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It’s a new year, which means there are plenty of new and interesting television shows set to debut. And, as has become the case with film, literary adaptations are set to take on a greater swath of television hours throughout 2017. While we haven’t had a chance to check out any of the following shows just yet, knowing their source material (and the casts and production teams working on them), here are the five literary adaptations we can’t wait to see this year.
Adapted from Gillian Flynn’s (Gone Girl) debut novel of the same name, the series is set to star Amy Adams as reporter, just released from the psych ward, who has returned to her hometown to investigate the deaths of two young girls. Flynn is on board as an Executive Producer and Marti Noxon (UnReal and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has been tapped as the showrunner. The series was given an eight episode commitment last April by HBO, and it set to premiere later this year.
The popular (and wonderful) book series had a film adaptation in 2004 that never really took off with audiences and critics alike (and didn’t generate enough box office to warrant additional films). This new adaptation, which stars Neil Patrick Harris as the evil Count Olaf (a role played in the film by Jim Carrey), has promised to provide a more accurate retelling of the novels. Telling the tale of the three Baudelaire orphans, and their “uncle” Olaf who attempts to steal their inherited fortune, A Series of Unfortunate Events is both funny and dark, and should do well on the Netflix platform. The first season will consist of eight episodes and will cover the first four (of thirteen) novels in the series.
Legion has an awful lot going for it: a solid cast (led by Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens, with Jean Smart, Bill Irwin, and Aubrey Plaza co-starring), a proven showrunner in Fargo‘s Noah Hawley, and comic book pedigree (Steven’s character, David Haller, happens to be the son of Charles Xavier- yes, that Charles Xavier). Considering how tightly Fox has managed to hold onto their rights to the X-Men catalogue, I’m amazed it has taken them this long to dive into a live-action X-Men-inspired series, but Legion has all the makings of a solid hit. My comic story of choice has always been the X-Men, and I’m really looking forward to see what a great writer like Hawley can do with this material.
The story of a dystopian future where America has been turned into a totalitarian theocracy was already adapted into a film in 1990, but with the current political division in the country, it might resonate now than ever before. The tale follows Offred (Elisabeth Moss), a handmaid tasked with providing a child for a wealthy member of the ruling class known as The Commander (Joesph Finnes). The cast for this adaptation of the novel is top notch, with Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black), Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck), and Ann Dowd (The Leftovers) co-starring with Moss and Finnes. The story, which has been praised since the novel was first published in 1985, is complex and chilling. The combination of cast and story should make The Handmaid’s Tale one of the most anticipated shows of 2017.
Since Bryan Fuller announced he would be adapting Neil Gaiman’s beloved novel in 2014, fans of both the book and Fuller have been waiting to see what would come of combining one of TV’s best auteurs and the magic of Gaiman’s story. Expectations for the project grew even higher when Fuller announced last last year that he would have to step away from work on Star Trek: Discovery in order to devote more time to American Gods. After all, if a show could get Fuller to leave a dream job on Star Trek, it has to be something special, right? Fuller has assembled an exceptional cast (led by Ricky Whittle (The 100) and Ian McShane (Deadwood)), and if anyone has the vision to put together the complex and fantastical reality of Gaiman’s novel, it’s Fuller (whose past work on Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, and Dead Like Me has made him the go-to person for this type of work).