22 Book-to-TV Adaptations to Look Forward to Binge-Watching in 2022

22 Book-to-TV Adaptations to Look Forward to Binge-Watching in 2022
Illustration: Ben Currie

Long gone are the days of the monoculture, when everyone settled for watching one of the same three shows every night (because that’s all that was on). Today, the only thing that unifies our viewing habits is how much time we all spend figuring out what to watch — there’s so much good stuff out there, figuring out how best to allocate your precious screen time can be a challenge.

A challenge we’re about to make inordinately more difficult by highlighting all of the books being adapted into TV series in 2022. Television (if we can even still call it that in this peak streaming era) is the ideal place for book adaptations, as the series or miniseries length allows ample room to explore every plot detail and character arc found on the page. But it also means you have to be a lot pickier about what you are going to watch all the way through.

So peruse this list, highlight your favourites, break out the spreadsheets, and start planning your TV viewing priorities for the coming year.

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Calling this The Lord of the Rings is deceptive, because Amazon’s series will actually be a prequel to Tolkien’s classic epic fantasy (and the movies it spawned), drawing on the immense amount of background lore the author left lying around. The series appears poised to focus on Second Age events (the books took place in the Third Age); if you don’t know why this exciting, ask a nerd near you about the Fall of Númenor or the War of the Last Alliance. It seems likely we’ll get to see future flaming eyeball Sauron in his physical form — and wearing the One Ring (chills). Amazon had to contractually commit to making at least five seasons in order to secure the rights, so get ready to settle in for the long haul.

Release date: September 2

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

House of the Dragon, by George R.R. Martin

Before the words “Game of Thrones” became synonymous with “epic disappointment,” HBO had to continue the franchise via several spin-offs based on the wider fictional history behind George R.R. Martin’s (still unfinished) book series. Fast-forward to today, and we’re down to one: House of the Dragon, adapted from the in-universe historical tome Fire and Blood. A prequel set about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series will focus on House Targaryen, back when it was still in charge and still in possession of a horde of terrifying dragons. With an entirely new production team and a cast led by Doctor Who himself, Matt Smith, this series will likely feel quite different from the original — which is probably a good thing, at this point.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: HBO

Conversations With Friends, by Sally Rooney

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Given the successful Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, that there is another series coming based on one of the Irish author’s books seems like par for the course (looked what happened with Laine “Big Little Lies/Nine Perfect Strangers” Moriarty). Another sensual, complex examination of the messy lives of young adults living in Ireland, this book (published before Normal People) focuses on Frances and her ex-girlfriend Bobbi. The pair remains close, and when they fall in with an older couple, Melissa and Nick, a complicated game of secret affairs and betrayals ensues. The cast is young and gorgeous, with newcomer Alison Oliver playing Frances, Sasha Lane (American Honey) as Bobbi, and Joe Alwyn (The Favourite) and Girls alum Jemima Kirke as Nick and Melissa.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Hulu

The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

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Some people sure have a brand: Stephen Moffat, former showrunner for Doctor Who, is adapting Niffenegger’s novel about a man who drifts uncontrollably back and forth through his own timeline and the effect this has on his relationship with his wife. No, your mind’s not playing tricks on you — the novel was already adapted into a film back in 2009, with Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in the lead roles. The HBO series stars Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Theo James as the time-addled couple, and with Moffat in charge you can rest assured the timey-wimey stuff is in expert hands.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: HBO

Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler

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The late Octavia Butler’s classic sci-fi novel about a young Black woman who finds herself constantly pulled back in time to a 19th century plantation feels as immediate as it did back when it was originally published in 1979. Given the novel’s stature and the still timely issues it covers, it’s a good thing the creative team seems up to the challenge: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen) is writing the scripts, and Oscar-winning director Darren Aronofsky, Joe Weisberg (The Americans), Courtney Lee-Mitchell (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), and Joel Fields (Fosse/Verdon) are serving as producers.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: FX

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

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If you’re going to adapt a major fantasy series like A Court of Thorns and Roses — filled to the brim with strong women, political intrigue, and sexy sex — you could do worse than having the guy in charge of Outlander handling things. Good thing for fans of Sarah J. Maas’ epic retelling of the Beauty and the Beast myth that Ron Moore is in charge of this one. Even better? Maas is actually co-writing the scripts the Battlestar Galactica veteran. The best part of the new series is that it was leaked by Maas’ husband, Josh, when he accidentally included a notepad with “ACOTAR TV ADAPTATION NOTES” written on it in a photo he posted to his insta.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Hulu

Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

After years of aborted attempts to make it into a film, Gaiman’s classic comic book finally comes to, well, a screen in 2022, thanks to Netflix’s deep pockets. The story of Morpheus, the King of Dreams, who is summoned into our world by a spell and held prisoner for more than a century before he escapes to reclaim his kingdom, is sure to become serious event viewing, especially considering the incredible, page-perfect cast assembled for the production, including Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death. Most reassuring for fans of the source material is the deep involvement of Gaiman himself; he has said he plans to keep it extremely faithful to the comic while introducing a few smart updates.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Netflix

The Power, by Naomi Alderman

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Naomi Alderman’s dystopian feminist novel, which has remained timely AF since its publication in 2016, is a complex narrative detailing the transformation of civilisation after teenage girls all across the globe suddenly manifest the ability to blast electricity from their hands. Exploring the nature of gender and power dynamics in a thrillingly literal way, the book caused a stir, and the series is certain to inspire a lot of intense discussion. Considering the cast, it’s also going to be pretty entertaining — it includes Alice Eve, Leslie Mann, Auliʻi Cravalho, Daniela Vega, Tim Robbins, Rob Delaney, and John Leguizamo among others.

Release date: TBA (likely early 2022)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

The Vampire Chronicles, by Anne Rice

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In the Age of Reboots, everything old is new again. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt (not to mention Kirsten Dunst) were pretty iconic in the 1994 film adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic vampire story, but there are nearly two dozen more books in The Vampire Chronicles and related series (some of which have, yes, been made into, er, less successful movies), so there’s a lot of universe to explore. Sam Reid has been cast as Lestat de Lioncourt, immortal and amoral vampire, with Rolin Jones of Perry Mason fame running the show, which will have an eight-episode run at some point in 2022.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: AMC

Wool, by Hugh Howey

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Starring Rebecca Ferguson (who also executive produces), Tim Robbins, Rashida Jones, and David Oyelowo, Apple’s adaptation of Hugh Howey’s post-apocalyptic puzzle box thriller will arrive at some point next year. Set in a future where the Earth has become too toxic for survival and the remnants of humanity live inside a “silo” of sorts that delves deep into the Earth, the series follows several characters as they come to question the rules there incredibly rigid society imposes on them, supposedly for their safety (and definitely not because of a greater conspiracy). Howey famously self-published the first stories set in the Wool universe, so seeing this on screens will give legions of writers hope.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Anatomy of a Scandal, by Sarah Vaughan

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David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Big Little Lies) is one of the folks bringing Vaughn’s twisty tale of privilege, infidelity, and sexual assault to Netflix, which immediately gives the adaptation a hint of soapy intrigue. So does the cast: Naomi Scott, Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery, Ben Radcliffe, and Rupert Friend are all involved. The story concerns a British politician whose life implodes when the woman he’s been having an affair with accuses him of assault, and whose shocking secrets are eventually exposed during a very public trial. It’s precisely the sort of “rich folks behaving badly” story Kelley does so well.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Netflix

Roar, by Cecelia Ahern

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Cecelia Ahern’s story collection is certainly a challenging books to adapt to the small screen. Each story in it is a standalone magical realist fable that explores the struggles and sufferings women face due to sexism, ageism, racism, and all the other isms you can think of — the jacket copy teases a tale of a woman whose skin is one day covered in mysterious bite marks, and another in which a wife attempts to return her husband to the store where she acquired him. Shepherding this weirdness are Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the creators of Netflix’s GLOW, whose pedigree has earned them the trust of some big names — Betty Gilpin, Alison Brie, Merritt Weaver, Cynthia Erivo, and Nicole Kidman included.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan

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Throw a period ‘80s setting, timeless coming-of-age themes, and a collection of fierce teenage girls who work delivering newspapers in a small town into a raging war between time travellers, and you have the beginnings of this acclaimed comic book from co-creators Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. Vaughn, of course, is also one-half of the team behind other comic classics like Saga (co-created with artist Fiona Staples) and Y: The Last Man (with Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan), so you know the story is there, provided it can be wrestled into a new medium. Starring Sofia Rosinsky, Camryn Jones, Riley Lai Nelet, and Fina Strazza as the titular girls, we can only hope this one lasts a bit longer than that Y: The Last Man adaptation.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Reid’s delightfully salacious romp about a 1970s rock band that rises from the L.A. music scene to become Fleetwood Mac-like legends sounds like the stuff of can’t-miss page-to-screen adaptations. The novel is styled as a series of interview transcripts for a Behind the Music-style documentary, which gives it a cinematic quality from the first page. With Riley Keough starring as Daisy Jones and executive producer Reese Witherspoon onboard, Amazon is sure to draw viewers with this six-episode (for now) miniseries.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, by Henry Fielding

