As an inherently awesome, self-proclaimed bookworm; every now and again (all the time), I like to sit down, crack open a good book, and immerse myself in a world of feels where all my favourite characters die, none of my ships sail, and I have to wait a year or more for another book.
My preferred genre floats between Historical Romances, and basically any Young Adult book, ever. A genre which, over the past few years, has become increasingly popular with bookworms, and Hollywood Exec's. Where there are books, there are fans, and for Hollywood that essentially means $$$.
Whilst there's certainly no shortage of YA books attempting the jump to the big screen, (see my previous post on it HERE) it occurred to me that quite a few of them are probably better suited to the small screen. (See ABC Family's "Shadowhunters" based on Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments, HERE)
Television allows showrunners to build a long-standing relationship with fans, incorporating every aspect of their favourite books into every second of screen time. In theory, nothing would ever need to be cut out. With around an hour a week for a show, and 15-23 episodes for most full seasons, you already have a much longer time span than a movie to tell the stories the fans know and love.
With that being said, here's a little list of some of my personal favourite series, that I think could be a hit on the small screen.
Disclaimer: this list is 100% biased and is mostly comprised of my favourite books. Everything you read will here will cite these books as awesome, and probably badass. You should definitely add every book here to your reading list. Immediately.
1. Vampire Academy Series (Richelle Mead)
A lesser fangirl would've saved this until at least halfway through, but if you follow my articles then you know I'm a HUGE Vampire Academy fan, so this should come as no surprise to see it as number 1 on my list.
The 6-book series follows Rose Hathaway, a smart-mouthed, quick-witted, seventeen year old, Dhamphir (that's a half-human / half-vampire hybrid), Guardian in training. The job of her race, (the Dhamphir) is to protect the only good race of Vampires known as Moroi. Born, NOT created, these magic-wielding Vampires are at constant threat from the blood-thirsty, evil race of Vampires known as Strigoi. Lethal and some of the most powerful beings in the VA Universe, you don't want to come into contact with these guys, unless you're trained to do so.
Which is where our 'Russian God,' Dimitri Belikov, Guardian at St Vladimir's Academy comes in.
This is where you lose your mind, because not only is he hot, older, and has a Russian accent; he also kicks ridiculous amounts of ass, for a living, without even breaking a sweat.
Oh and this is the guy who teaches Rose everything she knows.
Despite Vampire Academy getting a 2014 Movie, I think that a world as rich in detail as the one that author Richelle Mead has created deserves to be fully explored on the small screen. Like The Mortal Instruments, written by Cassandra Clare, the books have significantly more depth to them than a lot of Book-to-Movies nowadays, and for this reason a television series would allow showrunners to delve deep into that world, without losing any of the substance of the books. Which, as we know, so often happens with movies.
The film notoriously squashed the history of the three species - Dhamphir, Moroi & Strigoi - into a measly few seconds at the beginning of the movie. Scenes like the one involving Dimitri buying Rose a lip-gloss after she'd ended up in hospital were cut for making him 'unmanly,' but a TV Series would have enough time to develop his character like the books did, so that buying lip-gloss doesn't suddenly become 'unmanly,' but rather fits perfectly with the kind of character we know he is.
2. The Princess Diaries (Meg Cabot)
The Princess Diaries books are hands-down, some of the funniest, most relatable books you will ever read. I grew up on these stories, hence why I'm ridiculously excited for the latest Adult Installment "Royal Wedding", which has just come out in the UK, and I highly recommend them to everyone and anyone.
The series follows Princess Mia, a somewhat nerdy, super sarcastic, environmentalist teenager, with a love for romance and writing, and life-long companion in the form of Fat Louie - her always entertaining kitty kat. Mia is the sole heir to the throne of Genovia - a small European country - a fact which she does not immediately know, but rather finds out via her Grandmother.
She chronicles her life through her diary entries (hence the title of the books) - a witty mix of humour, puberty, school-work, Official Princess Duties, long-time crushes (looking at you Michael Moscovitz) and BFF Drama.
The series actually garnered itself two films, starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews among others, however rather than follow the books, the movie strayed. It strayed and wandered as movie adaptations of books so often do, to the point where I choose to, if i can help it, not recognise the movies.
It's one of the longest book series I have ever read, and being written literally in the form of a diary, feels as though it would be the perfect show for teens growing up. (have a look at British TV Series My Mad Fat Diary for inspiration) As a character, despite being a Princess, Mia goes through so many of the everyday, mundane experiences that most normal teenagers do, and having that play out weekly on a television show, growing up with the cast of the show, as the characters do, seems a far better idea than a movie ever did.
Hopefully, if it ever did make it to the small screen, we'd get to explore the world of The Princess Diaries much deeper than the movies did, and of course, more screen-time, means more Michael Moscovitz, and I'm pretty sure that works for everyone.
3. Noughts and Crosses
Credit for the bottom right image goes to Roxi-art on DeviantArt. Check out her page here.
A lot of people think Vampire Academy is my Number 1 series, this is where you discover you're wrong. Noughts & Crosses, is a series of six YA Books written by British Author Malorie Blackman. Set in a fictional Dystopia...
where humans evolved while Pangaea was still intact. Without the barriers to exchange of domesticable animals, among other factors, the African people gained a technological and organizational advantage over the Europeans rather than the other way around, and made Europeans their slaves.
