Hollywood has adapted plenty of young adult book series in recent years, looking for the next big Hunger Games or Harry Potter movie franchise. Although young adult fiction adaptations have struggled lately to produce hits in theaters, television networks are still reaping the benefit to adapting book series into television shows.
Networks like the CW and Freeform have long looked to YA fiction for inspiration, and have churned out hits like The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. Now, Netflix and other networks are getting into the game and producing shows based on popular series like A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Here are five other book series we think would be great for television:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
In 2005, writer Rick Riordian laid the foundation for a modern world filled with gods and mythological creatures in The Lightning Thief. Riordian built that world up over the last decade, creating new characters and adding aspects of Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology. To date, Riordian has written five separate book series, all existing within the same shared universe ripe with crossover potential.
20th Century Fox tried their hand at a Olympians movie franchise a few years back, but it fizzled after just two movies. Instead of giving up on the franchise entirely, Fox should consider rebooting the Percy Jackson novels into a television series.
At first glance, it might not seem like the Percy Jackson books are ideal for a television series. Jackson and his friends face off against a ton of fantastical creatures (meaning a high special effect budget) and the books are usually action-packed. But by giving the show shorter seasons and pushing focus to the characters and plot instead of (often superfluous) action, there's probably a way to fit the books within the realities of a television budget.
If you grew up in the late 1990s, you probably remember the long-running Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate. Animorphs started a group of young teenagers drafted into a war between the bodysnatching Yeerks, who are silently preparing Earth for invasion. To help them in their battles, the teens are giving the ability to transform into any animal they touch for a limited time.
For a book series about kids changing into animals, the series actually had a lot of deep themes. The Animorphs were essentially drafted into a guerilla war and had to make horrific choices as the series progressed. Body horror is also a recurring theme, as one of the Animorphs gets trapped in animal form permanently.
Nickelodeon aired two seasons of an Animorphs television show back in the late 1990s (starring a young Shawn Ashmore), but the show never gained much of a fanbase and only lasted 26 episodes. With far better special effects available now and nostalgia for the late 1990s on the rise, it's a good time to bring the franchise back, preferably on a network like the CW or Freeform.
Set in a zany world where technologically advanced fairies lurk just under the surface of our world, the Artemis Fowl books entertained millions of children for the better part of the early 2000s.
Artemis Fowl is a teenage genius who frequently intrudes into the world of fairies, usually to advance one of his own nefarious schemes. Fowl begins the series as a supervillain in the making, but he slowly learns about altruism and selflessness as the series goes on. Fowl's schemes frequently involve Holly Short, an elf police officer who's equally repulsed and impressed by Fowl's unorthodox brilliance. Although Fowl and Short are enemies at first, the two are forced to work together to save both the human and fairy worlds on multiple occasions.
Disney purchased to the movie rights to the Artemis Fowl books back in 2013, but they've struggled to get the project off the ground. Since the core of Artemis Fowl revolves around Fowl and Short's complicated relationship, perhaps a TV show would be a better fit for the franchise.
Throne of Glass
High fantasy has always been a popular setting for young adult books and MTV's Sword of Shannara showed that it's possible to successfully adapt high fantasy young adult novels into television. Another fantastic series ripe for a TV adaptation is Throne of Glass, a series of novels by Sarah J. Maas.
Set in a kingdom where magic has been nearly eradicated, Throne of Glass is about an imprisoned assassin named Celaena who is given a chance at freedom by becoming the King's Champion. Celaena keeps her own agenda to herself, all the while struggling with complicated relationships with Prince Dorian and Chaol, Dorian's chief guard. Celaena eventually discovers secrets about her own heritage and leads the battle to return magic to her home.
Hulu recently picked up the rights Throne of Glass for their streaming service, so hopefully we'll see Celaena and her friends in live action soon.
JK Rowling's Harry Potter franchise remains a boon for bookstores around the world, even though Rowling ended the series nearly a decade ago. A book version of the script for Rowling's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was one of 2016's best-sellers, proving that fans still want to visit Rowling's Wizarding World today. The Harry Potter movie franchise is also an entertainment juggernaut, trailing only the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the highest-grossing movie franchise ever. Although we won't see Harry Potter in more movies any time soon, why not bring him to the small screen?
Let's face it, the Harry Potter books were always better suited for a serialized television series than movies. Although the movies do an amazing job bringing Potter's world to life, they carved out huge amounts of plot to fit the books into a 2 hour movie and reduced fan favorite characters to basically extended cameos with just a line or two per movie. The Harry Potter movies were wonderful, but a television show would actually do the books justice.
We recognize that a Harry Potter television show is a longshot. TV shows aren't as profitable as movies and its unlikely that WB wants to risk watering down the franchise with either a television remake of the books or trying to convince Rowling to work on a new story for television. But, if WB could figure out a reason to make a Harry Potter show, they'd instantly have a surefire ratings hit on their hands.