I’m not trolling, I promise you. I know it’s very dangerous to express your disdain for a highly popular book series. So all you “Outlander” lovers, you Gabaldon accolytes, you Jamie Fraser fangirls and fanboys can have at me in the comments section. I expect it and I don’t blame you. I’d do the same if you attacked something I loved. That being said, I think the insanely popular “Outlander” series is pretty f*cking dumb. It’s one wobbly half-step above the mass market bodice rippers my gran covers in brown paper before she reads them in public. And, listen, that’s fine. Those things serve a purpose. And I love a man in a kilt as much as the next girl. But when I heard that Ron Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Roswell”) would be adapting the series for Starz, my eyes rolled right back in my head.
Obviously, obviously it’s smart to adapt a very popular book series for cable television. One need look no further than the success of “True Blood” “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” (not to mention the filmic success of “Twilight”) to know that a known-quantity story with a built-in, rabid fanbase is the perfect fodder for television. And, hell, Diana Gabaldon has already written seven volumes of this time traveling, kilt lifting nonsense so Moore et. al. will have plenty of material to pull from. But I can’t help but think of all the other, better book series that merit an adaptation above “Outlander.” And with that in mind, I took to Twitter last night to crowd-source some ideas of book series You People would like to see on your television. (Trust me, I didn’t just pick my favorite books. I’m pretty sure the world isn’t exactly clamoring for turn of the century pith helmets. Then again, with the success of “Downton Abbey,” you never know.) Here are 7 options with a little light dream casting. Holler at me if you think of something even better.
7. “The Aubrey-Maturin Series” — Patrick O’Brian: This fantastic series of seafaring books has 21 volumes and has already been made into a f*cking amazing and criminally underrated movie starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. Why they stopped at one, I can’t tell you. Would it make a great TV series? You’re damn right it would. One need look no further than the excellent “Sharpe” or “Horatio Hornblower” series to know that this is fertile ground. The downside, of course, is that this particular set of books is a bit of a sausage fest, so not much room for “Game of Thrones”-style sexposition. Alas.
Dream Casting: Crowe is too busy, of course, to reprise his role as Capt. Jack Aubrey, but I see no reason why the equally weather-beaten Sean Bean couldn’t pick up where Crowe left off. As for Dr. Maturin? Well, let’s be honest, Bettany isn’t doing much else these days.
6. “The Passage Trilogy” — Justin Cronin: Justin Cronin famously sold the movie rights to his clever vampire books before the first installment was even published in June 2010. The second volume was released this fall with the third slated for 2014. As nice as a plump movie deal is, I think these wonderful books would make terrible movies. They’re far too long (the first book clocked in at 784 pages), tangled and grand in scope for a feature film series. Even if that series were seven films. I would much rather see it adapted for television where there’s room to grow and tweak the vast timeline and large cast of characters. If you haven’t tried them out yet, think early Stephen King. And then start salivating.
Dream Casting: Amy (after the outbreak) has always been Dakota Fanning in my mind.
5. “Dune” — Frank Herbert: Many have tried, but, so far, no one has been able to truly capture the appeal and rich splendor of the “Dune” series. Oh, I like the films and mini-series that have come before. But I think we can do better. Especially given the advancements in special effects.
Dream Casting: I’d love to see Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”) as Paul Atreides aka Muad’Dib. Mostly because the kid has talent and I’m not sure he should continue to hide his light under Ryan Murphy’s graphic bushel. If you think Peters is too dark for the role, then maybe he’d be a better fit for the next entry.
4. “The Sandman Chronicles” — Neil Gaiman: On the world’s most popular comic series, Neil Gaiman’s dark and gothic tale would be an absolutely delightful TV series. I was completely devastated by the depressingly low budget 1996 adaptation of his “Neverwhere,” but after Coraline I think Gaiman has a lot more clout in the entertainment world.
Dream Casting: This is basically an elaborate excuse to get David Tennant back on my TV screen on a regular basis. Could he pull off Dream? Oh I think he could. Summer Glau, on the other hand, is a physical match for Death. If she were to tone up her acting skills, I would love to see her do some Gaiman.
3. “Y: The Last Man” — Brian K. Vaughan: There have been rumors about a film adaptation of this fantastic comic series for years. But, like the other titles listed here, I think this post-apocalyptic story would be better suited for the smaller screen. In stark contrast to the Aubrey-Maturin novels, this series is a total clambake. But something tells me you wouldn’t have a problem with that.
Dream Casting: I had Yelchin in my mind as I was reading the series. But he’s starting to get a little too old to play Yorick. Get your *ss in gear, Hollywood.
2. “Discworld” — Terry Pratchett: This TV series is reportedly in development. I’m not sure what the hold up is. Quite possibly author Terry Pratchett’s illness. But I would pay all my money to whatever channel would finally do this sprawling world justice. (Don’t watch the ITV movies. Just. Don’t.)
Dream Casting: It’s called “dream” casting, right? So I can “dream” that the late great Pete Postlethwaite is still with us? Good. Because no other Vimes will do.
1. “The Song Of The Lioness Quartet” — Tamora Pierce: I read this series of books over and over until the covers started to come off. The story of a young girl who wants to be a fighter and dresses as her brother so she can train with the other boys before coming into her own as a the most bad*ss knight in the realm is begging to be a TV series. Basically it’s the story of Arya Stark who turns into the Khaleesi and then into Brienne of Tarth. Just so you know, the last book in Pierce’s series predates the first in “Game of Thrones” by 8 years.
Dream Casting: Maisie Williams. Yeah, yeah, she’s locked into “Game of Thrones” for the foreseeable future, but she would be perfection itself.