To simplify, the world lives somewhat segregated, with the Crosses (Africans, and dark skinned people) as the wealthy, and the Noughts (Europeans, and those who are fairer skinned), usually living in poverty. Through it all we follow Persephone "Sephy" Hadley, a Cross and daughter of Kamal Hadley - a wealthy and prominent politician, and her relationship with Callum McGregor, a nought, the son of her family's maid - who is eventually fired, leading to Sephy's and Callum's separation.
The book has actually been adapted into a play, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, with Ony Uhiara playing Sephy, and Game of Thrones star Richard Madden playing Callum. I won't lie to you, Noughts and Crosses isn't your average YA book. There are no wonderful happy endings, only small relative moments of happiness. Rather it looks upon its fictional Dystopia with politically driven eyes, as opposed to allowing love and the desire for a happy ending rule its narrative. It sets up a very real, very sad world, and doesn't change that for the sake of a happy ending.
If you think you cried with something like The Fault in our Stars, just you wait until you read Noughts and Crosses. You'll sob for years.
4. Bloodlines (Richelle Mead)
In my defense, I did warn you that this list is terribly biased.
So we move on to Vampire Academy's spin-off series, Bloodlines. The series follows the most prominent human character in the VA universe, Alchemist Sydney Sage. We first meet her in VA, but Bloodlines is where her story really shines. Quieter, less reckless, and an over analyser, Sydney is the opposite of everything that Rose is, tasked with protecting the Queen's long lost relative Jill, in order to protect the Moroi throne. The Alchemist's send Sage undercover at a school to pose as the young Moroi's older sister.
That is where the all mighty gem that is Adrian Ivashkov comes in.
The Spirit-wielding, green-eyed, bad-boy Vampire, is one of those also along to protect Jill, having a special bond (i.e they are Shadowkissed as Rose and Lissa) with the young Moroi.
The series is differently paced to Vampire Academy, but set in the same world, so could easily find success on the small screen. Its roots lie with Sydney and the Alchemists, so whilst it's set in the VA universe, it provides an entirely alternate view of the Moroi world, from a group of people who harbour inherent hatred towards it, and who's job is to keep it secret, and protect humans from the dangers of the Moroi world. Sydney is a much more thoughtful protagonist, in that unlike Rose, she thinks first, then acts, she's also been taught to hate everything about the Moroi world, but when in close contact with them...well, finds herself a little torn.
Bloodlines would make a brilliant Television Series, and with Sydney as a protagonist, you'll find no annoying cliches here. Only an exceptionally intelligent, strong female character, tasked with posing as the older sister of a Moroi Vampire Royal. It's all very simple really.
5. The Mediator (Meg Cabot)
Yes. I'm totally doubling up on Authors here, not for lack of good books, but purely because good authors tend to rarely disappoint.
The Mediator is probably one of the most interesting, swoon-worthy book series you will ever read. It follows Mediator Susannah "Suze" Simon, who can see, hear, speak to and touch the dead, and who very inconveniently has a hot, nineteenth-century ghost by the name of Hector (or Jesse, to you, I and everyone else) haunting her house, unable to pass on. With the help of a few other Mediators, Suze helps various spirits find out what's keeping them trapped here, so that they may eventually move on.
Credit for the above art goes to YukoRabbit on DeviantArt who's page you can find here.
As a six-book series, the story arguably needs a little more room than a movie would give it, which is why i think television would be perfect. It also kind of reminds me of a YA Ghost Whisperer, which lasted 5 seasons, so I could definitely see this as a television series going pretty far. Adding the YA aspect to it, and the hot, Spanish ghost who can't seem to pass on and affectionately calls Suze "Querida", (swoon!), gives it a little edge over something like Ghost Whisperer. Not only are we dealing with a girl who can communicate with the dead, she's also a teenager, and with that comes a bunch of relatable troubles, to give a television show that little extra something special.
Did I mention that there is a hot, nineteenth-century ghost haunting her house?? All the time??
The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer)
Of no relation to Stephanie Meyer
All credit for the above image, in all its beauty goes to Lostie815 on DeviantArt, who's page you can find here.
Special mention here absolutely has to go to The Lunar Chronicles. I've only just started reading the first book, "Cinder", and I honestly love it. It's a series of five books, with re-imagined tellings of your favourite fairytales. Each book offers a fresh take on an old story. For example, "Cinder" centres around the female protagonist of the same name, a Cyborg mechanic living in a futuristic Beijing, who upon discovering that she is immune to the plague (not the actual plague, a fictional one in the books), finds herself being volunteered for testing, to see why she's immune. Of course the handsome love interest comes in the form of a Prince. Prince Kai to be exact, and Cinder with her adorably cute disposition, makes for a character that you can't help but love from the get go!
As much as I would like to see this a Television Series (think something akin to Once Upon A Time which is highly popular), the movie rights for this series have actually already been optioned. There's no further movement on a movie than that for the time being, but either way I would love to see this series be adapted somehow. Be it TV or Film!
So that's it folks. My top 5 YA series I'd like to see on the small screen! Be sure to check out these book series if you haven't already!