The holiday season is near. Hopefully that means you’ll get some much needed time away from school, work, or whatever else keeps you from enjoying the things you really want to do, like spending an afternoon in an extreme streaming marathon. Speaking of streaming marathons, we have rounded up some of the best book adaptations worth streaming.
So…borrow a friend’s password, grab some snacks, and get comfy because you are going to be up late with all these worthwhile shows. Stream early and stream often, bookish friends. If you choose your adaptations wisely, then you may find yourself preferring the TV adaptation over the source material. *Gasp!*
If you are only using your Amazon Prime membership to get packages
delivered to the trunk of your car delivered while you’re sleeping delivered within 1–2 days, then it is time to download the Prime Video App and get to streaming. Don’t know where to start? No worries! We have a few adaptations you should definitely add to the must-watch list.
The adaptation of The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie can easily be watched during one lazy afternoon. Originally broadcast over three consecutive nights on BBC One, the three-episode series is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
John Malkovich takes a spin as Hercule Poirot trying to solve the murders committed by the A.B.C. Killer. Although Malkovich garnered much praise for his performance, the literary license taken with the adaptation upset many fans of the original story. We would love to know how Christie Stans would grade this adaptation.
Based on The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, Season 1 of this adaptation follows the titular team of vigilantes as they fight back against the superpowered people who abuse their powers. The Boys is not the superhero adaptation for the faint of heart, so expect plenty of blood and gore. This ain’t a Marvel production. However, it is likely you will still enjoy the series. Well, Amazon thinks you will. They renewed The Boys for a second season before its premiere.
Good Omens is inspired by Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The six-episode miniseries follows longtime friends, demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale, as they work together to stop Armageddon. Although there was a petition to cancel Good Omens on Netflix, we are happy to report the series is still available for streaming on Amazon.
Jim Halpert John Krasinksi is the latest actor to portray the titular character from Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Universe series. In the first season, Jack Ryan leaves the security of his desk to work in the field after discovering a string of suspicious bank transfers. Season 2 sees him in the middle of political corruption in fictionalized Venezuela.
In The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, it is 15 years after World War II. Imperial Japan along with Nazi Germany rule over the former United States with a totalitarian regime. Germany rules over the eastern part of the United States, now known as Greater Nazi Reich. The Empire of Japan rules over the Japanese Pacific States to the west.
The final season of The Man in the High Castle recently ended, so streamers can watch this terrifying yet riveting 40-episode adapted story from beginning to end without interruption.
Disney+ may be the new kid on the streaming services block, but it came in with the roar of King Simba. For the comic book nerds, there is X-Men: The Animated Series, which is still better than any of the X-Men movies. Of course, there is the most anticipated Disney+ original series The Mandalorian, which has already been renewed for a second season! That is excellent news for those who can’t get enough Star Wars lore (or Baby Yoda).
There are also plenty of movie adaptations worth streaming on Disney+ since most of Disney’s original animated movies are inspired from fairy tales. The Little Mermaid and Frozen are based on fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson. Snow White, Tangled, and The Princess and the Frog are among the movies adapted from Grimm fairy tales. However, there are also live action adaptations if you prefer movies with real people like The Princess Diaries, based on the book series by Meg Cabot.
I recommend streaming the underrated and “radical” Queen of Katwe, adapted from The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster by Tim Crothers. In this story about Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl who learns to play chess and eventually becomes a Woman Candidate Master.
The adaptation we are impatiently waiting for is Little Fires Everywhere, but this mini series still has an unspecified 2020 release date. Until then, here are a few adaptations worth streaming on Hulu:
The psychological thriller Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty has been adapted into a BBC One mini series starring Emily Watson as Dr. Yvonne Carmichael. Yvonne Carmichael is a fiftysomething scientist who is unhappily married and unsatisfied with her pedestrian life. She soon begins an impulsive and wild affair with a stranger that will go on to ruin both of their lives.
With only four episodes in the series, Apple Tree Yard can easily be an amuse bouche in your adaptation marathon session. However, we must warn you. This story contains sexual violence against women.
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Although Castle Rock is not a standard adaptation, it is still an adaptation worth streaming for Stephen King fans. Not only will you be frightened and delighted by the series’ twists and turns, true fans will enjoy hunting for Easter eggs and seeing familiar faces show up in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine.
Lucky you for waiting until your holiday vacation to start streaming this series. Hulu originally released only 1 episode each week! There are two seasons ready and waiting to be streamed by you while waiting to hear if there will be a third season.
