watchworthy presents

TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books 

Ranker TV
February 13, 2020 445 votes 38 voters 57 items

List Rules Vote up the television series that are the latest adaptation of a property that has already been a book or short story and a film. No play adaptations.

TV show adaptations of books often have an advantage over adapting books into movies. On the big screen, the material might feel rushed given the 90-120 minute format, actors with big names are cast over more suitable unknowns, and sometimes the format of book-to-film can feel a bit formulaic. Enter the world of television! Television adaptations of books that follow the release of films often learn several lessons from their predecessors as to what works and what absolutely does not work.

This list is a collection of the best TV shows based on books, that were first adapted into films, and then adapted into television shows.

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. If you see any movies that were turned into shows missing, make sure to add it below, but remember the list rules- no play adaptations! 

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
1
The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (1985)

Film: The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. In a dystopian future where women are brutally ...more

More The Handmaid's Tale 

#35 of 131 The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows #188 of 216 The TV Shows with the Best Writing The Best Characters On 'The Handmaid's Tale'

2
Agatha Christie's Poirot... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: Every novel featuring Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie's canon.

Films: Alibi (1931), Black Coffee (1931), Murder at the Gallop (1963), Murder Most Foul (1964), The Alphabet Murders (1965), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Death on the Nile (1978), Evil Under The Sun (1982), Dead Man's Folly (1986), Appointment with Death (1988).

Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989 to 13 November 2013. David Suchet stars as the eponymous detective, Agatha Christie's fictional ...more

More Agatha Christie's Poirot 

#251 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #221 of 397 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

3
The Witcher is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: The book series collected under the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, containing both novels and short stories.

Film: The Hexer (2001)

Netflix's The Witcher is actually the second television adaptation of Sapkowski's work. A single season Polish television series also aired in 2002.

The Witcher (Netflix, 2019) is a fantasy action-adventure series based on the series of short stories and novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), a solitary monster hunter, ...more

More The Witcher 

#4 of 8 In Case You Missed It: The Biggest Horror News From Jan. 20 - 24 #7 of 8 In Case You Missed It: The Biggest Horror News From Jan. 26 - 31 Covers Of 'Toss A Coin To Your Witcher' You Won't Be Able To Stop Playing

4
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker (1968)

Film: M*A*S*H (1970)

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 ...more

More M*A*S*H 

#78 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #9 of 92 The Best Dramedy TV Serieslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

5
Watchmen is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books
Watchmen

Book: Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons with John Higgins (1987)

Film: Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen (HBO, 2019) is an American drama television series created by Damon Lindelof, based on the comic book series. Set in an alternate history where superheroes are treated as outlaws.

More Watchmen 

#495 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #75 of 201 The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season Why Alan Moore Doesn't Want You To Watch The 'Watchmen'

6
Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: Psycho by Robert Bloch (1959)

Films: Psycho (1960)

Bates Motel is an American drama thriller television series developed for television by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano, and produced by Universal Television for the cable network ...more

More Bates Motel 

#216 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #210 of 262 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

7
Treadstone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books
Treadstone

Books: The Bourne Identity (1980), The Bourne Supremacy (1986), The Bourne Ultimatum (1990) by Robert Ludlum.

Films: The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), The Bourne Legacy (2012), Jason Bourne (2016)

Treadstone (USA, 2019) is an American action drama television series, based on the Bourne Film series, created by Tim Kring. The show explores the origin story and present-day actions of CIA ...more

More Treadstone 

#3 of 63 The Best Action Drama Series Ever Made #1 of 93 The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made

8
Friday Night Lights is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H. G. Bissinger (1990)

Film: Friday Night Lights (2004)

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 ...more

More Friday Night Lights 

#200 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #366 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time 20 Fun Facts to Know About Friday Night Lights

9
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books
The Exorcist

Book: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)

Film: The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (Fox, 2016) is portrayed as a sequel to the 1973 film of the same name

More The Exorcist 

#2,203 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #263 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #73 of 90 The Best TV Shows Based on Movies

10
Poldark is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books
Poldark

Books: A series of novels subtitled A Novel of Cornwall that take place between 1783 and 1820, written by Winston Graham (released between 1945-2002)

Film: Poldark (1996)

Poldark (BBC One, 2015) is a British-American drama television series created by Debbie Horsfield, based on the novels by Winston Graham. Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) returns home after American ...more

More Poldark 

#1,219 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #209 of 262 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Poldark'

11
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

Film: Catch-22 (1970)

Catch-22 (Hulu, 2019) is an American-Italian drama miniseries, based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Heller. Following the story of Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), a US Air Force ...more
12
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolken (1954)

Films: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings (Amazon Video, 2020) is an American fantasy television series based on the book series The Lord of the Rings. Set during the 3,441-year period, known as the Age of ...more
13
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: A Study in Scarlet (1887), The Sign of the Four (1890), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901-1902), The Valley of Fear (1914-1915) and 56 short stories collected in: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905), His Last Bow (1917) and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Films: Sherlock Holmes (2009), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

The first film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes was released in 1900, titled Sherlock Holmes Baffled. Since then, the property has been adapted and and inspired countless forms of media. 

