50 Wonderful Things From 2018

The Afro-Latino Brooklynite Miles Morales is one of many characters who don the mask in the 2018 film Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.
Sony Pictures

Standard caveats (really standard — same as last year!): I don’t watch everything. I am behind on many things. That’s just the way the world is. So if something you loved isn’t here, it is not a rebuke.

And: These are cultural — mostly pop-cultural — things. These are not the best things in the world. Like yours, my actual list of wonderful things from the year, if I wrote it in a journal instead of for work, would be a list of people and moments spent with them, of days when it was unexpectedly sunny and of times when things suddenly felt better. But whatever journey you’re on at any given moment, you can always use more good things. So here we go.

1. Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lively performance of “A Cover Is Not the Book,” a preposterously catchy dance-hall number in Mary Poppins Returns.

2. Miles Morales’ father talking to him through his door in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseThe film is full of visually inventive sequences, but this emotional scene between father and son might be its most important moment.

3. “Must the duck be here?” Yorgos Lanthimos’ royal court comedy-drama The Favourite isn’t as fussy as it could have turned out, and it runs on the performances of Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. Its absurdity is carefully apportioned, including when Harley (Nicholas Hoult), exasperated by a companion’s feathered pal, wonders whether the room could be smaller by a couple of webbed feet.

4. The climactic moment of Steve McQueen’s Widows. It’s been hard to explain this difficult and thoughtful but also exhilarating heist film to audiences. But as it reaches its end and concludes as it must, Viola Davis stands in for many women who have simply had enough.

5. The gold shades of If Beale Street Could Talk. Barry Jenkins’ entire film is a series of lush images, beginning with the breathtaking opening shots, in which Tish’s (KiKi Layne) coat and Fonny’s (Stephan James) shirt and the canopy of leaves in their neighborhood are all the same autumn gold.

6. Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant’s final scene in Can You Ever Forgive Me? McCarthy, as a curmudgeonly forger, and Grant, as her lonely accomplice and only real friend, meet up at the end of Marielle Heller’s film after a long estrangement. And while the scene is deeply felt, it doesn’t betray the story’s fundamental sense of isolation.

7. Carla Gugino’s performance in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. The series was uneven and overlong, but one part that was riveting throughout was Gugino’s work as Olivia Crain, a mother slowly feeling her grip on reality slide.

8. The blues of Wildlife. Directed by Paul Dano and written by Dano and Zoe Kazan, the family drama Wildlife showcased great work from Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ed Oxenbould. But it also stands out as a stunning example of color in visual storytelling. Watch the film when you can, and watch for where the blue is, where the neutrals are, and where unexpected colors are. It’s a fully thought-out color story in a way that’s immensely satisfying.

9. “Shallow.” For all the fuss that came and went over Bradley Cooper’s reimagining of the oft-told show-business tragedy A Star Is Born, the moment that stuck — for good reason — was Lady Gaga and Cooper performing the song “Shallow,” which Gaga wrote with her collaborators. In that moment, it’s utterly believable that Ally and Jackson are falling in love and finding that love in art, despite the fact that the literal telling of the tale, in which she warbles a bit of it in a parking lot and he completes a full arrangement with which she sings along flawlessly, doesn’t make the least bit of sense.

10. Blake Lively’s various looks in A Simple Favor. A tonally playful film, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor is funny and tense and over-the-top all at once. One of its signatures is Blake Lively’s gorgeous menswear-inspired wardrobe, which plays against Anna Kendrick’s almost cartoonish femininity. Everyone in the film looks great, and the film looks great, and it continues Feig’s history of working very effectively with actresses to showcase notes they haven’t quite hit before.

11. The Good Place: The PodcastBehind-the-scenes podcasts are difficult. They can easily collapse into a bunch of people talking about how great it is to work together which, without more, isn’t much. The Good Place: The Podcast, however, hosted by actor Marc Evan Jackson, makes the formula work. They interview not only actors and writers, but also folks who work in areas like effects, set design, props, music and stunts. Taken together, the podcast’s run is a great way to learn how TV shows work and how many people put their full hearts into the ones that are good.

12. The opening montage of Forever. The showstarred Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as a couple whose marriage faced a very unexpected set of circumstances. And while not all of it worked, the opening sequence, showing how a couple can go from blissfully in love to contentedly in love to companionably cohabitating, was efficient and alarmingly plausible.

