In November, Amazon bought the rights from the Tolkien Estate to The Lord of the Rings. To make a TV series. As most fans picked up the remainders of their exploded heads, Amazon announced that they paid $250 million for the rights, and also that it serve as a prequel to The Fellowship of the Ring, so it could be worse.
Still, $250 million? Surely, there’s a different book series that needs adapting. Maybe one of these?
Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Series
Turn back the clock to Regency England where, in Kowal’s alternate history, magic exists in a fabulously unique way. There’s no spells, witches, wizards, hilariously outmoded boarding schools or rings – magic is art. It’s a kind of illusion, specifically called glamour, and magic users create images in the air and decorate space with their magic. Kowal takes that premise and runs so far with it. She begins with by retelling some classic Jane Austen in Shades of Milk and Honey and three books later, her heroine travels abroad committing espionage with her illusion magic.
Wesley Chu’s The Lives of Tao series
One of my favorite TV shows was NBC’s Chuck, and some days I miss it. But, luckily for me, there’s The Lives of Tao, where our hero gets an alien uploaded into his brain rather than a computer. All the martial arts in this book made me want to run a 10K at the end of every chapter. Only a stuntman, like author Wesley Chu, could write these awesome fight scenes that roll across the pages of these books. Plus, the buddy cop tone laid by Tao occupying Roan’s conscious provides the perfect way to lighten up the idea of two alien factions pitting humans against one another in endless war.
The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vols. 1-3 and really, the rest of the Twain Canon
Okay, not a book series in the modern sense., but I would absolutely love to have this massive three-part-tome adapted into a sitcom. I haven’t actually gotten to the end of this beast yet, but I can already tell you that some episodes would be hilarious. In the first season, young Sam (Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens) would sign up to fight in the War Between the States and quit from boredom two weeks later. He would travel to England and make snarky comments about how dumb the Middle Ages must have been, thus setting the basis for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Old Sam would learn that former President Ulysses S. Grant had gone bust while sitting on a memoir – so, by gum, he’d help the former President publish his book. That actually happened! Also, there could be wacky flashbacks to his childhood in the form of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn references.
Brian Jacques’s Redwall Series
We’ve talked about this series before on this site. These books get really exciting. They’ve also got a following. Jacques wrote hundreds of unique characters from fascinating villains like Slagar the Cruel to Lady Cregga Rose Eyes, the military genius who later becomes a nun, so they would have no problem creating an interesting cast. Now this series has been adapted before, as a young children’s cartoon, but a remake could produce a little more mature content. Libraries usually shove the books in the Young Adult section and that ambiguity makes them perfect for Amazon. Amazon has no problem marketing unusual shows, from Fleabag to Comrade Detective so a show, nominally for children, featuring medieval warfare between woodland creatures shouldn’t be a problem. Also, tie-in books: twenty-two of them.