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18 TV Shows You Might Not Have Realised Were Based On Books

You can add these to your reading list AND your watch list.

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1. Big Little Lies

HBO / Penguin

The HBO series is based on the best-selling 2014 book by Liane Moriarty. Though it's largely very similar, there are some pretty big differences – for example, the novel is set in Australia rather than California.

Get the book here and the audiobook here.

2. House of Cards

Netflix / Harper

A little bit meta, but House of Cards is based on the UK miniseries of the same name, which in turn is based on a book (ALSO called House of Cards). While both are about manipulation and power in politics, the obvious difference is they're set on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

You can get the book from here and the audiobook from here.

3. Dexter

Showtime / Orion

Dexter is based on the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the first in a series of novels by Jeff Linsday. However, after the first season they stopped being based on the book

Get the first book here and the audiobook here.

4. 13 Reasons Why

Netflix / Penguin

The hit Netflix series is based on the 2007 novel by Jay Asher. The events of the book happen over one night but as that likely wouldn't work well for 13, hour-long episodes, the series happens over a longer period of time.

You can get the book here and the audiobook here.

5. Orange Is the New Black

Netflix / Spiegel & Grau

OITNB is based on the story of the real-life Piper, who spent a year in a women's prison after being convicted of drug trafficking and money laundering offences. While some of the series' characters are thought to be based on people in the book, it's obviously an inspiration rather than a direct interpretation. For example, in real life Piper wasn't sent to the same prison as her ex-girlfriend.

You can get the book here and the audiobook is available here.

6. The Magicians

Syfy / Plume Books

The books by Lev Grossman follow the characters through their teens and into their thirties. However, the TV series leaves out the teen bit entirely and starts with them in their early twenties.

The book is available here and you can get the audiobook here.

7. The Vampire Diaries

The CW / Hodder Children's Books

In the book, the main character is known to be blonde with blue eyes, even featuring that look on book covers, but after Nina Dobrev impressed producers this was changed for the series!

Get the first instalment here and the audiobook here.

8. iZombie

The CW / DC Comics

iZombie is loosely based on the Vertigo comics of the same name. While both feature a zombie who needs brains to survive and can pass as a human, the character of Liv in the books is actually called Gwen, and it features more ~supernatural~ characters like ghosts.

You can get it from here.

9. Queen Sugar

Oprah Winfrey Network / Penguin

Queen Sugar is a 2014 book which was then picked up by Oprah, yes, OPRAH, and turned into a show on her network! A few things have been changed for the series, as the show features an extra sibling which doesn't exist in the book.

Get the book from here and the audiobook from here.

10. Outlander

Starz / Arrow

Outlander was published all the way back in 1991 before being adapted for TV in 2014. The first series is actually pretty true to the books, but the second one wasn't done in keeping with the second book, largely because the structure wouldn't work for TV.

The book is available here and the audiobook from here.

11. Pretty Little Liars

Freeform / Harper Teen

The teen drama is based on a series of young adult novels by Sara Shepherd, which span sixteen books! A surprising thing about the books is they're actually not close friends with one another, and in a lot of ways the books and show are definitely different experiences.

Get the first book in the series here.

12. Boardwalk Empire

HBO / Plexus Publishing

Boardwalk Empire is actually based on a non-fiction book, Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, an interesting look into the history of Atlantic City and charting how it changed from a seaside resort into something pretty different during Prohibition, which is pretty much what happens in the show.

Get the book here and the audiobook here.

13. True Blood

HBO / Gollancz

The show is based on the Sookie Stackhouse book series (since renamed the True Blood series). As the series progresses it doesn't follow the books anymore, plus Sookie's romance at the end of the books is very different to the show.

Get it as part of an omnibus here and the audiobook here.

14. Lucifer

Fox / Vertigo

Lucifer is based on the character Lucifer Morningstar in the Neil Gaiman series The Sandman. After that, the character was given their own spinoff comics for a while.

You can get The Sandman here.

15. The 100

The CW / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The gap between these two being released is pretty close because there was interest in adapting the book for TV before it had even been released, although a lot of beloved characters in the show don't actually feature in the books.

You can get the book over here and the audiobook from here.

16. Sex and the City

HBO / Abacus

While it's not a direct interpretation of a story, the show is inspired by a series of columns Candace Bushnell wrote about life in New York. Plus there's the tie-in of a New York columnist writing about her life which sounds pretty familiar to fans of the show.

The book is available here and the audiobook from here.

17. Hemlock Grove

Netflix / Farrar, Straus & Giroux

The Netflix adaptation of the horror thriller by Brian McGreevey is pretty close to the book in the first series, but after that it's not. It's unlikely there will be more source material for the series to use as it is – the author has no plans for a direct sequel of the book.

You can get the book here.

18. The Leftovers

HBO / St. Martin's Griffin

The Leftovers wasn't a huge book originally, which is surprising considering the show had three seasons. In the book, the main character is a much more mild-mannered guy than the Kevin Garvey we see played by Justin Theroux.

Get the book here.

CORRECTION

The names of authors Sara Shepard and Brian McGreevy, as well as Kevin Garvey, the character played by Justin Theroux on The Leftovers, were misspelled in a previous version of this post.

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