As the countdown to the sixth season of Game of Thrones begins, the series only seems to be growing in popularity — but it can't reign supreme forever. With literally hundreds of new fantasy books published every year, competition is rife and it's only a matter of time before the next big sensation hits our screens. Here are five book series that have all the potential to become an epic TV experience.
1. 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman
It's hard to believe that this hugely popular fantasy series has yet to make it to the small screen. The film adaptation, The Golden Compass, released in 2007 (see video below), just didn't live up to fans' expectations...
...and it's no wonder — long and complex stories like this one need a certain shaping and pacing that can only really be achieved with a full length TV series. With all of the physics, philosophy and theology explored in the books, a series would have the potential to go into real depth and could be a great medium to address subjects that are still super relevant today.
From a visual standpoint, His Dark Materials could be an opportunity to get really creative with CGI, not just with the dæmons but also the many parallel worlds within the multiverse. With both the drama of Dexter and the diversity of Doctor Who, this is a hit waiting to happen.
2. 'Discworld' by Terry Pratchett
The Discworld series could be another fantastic choice for visual effects. For those who aren't familiar with the books, the world itself is a colossal, flat biosphere on top of four giant elephants, which themselves are on top of an enormous, space-swimming turtle. Who wouldn't want to see that?
With a goldmine of over 40 unique stories to choose from, the producers wouldn't be short of plot ideas or crazy characters. Death, Discworld's cat-loving, horse-riding skeleton, would be a top source of comedy, as would incapable wizard Rincewind and Sam Vimes, the seriously cynical police officer. The scope for subject matter here is huge; witches, assassins, trolls, werewolves, vampires, thieves, and even an orangutan librarian all feature in the novels, so there really would be something for everyone.
3. 'Artemis Fowl' by Eoin Colfer
There have been rumors of an Artemis Fowl movie for years, but with eight action-packed books to cover, surely it makes more sense to adapt it for TV? Interestingly, most of the fan art already out there falls into the animé category and there have been numerous graphic novel adaptations. Could an animated series be the answer?
One thing's for sure: Holly Short would be an absolutely kickass female character. Her determination, bluntness and super sassy attitude allow her to help Artemis save the world on countless occasions — damn, that girl can hold her own — and it's refreshing to see in a genre so typically dominated by strong men. There's room for some serious character development where Artemis is concerned too — he may start the series as an enemy but as it progresses, he grows into a man of merit before our very eyes. It's about time Ireland got its own hero!
4. 'Noughts & Crosses' by Malorie Blackman
For those who haven't read Malorie Blackman's sensational series, it all takes place in a world where humans evolved with Pangaea still intact, meaning that the African people made Europeans their slaves, not the other way around. The segregation that remains between the two main characters, Callum and Sephy, creates a story that's somewhat of a modern twist on Romeo & Juliet.
The original concept and strong message behind Noughts & Crosses translated into a TV series would be sure to bring a very fresh perspective to a very current issue. This is not your typical romantic love story but a broad and exciting tale of people who are fighting for change. Not only is it immensely engaging and powerfully emotional, it's also hugely educational. This really could be something that nobody has seen before.
5. 'The Once and Future King' by T.H. White
Move over Merlin! The Once and Future King is the real deal. The novel contains all of the excitement and adventure one would expect to happen in Camelot, but it's not your standard Arthurian fantasy; a real exploration of human nature takes place here — power, justice and everything in between — and there are plenty of plot twists woven into the story's web.
It would be pretty refreshing to see T.H. White's chivalrous depiction of Arthur in a world that so often champions the 'might is right' way of ruling, and the mythical imagery would be epic. You can just picture the tone growing darker with each series — what starts as a light-hearted and almost parodic account of young Arthur's adventures gradually morphs into a deep and reflective story which finds him brooding over death and his legacy. If the reception of other medieval dramas like GOT and The Tudors is anything to go by, The Once and Future King could be a huge success.