64 voters

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

Updated November 23, 2020 800 votes 64 voters62 items

List RulesVote 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! 

  • 1
    Agatha Christie's Poirot

    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).

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  • 2
    The Handmaid's Tale

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

    Film: The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

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  • 3

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

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

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  • 4
    The Witcher

    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.

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  • 5

    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. 

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  • 6


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

    Film: Watchmen (2009)

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  • 7
    The Lord of the Rings

    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)

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  • 8
    Bates Motel

    Book: Psycho by Robert Bloch (1959)

    Films: Psycho (1960)

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  • 9


    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)

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  • 10


    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)

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  • 11
    Conan the Adventurer

    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)

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  • 12
    Friday Night Lights

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

    Film: Friday Night Lights (2004)

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  • 13

    Book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

    Film: Catch-22 (1970)

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  • 14
    The Exorcist

    The Exorcist

    Book: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)

    Film: The Exorcist (1973)

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  • 15

    Book: Daredevil (1964-present)

    Film: Daredevil (2003)

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  • 16
    In the Heat of the Night

    Book: In the Heat of the Night by John Ball (1965)

    Film: In the Heat of the Night (1967)

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  • 17
    A Series of Unfortunate Events

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

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

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  • 18
    Minority Report

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

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  • 19
    Nancy Drew

    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)

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  • 20
    Jack Ryan

    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)

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  • 21
    High Fidelity

    Book: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (1995)

    Film: High Fidelity (2000)

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  • 22

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

    Film: Limitless (2011)

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  • 23
    The Mist

    Book: The Mist by Stephen King (1980)

    Film: The Mist (2007)

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  • 24
    The Little Drummer Girl

    Book: The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré (1983)

    Film: The Little Drummer Girl (1984)

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  • 25

    Book: Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

    Film: Dracula (1931)

    Dracula has inspired or has been adapted for film upwards of 50-plus times since the 1920's and nine times for television since the 1960's.

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