These Book-to-TV Adaptations Deserve a Reboot


These days, it seems like every popular book series is getting a chance to shine on the small screen.

But with so many adaptations, there are bound to be some that fail to reach audience expectations. Some adaptations are just so terrible that we like to pretend they never existed.

However, with the news that Disney+ is officially rebooting the Percy Jackson books as television series, and Netflix’s successful reboot of A Series of Unfortunate Events, we cannot help but think about other TV adaptations that deserve a second chance, too. Here are a few book-to-TV adaptations we think deserve another shot on television!

1. Pretty Little Liars

It is no surprise that Pretty Little Liars is the first show on our list. While we cannot imagine another cast as our beloved liars, the show quickly became a complete disaster, proving it deserves a second shot.

For one, the show whitewashed both Wren and Hanna — Wren Kingston is actually Wren Kim, an Anglo-Korean doctor. As for Hanna, she is Jewish in the books — a critical factor of her identity that the show failed to include.

Emily Fields also suffered from an identity change. In the books, she eventually realizes that while she may prefer girls, she is still attracted to boys. She said that gender is not a factor, implying that she is either unlabelled or pansexual.

While lesbian representation is important, no queer representation should come at another variant’s expense. There is already minimal LGBTQ+ representation on television, to begin with, so this was not a good move for the show to make.

Other than marginalized identities, Pretty Little Liars also butchered critical storylines and relationships.

Spencer ended up with Toby Cavanaugh, who, in the books, sexually abused his step-sister, Jenna. The show reversed that storyline, but regardless, Toby joined the A Team on Pretty Little Liars Season 3.

Aria ended up with Ezra Fitz, her high school English teacher. She was sixteen when they started their tumultuous, on-and-off relationship. They always had an imbalanced dynamic, with Ezra holding power. And the show made their relationship so much worse when we learn that he stalked Aria, Alison, and their friends just for his book.

These relationships are toxic, and it was disappointing to see them end up together. Both Spencer and Aria’s endgames in the books are much more realistic.

Spencer ended up with Wren, but they only started dating once she was eighteen. Aria ended up with Noel, who was never the creep the show made him out to be.

Aria and Noel were lovely together. They employed many iconic tropes — including high school sweethearts, I can’t believe a guy like you would notice me, new old flame, opposites attract, single girl seeks most popular guy, true love is exceptional, and will they or won’t they, just to name a few.

Even the mystery of A and Alison DiLaurentis fell flat. No foreshadowing or subtle hints led up to Charlotte or Alex. The books cleverly foreshadowed the mystery, embedding little clues up until the big reveal, which made it so satisfying and mind-blowing at the same time.

To sum it up, Pretty Little Liars as a TV show messed up big time. It would be wonderful to see a reboot of this series that follows the books much more closely without turning into a complete disaster.

2. Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl actually has a reboot that is about to premiere, but the new show will be with an entirely different cast of characters. We would love a reboot with the original characters that would follow the book series more accurately.

That would involve primarily focusing on the iconic love triangle between Blair, Nate, and Serena, as well as Dan and Vanessa’s friends-to-lovers romance.

Furthermore, unlike the current reboot, a TV adaptation that faithfully follows the books would not involve class consciousness. Despite the faults the original Gossip Girl had, it got one thing right — the purpose.

The point of Gossip Girl has always been about making fun of wealthy teenagers and their “rich people problems” while remaining completely unaware of the real world. So, we were highly skeptical when the showrunner of the reboot said they planned to provide commentary on the privilege these characters hold.

We are unsure of how we feel about the new reboot, but we can only hope for the best.

3. Anne With an E

To be clear, Anne With an E was not a bad adaptation of the beloved classic Anne of Green Gables. It was a great adaptation — but one that got canceled way before its time.

Despite fans rallying to save the show, Netflix did not budge, and the show remains canceled. 

Anne With an E deserves a reboot to finish telling the story properly, give the characters and relationships closure, and tie up loose ends.

4. Shadowhunters

As far as adaptations go, Shadowhunters falls somewhere in the middle.

But fans generally agree that the show’s interpretation of Jace Herondale was just so wildly out of character.

In the books, Jace is sarcastic, funny, and closed-off. It takes him a long time to become emotionally vulnerable, which he only does around Clary or Alec. The TV adaptation simply forgot about his humor, and he was way too vulnerable for our liking.

While his character somewhat improved along the way, there are still too many cringe-worthy moments that simply do not do Jace justice.

Shadowhunters had other changes that were not for the better. One of those changes includes the romance between Clary and Simon.

Sure, they also dated in the books, but it was not that serious. Clary spent their entire romance wishing that she could be with Jace. While Simon had feelings for her, it seemed that he was more in love with the idea of being with her rather than the real thing.

We also hated that Jocelyn died — something that never happened in the books.

After her death, Luke and Maryse developed a romantic relationship further down the line, which is just creepy, considering Maryse is Jace’s adoptive mom, and Luke is the closest thing Clary ever had to a father. He arguably is her adoptive father. And Clary and Jace end up together. Yikes.

Furthermore, the ending of the show is just terrible. The way the writers end Clary’s arc illustrates how they always lacked a fundamental understanding of her character.

We still appreciate moments that never occurred in the books, such as Jace and Imogen meeting face-to-face once he knows she is his grandmother, Clary’s corruption arc, and Simon and Isabelle’s sweetly ridiculous pinky swear pact.

But overall, Shadowhunters simply made too many mistakes to be a decent adaptation. The books deserve a second chance. 

5. The 100

From The 100 Season 1 Episode 1, this show has ventured in a wildly different path from the books. This path had its pros and cons, but ultimately, what makes this show deserving of a reboot is a chance to tell Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake’s story properly.

Clarke and Bellamy’s relationship is so complex that there are a million different ways to tell it. Several pivotal moments throughout the show could have transitioned their partnership into romance. They even have their epic canon romance in the books themselves.

But despite the many opportunities the show had, Bellamy and Clarke did not end up together. Clarke shot Bellamy on The 100 Season 7 Episode 13 — an anticlimatic ending for the show’s most popular and beloved couple.

Bellamy and Clarke’s relationship is exceptional in any universe; we see that in the books and on the show. They deserve a real shot at romance on the small screen.

We are not expecting a reboot any time soon, but they will always have a special place in our hearts.

6. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has generally been considered a good adaptation, and for the most part, it is. However, there seems to be a consensus that Game of Thrones Season 8 was utter garbage.

The characters went in opposite directions than what their arcs had suggested on previous seasons. These characters deserve a chance for their stories to end the right way, and a reboot could fix that, especially for Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark.

Game of Thrones Season 8 essentially forgot everything about the books. 

Unfortunately, a reboot does seem to be the only option here since George R.R. Martin, the author of the books, has left the series unfinished since 2011.

He says that he plans to finish the books, but considering that it has been two years since the last one, a reboot would not be such a bad idea.

Fans certainly deserve a proper ending to their beloved characters, and Game of Thrones Season 8 is anything but that.

We want to hear from you, Fanatics!

What are book-to-TV adaptations you believe deserve a reboot?

Are there any books you would like to see on the small screen?

Or what about book-to-TV adaptations that were well done? 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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