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 ...more

More Sherlock 

#4 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #1 of 98 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock'

14
A Series of Unfortunate ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket.

Film: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017, Netflix) is a black comedy-drama TV series based on the children's novel series of the same name by Lemony Snicket (author Daniel Handler). The Baudelaire ...more

More A Series of Unfortunate Events 

#1,899 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #78 of 78 The Best Teen Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Series Dark Scenes Left Out Of Netflix's 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events' (Plus A Few Vile Additions)

15
Conan the Adventurer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: Conan (1967), Conan of Cimmeria (1969), Conan the Freebooter (1968), Conan the Wanderer (1968), Conan the Adventurer (1966), Conan the Buccaneer (1971), Conan the Warrior (1967), Conan the Usurper (1967), Conan the Conqueror  (1967), Conan the Avenger (1968),  Conan of Aquilonia (1977),  Conan of the Isles (1968), by Robert E. Howard et al. 

Films: Conan the Barbarian (1982), Conan the Destroyer (1984)

16
Minority Report is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick (1956)
Film: Minority Report (2002)

Minority Report (Fox, 2015) is an American science-fiction crime drama television series and a sequel adaptation of the 2002 film of the same name. Former Precog Dash (Stark Sands) is using his ...more

More Minority Report 

#201 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time #57 of 75 The Most Exciting Sci-Fi Series Ever Made

17
Limitless is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: The Dark Fields (later republished as Limitless) by Alan Glynn (2001)

Film: Limitless (2011)

Limitless (CBS, 2015) is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Craig Sweeny, based on the 2011 film. Brian Finch (Jake McDorman), a 28-year-old burnout and struggling musician, ...more

More Limitless 

#459 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #120 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time

18
Nancy Drew is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: 175 Nancy Drew novels, created by Edward Stratemeyer and ghostwritten by a number of authors, published under the collective pseudonym "Carolyn Keen" (1930-2003)

Films: Nancy Drew (2002), Nancy Drew (2007)

Nancy Drew (The CW, 2019) is an American mystery drama television series based on the titular character of a mystery book series. After 18-year-old Nancy Drew's (Kennedy McMann) college plans ...more
19
Jack Ryan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: Ryanverse series by Tom Clancy and various authors (1984-present)

Films: The Hunt for Red October (1990), Patriot Games (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), The Sum of All Fears (2002), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

Jack Ryan (Amazon Video, 2018) is an American television series created by Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, based on the character created by Tom Clancy. When CIA analyst Jack Ryan (John ...more

More Jack Ryan 

#3 of 160 The Best New Shows That Premiered in 2018 #17 of 131 The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows

20
Philip K. Dick's Electri... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

BooksBlade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Films: Blade Runner (1982), Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams (Amazon Video, 2018) is a British-American science fiction television anthology series developed by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Dinner. Based on the works of ...more

More Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams 

#819 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #180 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time

21
Get Shorty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard (1990)

Film: Get Shorty (1995) 

Get Shorty (Epix, 2017) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Davey Holmes, inspired by the novel by Elmore Leonard. For the sake of his daughter, a mobster (Chris O'Dowd) ...more

More Get Shorty 

#684 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #5 of 25 The Best Felicity Huffman Shows & Movies, Ranked

22
Eastwick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike (1984)

Film: The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Eastwick is a 2009 television series based on John Updike's novel The Witches of Eastwick. The series was developed by Maggie Friedman, and starred Paul Gross as the infamous Darryl Van Horne, ...more

More Eastwick 

#171 of 201 The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season #98 of 118 The Best TV Shows That Never Got a Real Finale

23
The War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Books: The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells (1898)

Film: War of the Worlds (2005)

This itteration of The War of The Worlds is the third direct adaptation for television the property has recieved, in addition to inspiring a number of episodes of television across all genres.

The War of the Worlds (BBC, 2020) is a British television drama based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name. The three-part limited series follows George (Rafe Spall) and his partner Amy ...more
24
Snowpiercer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette (1982)

Film: Snowpiercer (2013)

Snowpiercer (TBS, 2020) is an American television series based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige. The series focuses on the last survivors on the planet. They inhabit 'The ...more

More Snowpiercer 

#2 of 9 The Best New Sci-fi Shows Of 2020 #26 of 31 The Scariest TV Shows In 2020

25
Stuart Little: The Anima... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books

Book: Stuart Little by E. B. White (1945)

Films: Stuart Little (1999), Stuart Little 2 (2002)

Stuart Little: The Animated Series is an American animated television series, loosely based on the E. B. White children's book Stuart Little and more based on the live-action/computer-animated ...more