Thursday, July 3, 2014

Starz: The New Home of TV Shows from the Books You Love

by Sara N.

Nice work, Starz. You've almost got me reeled in. I've been sorely tempted to add you to my cable lineup ever since I heard you were turning the beloved time travel novel Outlander into a television series. But you can't add an entire cable channel on the strength of just one show, right?

Then you announced earlier this week that you're turning Neil Gaiman's American Gods into a series, as well. (And not only that, but Outlander with Ronald D. Moore and American Gods with Bryan Fuller!) Tricky, tricky, tricky. I'm almost ready to call Comcast and sign up.

But let me negotiate for even better terms. Good things come in threes, and I need one more reason to add another charge to my cable bill, which is high enough already. What I'm saying is, you need to pick up one more book-based series to draw discerning SF/F book lovers to your subscriber ranks.

Naturally, I have some suggestions.

Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra's Y: The Last Man — Hello, how is this graphic novel not a show already? Causes unknown kill every last male except Yorkick and his intrepid monkey. The society that develops as a result is horrifying, heartbreaking, and exhilarating. Do this justice as a TV show, Starz, and I'm a subscriber for life.

Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy — I don't know how many zombie shows the television landscape can support, but this trilogy has action, politics, treachery and intrigue, plus a likable brother/sister duo. Oh, and the hungry undead. Seems like an easy pick.

Scott Sigler's Infection trilogy — Sigler writes smart sci fi, particularly his Infection books. They follow the spread of a malevolent alien species that invade the body, affect the brain, and spread in a terrifying fashion. The first book is a more personal tale of body horror; the next two books bust the horror wide open.

Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy — A bloodier, zipper Song of Ice and Fire, this series follows Logen Ninefingers and his wildly mismatched traveling companions as they — you know what? Fewer details are better. Suffice it to say there's political intrigue, magic, murder, warfare, and the most detestable yet sympathetic torturer in history. This could be some bloody good television.

Mike Carey's Felix Caster series — Felix is a London-based exorcist with a Succubus partner, a possessed best friend, and a tin whistle. This is the type of atmospheric/scary/funny series that would zing on cable.

Justin Cronin's The Passage series — It's a sprawling vampire tale that spans decades and has a cast of — well, not thousands, but lots. Along with a radically changed society and the occasional violent clashes with hostile supernaturals (and non-supernaturals), this series has an odd strain of mysticism in it that could make for compelling (or possibly frustrating) television.

Max Brook's World War ZMake it a TV show (the way it should have been all along), and do it right this time. You know, BY STICKING TO THE STORY HELPFULLY PROVIDED IN THIS MOST EXCELLENT BOOK.

Max Barry's Jennifer GovernmentBarry's book tells of a society ruled by money, in which people assume the last name of the company they work for and corporations stage violent displays to manufacture hype for their latest products. This cheerfully amoral world could be a backdrop for many seasons of stories featuring the girl with the bar code tattoo. (And it's timely! I mean, corporations are people now.)

Robin McKinley's Sunshine —I've written about this book before, so I'm a little hesitant to recommend it, but hear me out. McKinley's created such a fully realized world that it would make a rich backdrop for a thinking person's vampire show. On the other hand, the book is a perfect gem that hasn't been diluted by sequels of diminishing returns, and I fear a TV show could tarnish that.

Connie Willis' Doomsday Book — A young scholar travels back to the 14th century. Her mentor stays behind in modern-day England. They both face challenges that are better left revealed as you experience the story. The parallel tales could make for an interesting television take on this gorgeous book.

In closing, Starz, pick one of these properties and get it into development ASAP, and you've just earned one more subscriber.

And how about you, readers? What book adaptation would get you to subscribe?

(Note: I wanted to include Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, but it's so special effects-heavy that I'm worried it would come off as cheesy or Lucas-fake. And I love Scott Lynch's Locke Lamora books so much that I can't bear the thought of what might happen in a TV adaptation. Also, props to FX for adapting The Strain and AMC for adapting The Terror. I'm glad you're already in my TV lineup. Oh, and thanks to Laura for some of these book suggestions!)
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  1. Starz also has Wendig's Blackbirds in development. I'm very excited with their current projects.

    100% x infinity agree with Newsflesh, Sunshine and World War Z (I remember us discussing how this should have been a miniseries mockumentary from the start).

    I'm worried in part about the effects, but with the right tone, Rat Queens would be f-ing awesome. I'd love to see a series set in Blackmoore's magical LA. Brennan's Generation V is action but also a lot of supernatural politics and dysfunctional family dynamics. McGuire's Incryptids could bring the monster of the week, but with a conservation theme.

    So many possibilities...

  2. Of course, once you've filled up your TV series collection with one particular show, what do you do next? Watch it all away in binges.
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