TV producers nowadays are tapping published fiction left and right for the next hit series. Well, I can’t blame them. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones), Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels (True Blood), and Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels have all become pop culture phenomena. We’re quite used to movie studios flipping through bestseller lists to score a winner at the box office, but it seems like only in recent years has cable television likewise shown such faith in books.
In any case, TV networks are buying up book rights like $3 toasters on Black Friday. Some of the recent higher profile deals have included
… and that’s just HBO.
As for Showtime, they’ve got a couple Stephens working on adapting Under the Dome: King and Spielberg, those ones.
Bear in mind that purchased rights do not a series make. We’ll witness maybe a couple of these projects light up TV screens, if we’re lucky. Well, “lucky” being a subjective term– if you’re a Faulkner fan, I suggest you circulate a petition now to prevent the assured deformation of his work. I don’t see why HBO would dramatize Yoknapatawpha unless the plan were to populate it with nymphomaniacal vampires.
The Corrections already has a cast, but as for the others in the running, the smart money’s on King’s and Gaiman’s books: much of their work has already been adapted to film/TV, and in these things precedence matters greatly. Middlesex comes next on the likelihood spectrum and then Goon Squad which I greet with laughter (don’t get me wrong–I enjoyed that one, but in print).
With all of these irons in the fire, it’s hard to believe any original ideas are being developed for a premium cable series. But I don’t respond to this the way I do when Hollywood announces the next Transformers movie (for one thing, I don’t bleed mysteriously from the eyes and ears). If nothing else, I like the spirit of adapting published fiction to reach a larger audience. And while nobody’s inventing a completely new story when adapting novels, they can keep going back to that well as far as I’m concerned, so long as they draw good water from it.