endure the harsher rigors of war in space. However, soon after John arrives, he finds himself involved with a mysterious woman, and at the same time, at the center of an unraveling conspiracy involving an elite fighting force known as The Ghost Brigades.”
Terry Brooks popular high fantasy series, Shannara, is long overdue for an adaption of any sort, and odd enough MTV have picked up the rights to produce it. The first book, The Sword of Shannara was released in 1977 and Terry Brooks has continued writing sequels and series within the Shannara universe to this day, over 35 years later. For better or for worse, Brooks has written over 30 novels for Shannara.
Because the first book is such a blatant rehash of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, MTV plan to jump right into the second book of the original Shannara trilogy, The Elfstones of Shannara with a ten-episode series. The pilot will be scribed by Miles Millar and Al Gough (the writers of Smallville). It’ll be produced by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), and the first two episodes will be directed by Jonathan Liebesman.
So, what do you think? Are you looking forward to any of these TV adaptions? Have you read any of the series, or plan to? Let me know. Also, which series do you think should be adapted for television? Personally, I cannot wait for the day they announce that The Stormlight Archive will be adapted!