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The Best Television Adaptations of Stephen King's Work

Updated December 17, 2020 8.7k votes 1.2k voters 25.3k views33 items

List RulesVote up the best adaptations of Stephen King's work made for television

With over 50 published novels and 200 short stories, perhaps no author in the history of literature is more prolific than Stephen King. This list of Stephen King TV adaptations also proves that the horror master is one of the most adaptable commercial writers. Mr. King still treats writing as an everyday job, promising to put in at least 4-6 hours every single day, and will not stop writing until he pens at least 2,000 words. From Mr. Mercedes to Castle Rock, here is the exhaustive list of Stephen King TV shows and Stephen King TV movies.

King’s adaptations are certainly amendable. For example, his 1980 horror novella The Mist was first a feature length major motion picture released in 2007. In 2017, the novella was also adapted for the small screen on the cable channel Spike in the form of a ten-episode season. One of King’s most popular big screen adaptations came in 1980 with Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining. That film was adapted for the small screen in 1997 in a three-episode television miniseries that aired on ABC. Sometimes the adaptations stay in the same format - The Stand was adapted as a miniseries in 1994 and will be adapted again in 2019 as a limited TV series.

The King of Horror's works have translated into mini-series, made for TV movies, limited series, and long-running TV shows. Which small screen adaptation is your favorite? Which one missed the mark? Make your voice heard and vote up the best Stephen King television adaptations.

  • 1
    The Stand
    Photo: ABC
    The Stand (ABC, 1994) is an American horror miniseries directed by Mick Garris, and based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The remaining survivors after a deadly plague split into two groups to face off in a final battle between good and evil.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan
    • Premiered: 1994
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  • 2
    Photo: ABC
    It is a 1990 psychological horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to transform itself into its prey's worst fears, allowing it to exploit the phobias of its victims. It mostly takes the form of a sadistic, wisecracking clown called "Pennywise the Dancing Clown". The protagonists are "The Losers Club", a group of outcast kids who discover Pennywise and vow to destroy him by any means necessary. The series takes place over two different time periods, the first when the Losers first discover Pennywise as children, and the second when they're called back as adults to defeat... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Tim Curry, Seth Green, John Ritter, Annette O'Toole, Jonathan Brandis
    • Premiered: 1990
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  • Storm of the Century
    Photo: ABC
    Storm of the Century, alternatively known as Stephen King's Storm of the Century, is a 1999 horror TV miniseries written by Stephen King and directed by Craig R. Baxley. Unlike many other King mini-series, Storm of the Century was not based upon a Stephen King novel—King wrote it as a screenplay from the beginning. The screenplay was published in February 1999.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: Stephen King, Spencer Breslin, Colm Feore, Julianne Nicholson, Tim Daly
    • Premiered: 1999
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  • Salem's Lot
    Photo: CBS
    Salem's Lot is a 1979 American television adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Tobe Hooper and starring David Soul and James Mason, the plot revolves around a writer returning to his home town and discovers the citizens are turning into vampires. It combines elements of both the vampire film and haunted house subgenres.... more on Wikipedia
    • Actors: David Soul, James Mason, Lance Kerwin + more
    • Premiered: 1979
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