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.
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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.Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created for HBO by showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels, the first of which is ...more

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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.Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and ...more

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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.Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer, hunting down murderers who have ...more

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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.Bones is an American crime procedural comedy-drama television series that premiered on Fox in the United States on September 13, 2005. The show is based on forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology, with each episode focusing on an FBI ...more

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13 Reasons Why is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added 13 Reasons Why Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Kate Walsh 13 Reasons Why (Netflix, 2017) is an American television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey. Told through a series of flashbacks, the show revolves around a student, Hannah Baker ...more

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Lucifer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
-1459049067931 added Lucifer Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro

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Outlander is listed (or ranked) 7 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.Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Created by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Left Bank Pictures for Starz, the show began its first run of ...more

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The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies The Walking Dead is an American horror drama television series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. Andrew Lincoln stars as sheriff's deputy Rick ...more

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M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 9 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.M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for CBS, follows a team of doctors and support staff ...more

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Orange Is the New Black is listed (or ranked) 10 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.Orange Is the New Black is an American comedy-drama series created by Jenji Kohan and first released on Netflix on July 11, 2013. The series, produced by Tilted Productions in association with Lionsgate Television, is based on Piper Kerman's ...more

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Shadowhunters is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
febelanianastasha added Shadowhunters Darryll D.B. Walsh

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The Originals is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Jennifer Barnwell added The Originals Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt The Originals is an American television series that began airing on The CW during the 2013–14 American television season and is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. The series premiere aired after The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, October 3, 2013. ...more

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The 100 is listed (or ranked) 13 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.The 100 is an American post-apocalyptic drama television series that premiered on The CW during the 2013–14 American television season. The series is based on a book of the same name, the first in a series by Kass Morgan, and developed by Jason ...more

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Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 14 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.Hannibal is an American psychological thriller–horror television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and focuses on the budding relationship ...more

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The Vampire Diaries is listed (or ranked) 15 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.The Vampire Diaries is an American supernatural drama television series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the popular book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith. The series premiered on The CW on September 10, ...more

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True Blood is listed (or ranked) 16 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.True Blood is an American television drama series produced and created by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional ...more

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House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 17 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.House of Cards is an American political drama television series developed and produced by Beau Willimon. It is an adaptation of the BBC's mini-series of the same name and is based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. The entire first season, ...more

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The Magicians is listed (or ranked) 19 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.The Magicians was a British family entertainment television show, first broadcast throughout January 2011 on BBC One. The show features magicians performing a number of magic tricks with guest celebrities, to decide which pair will face a ...more

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Pretty Little Liars is listed (or ranked) 20 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.Pretty Little Liars is an American teen drama mystery–thriller television series loosely based on the popular book series of the same title, written by Sara Shepard. The show premiered on June 8, 2010 on ABC Family. After an initial order of 10 ...more

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The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added The Handmaid's Tale Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski The Handmaid's Tale is an American television series created by Bruce Miller based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. It was ordered by streaming service Hulu with a straight-to-series order of 10 episodes, ...more

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Little House on the Prairie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
dreapress added Little House on the Prairie Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon, Lindsay Greenbush Little House on the Prairie, also known as Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, is a five-hour miniseries which was broadcast on ABC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney anthology series. It was made in 2004. It was directed ...more

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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.Justified is an American television drama series developed by Graham Yost. It is based on Elmore Leonard's short story "Fire in the Hole". Timothy Olyphant portrays Raylan Givens, a tough U.S. Marshal enforcing his own brand of ...more

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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.Elementary is an American crime drama series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. The series was created by Robert Doherty and stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. ...more

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Riverdale is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Josh Mesman added Riverdale Jayne Eastwood, Christian Potenza, Paul Soles Riverdale is a Canadian prime time soap opera which ran for three seasons. The series was set in the Toronto community of Riverdale, which had the reputation of being home to many CBC employees at the time. It focused on a variety of characters ...more

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Gossip Girl is listed (or ranked) 26 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.Gossip Girl is an American teen drama television series based on the book series of the same name written by Cecily von Ziegesar. The series, created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, originally ran on The CW for six seasons from September ...more

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Goosebumps is listed (or ranked) 27 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.Goosebumps is a Canadian horror fantasy anthology television series based on R. L. Stine's Goosebumps books. It was one of the two popular television horror anthology children's series in the 1990s. It was filmed in Toronto, Ontario and ...more