13. Peter Kavinsky’s selfie. The Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han’s YA romance To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a hit, not to mention a real boon to lovers of romantic comedy in general. And while its final scene is swoonworthy and its adorable flirtations are many, none stayed with me quite like Peter (Noah Centineo) taking a selfie for Lara Jean (Lana Condor) to use as the background on her phone. Gently and confidently funny (only because you know it’s supposed to be funny), it’s one of the moments that make it believable that Peter is very, very excited about Lara Jean.

14. The wig throw. Look, there are so many things to love about Black Panther. How do we choose? Well, I choose the moment in which Okoye (Danai Gurira) hurls her wig at one of the men attacking her, just long enough for it to distract him. Wigs detached from heads (and sometimes on heads) are inherently funny and that scene is inherently great, so it winds up being one of the film’s OH BOY NO WAY moments that work especially well in a crowded theater.

15. The end of Avengers: Infinity War. If you haven’t yet seen the penultimate installment in this set of Avengers films, just move right along. Skip this one. Don’t spoil yourself. Okay, if you’re still here, I assume you know that there were heavy losses at the end of the film (most of which, sure, will be undone in the next). Peter Parker (Tom Holland), in particular, was allowed to show fear as he began to vanish, and that fear and panic made his (come on, surely temporary) loss all the more emotional.

16. “Oh no, he died.” The comedy Game Night is much, much better than it sounds like it would be, thanks in part to the cast. Jason Bateman, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury … everybody is good. But there is no performance in the film better than Rachel McAdams as Annie, a deadly serious competitor on game night with her friends who becomes a surprised participant in what film-lovers know as One Crazy Night. You can already know going into it that you will hear her say “Oh no, he died!” at one point and it will be one of the best line-readings of the year. It will still make you laugh. I can still watch it now and still laugh. Putting this together, I just did.

17. The scene where Kayla’s dad comes clean about his fears. There has been a ton of praise, all earned and all deserved, for Elsie Fisher’s performance as young Kayla in Bo Burnham’s stunning Eighth Grade. But the film also relies on Josh Hamilton as Kayla’s father. In one scene, the focus briefly shifts to him as he tries to explain how much he loves her and how much he loves being her father. There isn’t a false note. It’s a beautiful scene.

18. The Rumble In The Restroom. Little bits of the fight scene in which Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill and Liang Yang bounce each other off walls and sinks and mirrors started to circulate well before the release of Mission: Impossible – Fallout. But in the end, the whole thing was as claustrophobic, exciting, stylish and sort of funny as you could have possibly hoped.

19. Cate Blanchett’s suits in Ocean’s 8. If you saw the film, then you know.

20. The singing lineup. As depressing as it was to see Fox cancel the fantastic comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, that’s how much fun it was to see NBC pick it right back up again for a sixth season that will start just after the new year. Where would we be without Jake Peralta having the guys in a police lineup sing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys?

21. Tully‘s montage. It was a good year for montages, actually, and like the one in Forever, the one in Tully that showed the drudgery and monotony of caring for an infant gave us something that only a sequence like that can do. It compressed time — faster and faster, in fact — to tell a story about a lot of moments, none of which are memorable.

22. Sandra Oh in Killing Eve. All the performances in the BBC America series are terrific. But Sandra Oh, who has been one of our most indispensable actresses for many years, played the obsessed spy with an intensity and vulnerability that helped Jodie Comer’s somewhat broader portrayal of the assassin Villanelle remain grounded.

23. A Quiet Place‘s final shot. The entire film is almost unbearably tense, since one key to survival is to stay silent even as danger mounts, passes or arrives. It becomes difficult to imagine what could be a satisfying conclusion — what could feel fair and consistent with the story and not, at some level, just nihilistic and awful. It’s very smart that the story ends where it does — which I wouldn’t dare to give away.

24. John Mulaney and the horse in the hospital. Mulaney’s special Kid Gorgeous has long sections devoted to stranger-danger training and Saturday Night Live. But the peak is an extended simile in which he compares politics to having a horse loose in a hospital. Even if nothing else in the special worked, it would be an astounding document just for that.

25. The last line of Barry. The comedy-drama Barry stars Bill Hader as a hit man trying to go straight, in part by taking acting classes. While it sounds like the setup for black comedy only, the first season builds to a final sequence in which the entire point of the story and the entire meaning of the character’s experience up to this point come into focus in one jarring moment.

