We recently looked over the Goodreads and IMDb ratings for 948 randomly selected novels, short stories and literary works that have been adapted into films and TV shows. The findings back up the famous statement that books are always better than the film with 86.8% of the ratings higher for stories in print than on screen.
Among those adaptations where the ratings were higher for the film and TV adaptation than the book were the phenomenally successful Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House (based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name), the Amazon Prime series The Man in the High Castle (inspired by Philip K. Dick’s novel) and, perhaps surprisingly, The Handmaid’s Tale starring Elisabeth Moss originally written by Margaret Atwood).
This proves that books that have been adapted into episodic series where showrunners have the chance to craft their tales with a longer form of storytelling fare far better than trying to fit the intricacies of a novel into a stand-alone film. This applies especially to director Bo Welch, whose Netflix series adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events starring Neil Patrick Harris sits happily in our Top 10. His adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, however, is in the bottom two!
Where do you sit on the age-old book vs film debate? And what’s the best adaptation you remember seeing? Equally, what is your least favourite and why didn’t you enjoy it?
Read more about our findings here.