Top 10 Best TV Shows Based on Books

These hugely popular and gripping series are all inspired by thrilling novels. From the spellbinding saga of Game of Thrones to the adrenaline-fuelled adventures of The Musketeers, check out the list below for the best TV shows based on books. If you want to find even more books that have inspired or been inspired by TV shows, then have a look at our range of TV books here.

1. Game of Thrones

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Based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

The seventh season of this notoriously unpredictable, shocking and engrossing series is rumoured to be arriving on our screens in summer 2017. Set in a fantasy world with medieval elements, the series chronicles the turbulent struggles between various noble families to claim the Iron Throne of Westeros, including the scheming Lannisters and the ambitious Targaryens. It features violence, warfare, sex, plotting, magic, scandal and fantastical creatures in abundance, making for a gripping and addictive series. Charles Dance stars as the manipulative Tywin Lannister, Emilia Clarke as the strong-minded Daenerys Targaryen, Kit Harington as the daring Jon Snow and Peter Dinklage as the courageous and calculating Tyrion Lannister. The series first aired in April 2011 and is set to conclude in 2018.

2. Shadowhunters

Mortal Instruments (Shadowhunters) Collection - 6 Books - Collection - 9781406376296 - Cassandra Clare
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Based on The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

This dark, gritty series follows the thrilling adventures of Clary Fray, who, on her 18th birthday, discovers that she is a 'Shadowhunter', a person born with angelic blood who must protect humans from demons. Alongside the enigmatic and attractive Shadowhunter Jace and her geeky but dependable friend Simon, she finds herself in a dangerous world of faeries, vampires, warlocks and werewolves, and embarks on an epic quest filled with peril, romance, action and self-discovery. The series stars Katherine McNamara as Clary Fray, Dominic Sherwood as Jace Wayland and Alberto Rosende as Simon Lewis.

3. A Series of Unfortunate Events

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Based on A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Following the mysterious death of their parents in a house fire, the Baudelaire children - Violet, Klaus and Sunny - are sent to live with their distant relative, Count Olaf, an eccentric actor who doesn't really care about the children, but about the family fortune they are due to inherit. Count Olaf is determined to claim this inheritance for himself, but cannot do so until Violet comes of age. The Baudelaire children set out to foil Count Olaf's efforts and unravel the mystery behind a secret society with which their parents were somehow involved. The series first aired in January 2017, starring Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf, Patrick Warburton as the narrator Lemony Snicket, Malina Weissman as Violet Baudelaire and Louis Hynes as Klaus Baudelaire.

4. Orange is the New Black

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Based on the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman

Piper Chapman lives a quiet, law-abiding, upper-middle-class life in New York City with her beloved fiance - until, that is, she is sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment in Litchfield Penitentiary, a prison in upstate New York, for a drug-smuggling crime she committed a decade ago. This series follows Piper as she is faced with navigating the chaotic, cruel and unpredictable world of prison life, surrounded by a host of diverse characters. The show is peppered with flashbacks, revealing how the various inmates came to be imprisoned, each with a unique and intriguing tale. The hugely-popular and award-winning show has become the most-watched on Netflix, and has also been praised for highlighting issues concerning prison practices, injustice and corruption. It stars Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman, Laura Prepon as Piper's on-off lover and fellow inmate Alex Vause, and Nick Sandow as the exasperated prison warden Joe Caputo.

5. Sherlock

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Based on the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This engrossing series plucks Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson from their Victorian setting in the books and plants them in the chaotic London of the present day. It follows Sherlock, Watson, Mary, the infamous Moriarty and various other characters throughout a series of seemingly inexplicable mysteries which Sherlock must attempt to solve - and does so in his classically suave and calculating style. The series first aired in 2010 and has garnered great acclaim and many awards over the years. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan and Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty.

6. Poldark

Poldark Set - 2 Books - Collection - 9781509815074 - Winston Graham
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Based on the Poldark books by Winston Graham

In this riveting, romantic series, Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War to find his father is dead, his father's house in ruins, and his former sweetheart Elizabeth engaged to his cousin, Francis. But it's not long before he finds a new love in Demelza, a miner's daughter he saves from a beating, and marries her. But Ross is still secretly in love with Elizabeth, and scandal is sure to follow. Meanwhile, Ross must navigate a series of shocking incidents, from mine collapses to court cases, and manage his turbulent financial affairs. The series stars Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark, Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza Poldark, Heida Reed as Elizabeth and Jack Farthing as the cunning antagonist, George Warleggan.

7. Outlander

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Based on the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

This exhilarating series follows Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who finds herself transported back in time to Scotland in 1743. There, she meets the dashing Highland warrior, Jamie Fraser, and becomes embroiled in the violent risings of the time, in danger of both the Jacobites and the Redcoats. The award-winning series stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Beauchamp, Sam Heughan as James 'Jamie' Fraser, Simon Callow as Clarence Marylebone and Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall.

8. Call the Midwife

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Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth: Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End

This enchanting series follows the lives of a group of midwives in the East End of London in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The historical events of the time significantly affect their characters and storylines, including the post-war baby boom, the 1948 founding of the NHS, the threat of nuclear warfare and the thalidomide scandal. The series has become popular around the world and stars Jessica Raine as Nursing Sister Jennifer 'Jenny' Lee, Pam Ferris as Sister Evangelina and Miranda Hart as Matron Camilla 'Chummy' Browne.

9. The Musketeers

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Based on The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Based on the characters of Alexandre Dumas's famous book, this series follow Athos, Aramis and Porthos, three highly-trained musketeers. Assigned to protect king and country, they must also manage their personal affairs in a fast-paced world of intrigue, action, romance and adventure. This popular series stars Tom Burke as Athos, Santiago Cabrera as Aramis, Howard Charles as Porthos, Luke Pasqualino as the skilful farm boy d'Artagnan and Tamla Kari as d'Artagnan's lover, Constance Bonacieux.

10. Hannibal

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Based on the Hannibal series by Thomas Harris

This exciting and gruesome series chronicles the relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who is asked to supervise Graham as he undertakes an investigation into a series of murders - and also happens to be a cannibalistic serial killer. But Hannibal takes a keen interest in Will, fascinated by the way he is able to empathise with criminals, and their relationship grows more and more complicated. The series stars Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Caroline Dhavernas as professor of psychiatry Dr. Alana Bloom.