December 6, 2013
By Colin Surguine
Vampires, secret societies, spies, time travel… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Novel adaptions are plentiful in the cable TV world, and there are some greats ones on the horizon next year. HBO, among other networks, has enjoyed enormous success with programs adapted from novels. “Game of Thrones,” originally authored by George RR. Martin, has taken on a huge cult following and is now entering its 4th season. AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was originally a graphic novel written by Robert Kirkman and sketched by Tony Moore. H.G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream was picked up by NBC in 2006 and has now enjoyed 5 successful seasons. And of course who could forget everyone’s favorite serial killer, Dexter Morgan, from Jeff Lindsay’s novel, appearing in Showtime’s “Dexter.” Here’s a look at what networks have in store for viewers in the coming year so you can get a jump on that reading list.
Nothing sells better than horror, and The Strain has the potential to make Freddy Krueger look like Hello Kitty. Premiering on FX this summer, the series is based on Author Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro’s trilogy of the same title. In New York City, a vampiric disease begins to take over while a motley crew of fighters try to find a way to stop the contagion. But these aren’t going to be your typical vampires from “Buffy.” Academy Award nominee Guillermo Del Toro, director of Pan’s Labyrinth, Hell Boy, Mimic, and now The Strain’s pilot, is the master of creepy and will certainly give the audience something to sink their teeth into.
No, this isn’t about your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, nor is it a cooking show. In “The Leftovers,” 3 years have gone by since the Rapture and those left behind in the suburban community of Mapleton must begin to rebuild their lives after the mysterious disappearance of more than 100 of their family, friends and neighbors. The series, based on author Tom Perrotta’s novel, is scheduled to premiere on HBO sometime next year. Tom Perrotta has also teamed up with co-writer of “Lost,” Damon Lindelof. If you remember the wild trip Lost took, Lindelof and his character-driven writing style will certainly leave you guessing.
In 2014, Starz will be introducing its new original series “Outlander,” adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books. Produced by Ronald Moore, who was also responsible for “Battlestar Galactica,” the series introduces Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who mysteriously travels back in time to 1743. There she is caught in a dangerous situation and forced to marry a hopelessly romantic Scottish warrior. Caitriona Balfe from Now You See Me will take the lead role of Claire Randall. Other notable cast members include Tobias Menzies from Game of Thrones.
AMC will be introducing its new series Turn in 2014 as it scurries to fill the void left by “Breaking Bad.” Set in the summer of 1778, the show follows childhood friends who form a top-secret group called The Culper Ring that assists George Washington to win the Revolutionary War and help America gain independence. The series is adapted from Alexander Rose’s non-fiction novel, Washington Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, and written by Craig Silverstein, who also writes for Bones. The series will star Jamie Bell from Jumper among other notable actors, like Burn Gorman from The Dark Knight Rises, and Kevin McNally from the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
AMC will also be introducing another novel adaptation likely around Halloween in 2014, which is typically when AMC releases its horror shows. Terror, based on Dan Simmons’ fiction novel, is about Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to the Artic in 1845 where he was in search of the Northwest Passage. The band of explorers faces scurvy, mutiny and starvation as they battle the elements and unknowingly are hunted by an unseen predator.
BBC Worldwide Productions will be joining the ranks with “The Intruders” and building its original programming line-up. The series will begin production early spring of 2014. Glen Morgan, writer for “The X-Files” and “Those Who Kill,” has written Intruders’ script based on Michael Marshall Smith’s novel of the same title. The series is about a secret society based in Seattle whose members seek refuge in the bodies of others in hopes of gaining immortality.
North and South
After the success of History’s “Hatfields and McCoys,” a handful of networks have jumped on the mini-series bandwagon. Based on John Jakes’ trilogy of novels, Discovery has ordered a re-make of the 1985 mini-series, “North and South.” Jakes, who is also the executive producer of the new mini-series, writes about two families: one comprised of Northern factory owners from Pennsylvania and the other of Southern plantation owners. When a member of each family meets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, both families grow close.
“Unraveling” is a teen sci-fi and romance series adapted from Elizabeth Norris’ novel–so naturally MTV snatched it up. The series is based on a girl named Janelle who is struck by a car and believes she is somehow mysteriously resurrected by a classmate, Ben, who is part of an ongoing FBI investigation led by Janelle’s FBI agent father. The series is currently in development and set to premiere some time in 2014.