Looking back at 2015, I think the year in Toobworld could be summed up as "ToobWord". Some of the best additions to the Toobworld Dynamic as a whole, and some of the top news stories about the TV Universe have involved the adaptations of novels and short stories, from BookWorld to Toobworld.
Among the new adaptations of literature into TV movies, mini-series, and continuous shows have been:
'THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE" by PHILIP K. DICK
'ARTHUR & GEORGE' by JULIAN BARNES
'JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL' by SUSANNA CLARKE
'CHILDHOOD'S END' by ARTHUR C. CLARKE
'POLDARK' by WINSTON GRAHAM
Most of those were limited runs, fully contained based on the events depicted in the books alone. However, 'Poldark' and 'The Man In The High Castle' will return for second seasons.
And save for 'Arthur & George', they all took place in alternate Toobworlds because of those depicted events (although 'Poldark' must take place in the Land O' Remakes since there was a previous series based on Graham's books from 1975 to 1977.) And even with 'Arthur & George' it could be argued that the three part mini-series should take place in some alternate TV dimension because of the recasting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Martin Clunes' portrayal was excellent, don't get me wrong, and he is likely to win a Toobits Award for Best Historical Portrayal. However, preference in Earth Prime-Time is always given to those historical figures who are depicted in interactions with previously established fictional characters. In the case of Conan Doyle, that would include the author as seen in episodes of 'Mr. Selfridge' and 'The Murdoch Mysteries'. (Conan Doyle in a 'Mentors' episode was a computer simulation and as seen in an episode of 'Voyagers!', he was from an alternate timeline.)
Each of their individual Toobworlds, for I doubt they can share each others' realities, would be Borderlands, fictional realms where Television blends with some other fictional universe - in this case, BookWorld (a term coined by Jasper Fforde for the universe of literature as seen in his books about Thursday Next.)
Come to think of it, I would put the NBC live broadcast of the musical "The Wiz" on that list as well. Plus there's 'Once Upon A Time' and 'The Librarians', each of which deal with Fictionals who escaped their literary sources of existence to roam through Toobworld. And 'Daredevil', 'Jessica Jones', 'Supergirl', 'The Flash', 'Arrow', and 'Agents Of SHIELD' could loosely be considered in the mix as well......
Other TV productions based on books made news in 2015 as well. 'Haven' was a series on Syfy which was loosely based on the story in Stephen King's "The Colorado Kid"; it finished up its fifth and last season just this month. Another one of King's books, "Under The Dome" made it through three summer seasons before it was finally cancelled due to low ratings. (O'Bservation: CBS was greedy. This should have been a one-season and done TV series, wrapping up the mystery of the Dome by the end of that first season.)
'Game Of Thrones', the popular fantasy series on HBO, is based on "A Song Of Ice And Fire", the multi-book cycle by George R.R. Martin. Earlier this year it finished its fifth season and will next be delving into uncharted territory since it has completed the adaptations of Martin's already published novels. Luckily Martin has given the show's producers a detailed outline of everything he plans to put into the novels so that they can remain basically in synch. (A lot of the books' materials never made it into the show and certain characters were either dropped or combined with others or just renamed to make things easier for viewers.)
Along with 'Childhood's End' this month, Syfy also presented a commercial-free sneak peak at a series coming in 2016 that is based on a trilogy of novels by Lev Grossman. 'The Magicians' can be loosely summed up as a "Harry Potter series for adults" which begins at a magical studies university in upstate New York named Brakebills. The novels move on to an alternate realm by the second novel ("The Magicians' King"), but I'm not sure the TV series will follow.
'About A Boy' was the third entry in the multiverse of Nick Hornby's novel which was then followed by a movie before being Americanized for the TV series. After two seasons, it was canceled by NBC earlier this year and its last remaining episodes were dispatched to other platforms like iTunes. At the beginning of the year, 'Resurrection' - the American version of Jason Mott's novel 'The Returned' - was cancelled.
British comic actor David Walliams attempted to bring a new version of Dame Agatha Christie's "Tommy & Tuppence" mysteries back to TV, updating the stories to the Cold War of the 1950s. But after three installments, the project was cancelled. And currently, Rowan Atkinson is bringing his own version of French Inspector Jules Maigret to the small screen. After Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, Maigret may have had the most adaptations of a literary detective on TV.
Speaking of Holmes, 2016 will ring in with a special holiday episode of the modernized 'Sherlock' on New Year's Day, while the the game is till afoot with the similar CBS production of 'Elementary'. 'Backstrom' only ran for half a season this year, but I felt it deserved a shot at a full second season. But what do I know? 'Strike Back' was an international series that ran for five seasons, ending this year. Apparently 'Wallander', the UK version starring Kenneth Branagh, is still running - by the way, the author of the original novels, Henning Mankell, passed away earlier this year.
Here are some of the other current TV series currently on the air which are originally based on books:
- 'THE 100'
- 'THE VAMPIRE DIARIES'
- 'HOUSE OF CARDS'
- 'PRETTY LITTLE LIARS'
- 'THE LEFTOVERS'
- 'WAYWARD PINES'
- 'MISS FISCHER'S MURDER MYSTERIES'
- 'THE LAST SHIP'
- 'RIZZOLI & ISLES'
- 'MIDSOMER MURDERS'
- 'THE ROYALS'
- 'THE STRAIN'
I was surprised by several book adaptations on that list.
2016 will see a few more adaptations as well, including 'Emerald City' and 'Dickensian'. (But both of them will be in alternate TV dimensions.)
One word of advice, if you like any of these series, track down their original sources. Not only do you support the authors, but you keep an important mantra going:
Reading is FUNdamental!