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Yes, the hottest novel of 1749 is back again. Tom Jones has been adapted several times over the years, but in 2022, Masterpiece is hoping to strike Downton Abbey gold again with a fresh take starring Solly McLeod as Tom. Despite its age, there’s some real 2022 energy to this story of the title character, who was found as a child by a wealthy family after being abandoned on their property, and is now all grown and searching for love and meaning in his life. As a series, it will have just about everything, from unrequited love, to scandalous plot reveals, to high drama (Tom winds up in prison at times); certainly sounds like enough to keep us throwing money at our local PBS affiliate.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: PBS Masterpiece

The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante

The world’s most mysterious author has already seen several of her books adapted for the small screen, including HBO’s brooding My Brilliant Friend. This story follows an Italian girl named Giovanna, whose father tells her that her face is changing to resemble her Aunt Vittoria, prompting Giovanna to embark on a quest to find her true reflection. Veteran Italian actress Valeria Golino has signed on to play Vittoria; since it’s Ferrante, you won’t be surprised to learn the story takes another deep dive into the complex social and economic world of Naples.

Release date: TBA (probably late in the year)

Where to watch: Netflix

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

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You could do worse than a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel as the basis of your next binge-watch. Set in World War II, this one tells the story of a blind girl named Marie-Laure and Werner, a German soldier, whose lives become entangled as they try to survive the horrors of war and the tumult of a love affair. The novel struck a chord with millions of readers around the world, so no pressure to get the adaptation right — but producer Shawn Levy got off to a good start by encouraging blind actors to audition for the role of Maire-Laure. The only downside is that this will be a four-episode miniseries, which might not be enough to contain the expansive novel.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Netflix

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

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Bennett’s thoughtful, searing novel encompasses decades in the lives of twin light-skinned Black sisters Stella and Desiree. As teenagers they flee their racist hometown in Louisiana, heading for New Orleans, but soon become separated. Years later, Desiree’s dark-skinned daughter Jude moves to Los Angeles, where she encounters Stella, who has been passing as white all these years. The book arrives onscreen in the care of Insecure’s Issa Rae and Slave Play’s Jeremy O. Harris, who are serving as producers.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: HBO

Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton

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Dolly Alderton’s hilarious, moving memoir about her experiences as a single girl moving into her first real London apartment with her pal has been called a Sex and the City for the Millennial set (wasn’t that Girls?). Starring Bel Powley (Birdy) and Emma Appleton (Maggie), the series should be a deep and deeply funny dive into the disastrous dates, career missteps, and general messiness of being a twentysomething single person in one of the world’s biggest cities. Alderton is adapting the book herself, so hopefully the page-to-screen transition proceeds smoothly.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: BBC

The Midwich Cuckoos, by John Wyndham

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You probably know Wyndham’s sci-fi classic better as The Village of the Damned, the title given to its two previous film adaptations. The premise, if you missed those earlier incarnations, goes like this: The entire population of the town of Midwich falls unconscious for a day. Upon waking, everyone is fine — but all of the women of childbearing age are pregnant. The children, once born, appear to be, well, not human, and as they mature they develop increasingly terrifying powers. The adaptation will star Keeley Hawes and Max Beesly, and should arrive across the pond in late 2022.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Sky One

The Shining Girls, by Laura Beukes

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Produced by and starring The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elizabeth Moss, The Shining Girls will adapt South African author Lauren Beukes’ tense time travel serial killer thriller about a man who finds a doorway through time and uses it to flit between decades, murdering “shining girls” — women with tremendous potential — and the one target who determined to stop him.In addition to Moss, the cast includes Amy Brenneman, Wagner Moura, Jamie Bell, and Phillipa Soo.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: Apple TV+

The Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz

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Anthony Horowitz’s nesting doll of a mystery novel is delightfully twisty. When book editor Susan Ryeland discovers bestselling author writer Alan Conway has died before finishing his latest whodunnit, she suspects the manuscript’s plot may have been based on real-life — and that Conway has murdered, with the text the only clues to uncovering the culprit. Ryeland sets out to find the missing chapters of the book, and the result reads like a blend between contemporary mystery tropes and classic Agatha Christie conceits. With Lesley Manville and Conleth Hill playing Ryeland and Conway and Timothy McMullan as the “fictional” detective Atticus Pünd, this might be just the twisty mystery you’ve been searching for.

Release date: TBA

Where to watch: PBS Masterpiece


Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.

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