Experience George Clooney’s adaptation of Catch-22, the satirical World War II novel by Joseph Heller. John Yossarian is trapped in the bureaucratic rule of Catch-22. Since Catch-22 continues to be a staple on many high school reading lists, this six-part limited series is definitely one of the adaptations worth streaming for those who refuse to read the novel, but still have an essay to write. Fans of the book may want to see how George Clooney handled their favorite read.
The BBC spy thriller television series Killing Eve is based on the Villanelle series by Luke Jennings. British intelligence investigator Eve Polastri must capture psychopathic assassin Villanelle. As the cat and mouse chase progresses, the two women develop a mutual obsession.
Season 1 is currently available for streaming on Hulu, but don’t breeze through those 8 episodes too quickly. Season 2 is still not yet available as of this writing, but there is hope Season 2 of Killing Eve will show up around the first week of December 2019 based on the release schedule for Season 1.
The newest of the adaptations worth streaming on Hulu is inspired by YA darling John Green’s debut coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska. In this eight-episode mini series, Miles Halter leaves his regular high school for boarding school where quickly falls in love with a fellow student. Although much of the original plot and dialogue from the novel remains unchanged, the story has received a much needed face lift to better reflect teenage life in 2019.
If you want an adaptation that is the gift that keeps on giving, then immediately start streaming the series based on the novel Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile. Set in NOLA, Queen Sugar chronicles the lives of the estranged Bordelon siblings Nova, Charley, and Ralph Angel as they take over the family sugar cane farm after the death of their father.
The series airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network, but the first three seasons are currently available for streaming on Hulu with Season 4 to soon follow. Plus, there will be a Season 5! The critically acclaimed Queen Sugar gets top marks for its racially progressive storylines and for using women to direct every episode.
Where would we be without Netflix teaching us the ways of vegging out while we watch an entire season of a show in one day after getting hooked 10 minutes into the first episode? Here are a few shows that will hopefully do just that for you during your break:
Inspired by the true crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Mindhunter follows the FBI Behavioral Science Unit during the early days of criminal profiling at the FBI. Agents and psychologists interview serial killers and use the gained knowledge to help solve cases.
The first two seasons of Mindhunter are available for book nerds who want to take a walk on the dark side of murder, but don’t be too eager to breeze through all 19 episodes. Season 3 will be delayed while show creator David Fincher works on another Netflix project, a biopic about Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz.
Queen of the South is an adaptation of the telenovela La Reina Del Sur, which was inspired by the Spanish language novel of the same name by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. In this crime drama, a poor woman from Sinaloa, Mexico becomes wealthy by building a vast drug empire.
Although Queen of the South originally airs on the USA Network, Seasons 1–3 are currently available for streaming on Netflix. Each season contains 13 episodes, so bring snacks, but don’t get through these three seasons too quickly. There is no news about when Seasons 4 and 5 will show up in your feed.
Related: 100 Must-Read Latin American Books
Adapted from the comic book series of the same name created by Gerad Way and Gabriel Bá, Umbrella Academy centers around a dysfunctional family of adopted siblings who are also superheroes. After their father’s death, the group reunites to solve the mystery of his death and defend against the threat of an impending apocalypse.
The first season of Umbrella Academy received high praise for the cast and visuals, and the show was quickly renewed for a second season. Bring fans of Ellen Paige and MJB together and watch all 10 episodes of Season 1. Then start the countdown to Season 2, which is expected to premiere in the later half of 2020.
This adaptation of the comic series V-Wars: Chronicles of the Vampire Wars by Jonathan Maberry. Scientist Dr. Luther Swann and his best friend face the evolving crisis of an outbreak. The resulting pandemonium may lead to a war between vampires and humans. Season 1 premieres on December 5, 2019, so there is no need to play catch up with this adaptation! All interested parties will be able to get in on the ground floor.
The Witcher, based on the book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, is another new adaptation coming to Netflix. Geralt of Rivia is a solitary monster hunter struggling to find his place in the world. Destiny brings him together with a powerful sorceress and a young princess. Season 1 premieres on December 20, 2019, and it has already been renewed for a second season. Sounds like Netflix may have another winning adaptation on their hands, but we will let you be the judge.
You is adapted from the thriller novel of the same name by Caroline Kepnes. Bookstore manager Joe Goldberg (
Gossip Girl Dan Humphrey Penn Badgley) quickly becomes infatuated with aspiring writer Guinevere Beck. He uses any and all forms of technology to fuel his obsession and removes any obstacles trying to keep them apart.
The second season of You premieres on December 26. Since there are only 10 episodes in Season 1, pro Netflix streamers will have plenty of time to get through the entire season and go right into the Season 2 with little to no wait time! Like the sequel to You, Hidden Bodies, this story takes Joe from New York to Los Angeles.