books The Best TV Shows Based on Books  

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List Rules Vote up the best TV series based on books. No miniseries or TV movies.

Fun fact: Game of Thrones isn't the only good TV show based on a book streaming on the airwaves! Though more and more people are complaining about sequels and reboots and re-imaginings at the movies, it's the golden age of television, with awesome shows inspired by books everywhere you look. The small screen has the benefit of being much more long form, and therefore a great place to showcase something based on a book or series of books. With television adaptations of books you have the ability to learn love and live with characters for the long haul, just as with a novel or series of novels. 

Naturally as TV has been around for quite some time, there have been great book adaptations throughout the years. There have also been plenty of books adapted for TV in the form of the miniseries or TV movie, but that's another list and you won't find them here (otherwise Band of Brothers would most certainly have made the cut). Instead we are just focusing on traditional TV programs that are based on or inspired by books.

Be it a current show (Orange Is the New Black), a critically acclaimed show that has ended (Boardwalk Empire), a show that started out amazing while it was based on it's book series... then derailed (Dexter), or a classic TV show you might not have realized was based on a book at all (M*A*S*H*), this list has them all.

These are the best shows based on books to ever air on television! Vote up the best of these shows below - whether because they nailed the adaptation or because they were top-notch, quality programming in their own right. Maybe the best overall shows rise to the top.
list ordered by

1
+ - 483 190
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Game of Thrones Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington - Based on the George R. R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire book series.

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2
+ - 383 177
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs - Based on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes book series.

3
+ - 283 217
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Dexter Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas - Based on the 2004 Jeff Lindsay novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

4
+ - 208 189
bones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Bones Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin - Based on the Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan book series.

5
+ - 213 166
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
M*A*S*H Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi - Based on the 1968 Richard Hooker & W. C. Heinz novel of the same name.

6
+ - 97 40
13 Reasons Why is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
13 Reasons Why Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh

7
+ - 127 92
Lucifer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Lucifer Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro

8
+ - 209 201
Orange Is the New Black is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Orange Is the New Black Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning - Based on the 2010 Piper Kerman book,  Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison.

9
+ - 197 174
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Hannibal Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas - Based on the 1999 Thomas Harris novel of the same name.

10
+ - 171 165
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
House of Cards Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright - Based on the 1989 Michael Dobbs novel of the same name.

11
+ - 199 179
The Vampire Diaries is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Vampire Diaries Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder - Based on the L. J. Smith book series of the same name.

12
+ - 197 151
The 100 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The 100 Eliza Taylor, Eli Goree, Thomas McDonell - Based on the Kass Morgan book series of the same name.

13
+ - 94 70
The Originals is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Originals Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt

14
+ - 188 147
Outlander is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Outlander Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies - Based on the 1991 Diana Gabaldon novel of the same name.

15
+ - 190 179
True Blood is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
True Blood Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell - Based on the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse book series.

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16
+ - 61 21
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

17
+ - 112 101
The Magicians is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Magicians Barry Jones - Based on the Lev Grossman book series of the same name.

18
+ - 175 154
Pretty Little Liars is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Pretty Little Liars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale - Based on the Sara Shepard book series of the same name.

19
+ - 62 50
Little House on the Prairie is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Little House on the Prairie Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon, Lindsay Greenbush

20
+ - 50 22
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21
+ - 42 17
The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Handmaid's Tale Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski

22
+ - 47 25
Shadowhunters is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Shadowhunters Darryll D.B. Walsh

23
+ - 108 138
Justified is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Justified Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter - Based on the Elmore Leonard novels Pronto and Riding the Rap.

24
+ - 126 125
Elementary is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Elementary Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn - Based on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes book series.

25
+ - 123 135
Gossip Girl is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Gossip Girl Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley - Based on the Cecily von Ziegesar book series of the same name.

26
+ - 95 127
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Friday Night Lights Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden - Based on the 1990 Buzz Bissinger book,  Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream.

27
+ - 35 26
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads

28
+ - 96 134
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Boardwalk Empire Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza - Based on the 2002 Nelson Johnson book,  Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City.

29
+ - 103 123
Goosebumps is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Goosebumps R.L. Stine, Kathryn Short, Cody Jones - Based on the R. L. Stine book series of the same name.

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30
+ - 13 2
Riverdale is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Riverdale Jayne Eastwood, Christian Potenza, Paul Soles

31
+ - 31 43
Haven is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Haven Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour

32
+ - 22 16
The Shannara Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Shannara Chronicles Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett, Emilia Burns

33
+ - 20 14
Preacher is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Preacher Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga

34
+ - 19 13
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Poldark Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees

35
+ - 99 158
Sex and the City is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Sex and the City Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis - Based on the 1997 Candace Bushnell book of the same name.

36
+ - 17 13
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37
+ - 68 94
Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Black Sails Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New - Based on the 1883 Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Treasure Island.

38
+ - 15 14
The Strain is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Strain Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Kevin Durand

39
+ - 21 27
The Expanse is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Expanse Shohreh Aghdashloo, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham

40
+ - 77 116
Rizzoli & Isles is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Rizzoli & Isles Angie Harmon, Jordan Bridges, Bruce McGill - Based on the Tess Gerritsen book series of the same name.

41
+ - 15 19
Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Sleepy Hollow Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood - Based on the 1820 Washington Irving short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

42
+ - 28 50
Hemlock Grove is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Hemlock Grove Famke Janssen, Bill SkarsgÄrd, Landon Liboiron - Based on the 2012 Brian McGreevy novel of the same name.

43
+ - 55 109
Fresh Off the Boat is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Fresh Off the Boat Constance Wu, Randall Park, Hudson Yang - Based on the 2013 Eddie Huang book, Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir.

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44
+ - 8 11
Bitten is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Bitten Greyston Holt

45
+ - 11 16
Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Call The Midwife Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main

46
+ - 30 56
Under the Dome is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Under the Dome Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Alexander Koch - Based on the 2009 Stephen King novel of the same name.

47
+ - 12 35
Mozart in the Jungle is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books

48
+ - 9 14
Wolf Hall is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Wolf Hall Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy

49
+ - 8 13
8 Simple Rules is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
8 Simple Rules Katey Sagal, Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson

50
+ - 8 13
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
The Exorcist Alfonso Herrera, Geena Davis, Ben Daniels