10 Classic Works Of Literature That Deserve Modern TV Adaptations

A split image of Beloved, 1984, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde books

Adapting iconic novels into movies has been a long-standing tradition in Hollywood. Recently, movies and shows have been adapted from novels in some of the most popular genres, including mystery thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

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However, there are still many works of classic literature that are due for a modern-day adaptation. While some of these classics have previously been adapted into movies, many novels have complex storylines and themes that are better suited for a TV series. These complex stories, which have continued to be influential throughout the years, have the potential to be hit shows.

10 One Hundred Years Of Solitude Is A Multi-Layered Storyline

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One Hundred Years of Solitude is a 1967 novel written by Columbian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is one of the most iconic magical realism stories, and it focuses on generations of the Buendia family. The novel was also a social commentary, as Marquez criticized the elitist culture in Latin America.

The storyline jumps back and forth at times, capturing the family members in different parts of their lives or revealing things to come in the future. Though the storyline would make a great flashback movie, the intricacy of the novel would be better developed into a long, multi-season series.

9 Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar Would Bring Attention To Mental Health

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for the novel The Bell Jar alongside an image of the author Sylvia Plath. 

The Bell Jar is the only novel written by poet and writer Sylvia Plath. The story is semi-autobiographical, but the names of places and people are altered. Esther’s story is truly haunting, as The Bell Jar outlines her mental health. While The Bell Jar was adapted into a movie in the ’70s and there was a rumor that there would be another movie adaptation, the story has more potential as a show.

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A series based on living with mental health is always important, especially because Plath’s work would provide a personal, accurate depiction of what it’s like to live with mental health conditions. The show could also help raise awareness and provide important representation.

8 Beloved Is Arguably The Most Important African American Novel

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for the novel Beloved alongside an image of the author Toni Morrison. 

Beloved is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by the influential African American writer Toni Morrison. The bones of the storyline are about a Black family living in post-Civil War Cincinnati and dealing with a haunting within their home. However, the novel is really a complex allegory about how slavery deconstructed peoples’ sense of identity.

Though Beloved was adapted into a film in 1998, the film was lengthy and somewhat confusing due to the multi-layered themes. Beloved is one of the most important stories in American literature and would add to the growing diversity of shows in the last decade.

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for The Catcher In The Rye alongside an image of the author J.D. Salinger. 

The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, was originally published for adults in serial form before being novelized in 1951. The story follows a young boy as he escapes his prep school and explores the seedy underbelly of New York City.

However, the story touches upon important themes, including teenage alienation, the need for emotional connection, and the loss of childhood innocence. The Catcher in the Rye has been previously banned for excessive violence and vulgar language. However, a modern TV adaptation could remove some of the problematic aspects of the story and create an enlightening coming-of-age series.

6 A Doll’s House Is About Finding A Voice

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for the play A Doll's House alongside an image of the author Henrik Ibsen. 

A Doll’s House is a three-act play that was written by Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen. The story focuses on housewife Nora as she acts irresponsibly to please her husband but also makes decisions to protect him. This results in his outrage as he thinks she’s threatening his social reputation. Nora reacts by declaring her independence and leaving him and their children.

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A Doll’s House was not only a social commentary on the issues of the 19th-century bourgeoisie but also the struggle of women in a society where they have little power or voice. Nora’s story should be adapted into a TV series, as it has the potential to be an important commentary on societal norms and female empowerment.

5 Giovanni’s Room Is A Defining LGBTQ+ Story

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for the novel Giovanni's Room alongside a photo of the author James Baldwin.

James Baldwin was one of the most influential writers of his time and his novel Giovanni’s Room was a revolutionary story. In this novel, an American man living in 1950s Paris struggles with his sexual identity and society’s views on morality.

Giovanni’s Room is a defining piece of LGBTQ+ literature, as it represents a time period in which the fear of love was just as intense as love itself. Though recent and upcoming works have had great LGBTQ+ representation, an adaption of this influential novel would capture the life of the LGBTQ+ community in the ’50s without pushing them into the background of the story.

4 The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Is The Pinnacle Of Supernatural Horror

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde alongside an image of the author Robert Louis Stevenson. 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a Gothic novella written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. The story follows a legal practitioner in London as he investigates the connection between his friend Dr. Henry Jekyll and the murderous crimes of Edward Hyde.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the most iconic sci-fi horror stories ever, and it influenced many modern-day movies and shows. While there are some thrillers that have already reinvented the genre, a modern adaptation of this classic story has the potential to be an eerie crime thriller that focuses on both science and fantasy, breaking through various genres.

3 I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Is All About Voice

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The novel I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings alongside an image of the author Maya Angelou. 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first in a collection of autobiographical works by Maya Angelou. This memoir follows her from her early years into her teenage years, outlining how love and reliance on literature can potentially help someone overcome traumatic events.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of the most heartbreaking and inspirational coming-of-age stories based on the life of one of the most influential Black American writers. As a series, this memoir has the emotional pull to kickstart a successful biopic about the life of Maya Angelou.

2 The Themes Of Romeo And Juliet Need To Be Clarified

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for a copy of the play The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet alongside a painting of William Shakespeare. 

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare’s most iconic and well-known plays. It has been adapted repeatedly on the stage, in novels, and in film. Though love is the obvious theme of this play, modern viewers have found the overall message of the two titular characters dying for their love to be problematic.

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However, there is a deeper message to Romeo and Juliet that has yet to be fully outlined, as it’s always overshadowed by the Star-Crossed Lovers trope. As a modern-day show or even a miniseries, a TV adaption could more explicitly outline the damaging influence of holding on to hate and revenge.

1 1984 Is Still A Look Into The Future

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cover art for the novel 1984 alongside a photo of the author George Orwell. 

Written in 1961, George Orwell’s novel 1984 is a dystopian story. The book follows Winston Smith, a man who lives under the repressive eye of “Big Brother.” Big Brother and his organization forbid members of society from thinking for themselves. The novel is haunting even today, as it portrays a shockingly realistic society in which people are not allowed control over their own thoughts and emotions.

The movie adaption of 1984, appropriately, was released in 1984. However, a series based on Orwell’s dystopian society would be an eerie look into a world in which government control makes people fear their own thoughts. It’d also be interesting to adapt the book where terms like “thought police” and “Newspeak” come from.

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