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Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 28 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.Friday Night Lights is an American drama television series about a high school football team in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas. It was developed by Peter Berg, and executive produced by Brian Grazer, David Nevins, Sarah Aubrey, and Jason ...more

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Haven is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
ewill0413 added Haven Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour Haven is an American/Canadian supernatural drama television series loosely based on the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid. The show, which deals with strange events in a fictional town in Maine named Haven, is filmed on the South Shore of ...more

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Art Dickinson added CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an American crime drama television series that premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is filmed primarily at Universal Studios in ...more

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jenc83 added Big Little Lies Big Little Lies (HBO, 2017) is an American comedy miniseries created by David E. Kelley, based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty. Single mother Jane (Shailene Woodley) is on her way to Pirriwee Public School, where her son, Ziggy, ...more

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Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 32 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.Boardwalk Empire is an American period crime drama television series created by Terence Winter. Airing on premium cable channel HBO, the series is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era and stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky ...more

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Poldark is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added Poldark Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Angharad Rees Poldark is the original version of the BBC television series adaptation of the novels of the same title written by Winston Graham. The adaption was first transmitted in the UK between 1975 and 1977.

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Preacher is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added Preacher Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga Based on the DC Comic Book series, Preacher follows Jesse Custer, a small-town preacher who is on a mission to find God.

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American Gods is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
jenc83 added American Gods American Gods is an upcoming pilot for a proposed television series created by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green for the Starz Network, based on the novel of the same name by author Neil Gaiman. Fuller and Green will script the pilot episode and ...more

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The Shannara Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added The Shannara Chronicles Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett, Emilia Burns

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Anne of Green Gables is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
jenc83 added Anne of Green Gables Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth Anne of Green Gables is a 1985 Canadian television drama film based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The film starred Megan Follows and was produced and directed by Kevin Sullivan for the Canadian ...more

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Daredevil is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
jenc83 added Daredevil Charlie Cox, Vincent D'Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll Marvel's Daredevil, or simply Daredevil, is an American web television series created for Netflix by Drew Goddard, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing continuity with the ...more

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Sex and the City is listed (or ranked) 39 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.Sex and the City is an American television romantic sitcom created by Darren Star and produced by HBO. Broadcast from 1998 until 2004, the original run of the show had a total of 94 episodes. Throughout its six-year run, the show received ...more

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Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added Sleepy Hollow Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood Based on the 1820 Washington Irving short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."Sleepy Hollow is an American supernatural drama television series that premiered on Fox on September 16, 2013, that aired on Mondays at 9:00 pm ET. The series is considered a "modern-day adaptation" of the 1820 Halloween short story ...more

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Bitten is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
Matt Beck added Bitten Greyston Holt

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Zoo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
jenc83 added Zoo James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, Nonso Anozie

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Black Sails is listed (or ranked) 43 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.Black Sails is an American dramatic adventure television series set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. The series was created by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine for Starz that ...more

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The Strain is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added The Strain Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Kevin Durand The Strain is an American horror drama television series that premiered on FX on July 13, 2014. It was created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on their novel trilogy of the same name. Carlton Cuse serves as executive producer and ...more

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Rizzoli & Isles is listed (or ranked) 45 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.Rizzoli & Isles is a TNT television series starring Angie Harmon as police detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. The one-hour drama is based on the Rizzoli & Isles series of novels by Tess ...more

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Call The Midwife is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added Call The Midwife Vanessa Redgrave, Helen George, Laura Main Call the Midwife is a BBC period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s. It stars Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Helen George, Bryony Hannah, Laura Main, Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, ...more

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Hemlock Grove is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added Hemlock Grove Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron Based on the 2012 Brian McGreevy novel of the same name.Hemlock Grove is an American Netflix original horror thriller television series. Executive produced by Eli Roth, developed by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, and a production of Gaumont International Television, the series is based on ...more

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8 Simple Rules is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added 8 Simple Rules Katey Sagal, Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson 8 Simple Rules is an American sitcom, originally starring John Ritter and Katey Sagal. It debuted on ABC on September 17, 2002, and concluded on April 15, 2005. Ritter's character in the series was not replaced following his death on September ...more

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The Expanse is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
MichaelLuffred added The Expanse Shohreh Aghdashloo, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham

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Under the Dome is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Shows Based on Books
kslot added Under the Dome Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Alexander Koch Based on the 2009 Stephen King novel of the same name.Under the Dome is an American science-fiction drama television series. It premiered on CBS on June 24, 2013. The series was developed by Brian K. Vaughan and based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. In the first season, Vaughan and ...more