26. A dogfight over some garbage. I wound up having mixed feelings about Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, but a sequence in which two packs of dogs scrap over discarded and rotting food, all the while calmly negotiating over how to proceed, turns into a delightful Looney-Tunes-ish moment.

27. Chris Pine in A Wrinkle in Time. I was candidly baffled by the public ambivalence about Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the Madeleine L’Engle novel, in part because the relationship between Meg (Storm Reid) and her father, played by Pine, was so moving. He’s just wonderful in it, human and scared, brilliant and lost.

28. New Greg. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is approaching the end of its run. The creators, not surprisingly, decided that it would be a better story if Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) got to close the loop on her relationship with old boyfriend Greg. But when Greg’s original portrayer, Santino Fontana, wasn’t available, they recast with Skylar Astin. But they didn’t pretend it hadn’t happened. Instead, they used the change as a way to play with the idea that when you have changed and someone else has changed in the years since you dated each other, it can feel like the ex is literally a different person. It’s a clever and respectful way to recast a character who was much loved.

29. The sad, exciting, adventurous, devastating portrayal of middle school in the Netflix series Everything Sucks! Rarely has coming of age been so fairly and painfully drawn.

30. Revisiting ER. One of the fun things that happens in the streaming era is that when a series becomes available in a new place, it can be an excuse to talk about it. That’s what happened when all 15 seasons of ER arrived on Hulu in January. It became an opportunity to look back on an influential show, its blind spots and its stars in the making.

31. The Annihilation plants. Alex Garland’s thriller Annihilation features great performances from actresses including Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. But it also showcases genuinely beautiful visual effects. That’s not only the case in its purely frightening sequences or its curious finale. It’s true throughout, with the creation of unusual plants and strange sights that signal to the traveling women that they are somewhere they’re unprepared to be.

32. Successful reinventions. When The Great British Bake Off, broadcast in the United States as The Great British Baking Show, moved from the BBC to Channel 4, it lost judge Mary Berry and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Without them, it was almost impossible to imagine it continuing. Nevertheless, while it feels disloyal to say so, those charged with carrying on have actually done a marvelous job. Hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig have a very different but also entertaining dynamic, while judge Prue Leith is just a bit more naughty than Berry was, making her able to play off the eternally self-important Paul Hollywood in a slightly different way.

33. The two episodes of the podcast Reply All about policing. In a way no individual true crime podcast could, these episodes, called “The Crime Machine,” shed light on the development of New York’s crime statistics system and how a tool intended to create more just results became a weapon used against people who are already marginalized.

34. James Acaster’s Repertoire. Acaster, a British comic, released a set of four specials on Netflix in March together under the label Repertoire. They’re brilliantly structured, weird, insightful and profoundly funny.

35. Paige on the platform. The series finale of The Americans was wrenching in different ways than longtime viewers of the spy show might have expected. Maybe the biggest reveal in the entire run, though, happens the last time Paige (Holly Taylor) and her mother Elizabeth (Keri Russell) make eye contact. Perfectly timed to the period music that was always so thoughtfully used to score important scenes, it was more dramatic than any of the Jenningses’ capers.

36. In a world full of woe, there’s nothing that’s grown on me like Billy on the Street. It is an extremely your-mileage-may-vary situation, but in short bursts, I am always cheered by Billy Eichner running around the streets of New York surprising people and asking them questions. All that despite the fact that I would never want it to happen to me.

37. The second season of Netflix’s One Day at a Time was just as good as the first — that’s a very high bar. And the season finale, which featured Rita Moreno wrenching the tears from your very eyeballs, was shamelessly manipulative and very moving and very sweet. It was all you could ask from your favorite family show.

38. The capes of Lando. Not everything about Solo was successful, to say the least. But Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian was such a fine invention that it often seemed like it should have been his movie. I’d have watched a film about just his cape choices.

39. The Tara Westover book Educated, a memoir of Westover’s childhood, is sometimes terrifying, sometimes upsetting, and sometimes even inspiring. While it’s a hard read about a family’s isolation, it’s a riveting family story that makes for great conversations with friends.

40. Focaccia lessons. The Samin Nosrat book Salt Fat Acid Heat led to a four-part Netflix series of the same name. And while it seems weird that the Fat episode is first (making the series feel more like … Fat Salt Acid Heat?), it makes sense that they’d want to lead with the frankly sexy scene in which Nosrat learns to make focaccia with high-end olive oil. It will make you want to bake bread, at the very least.

41. Russell Hornsby in The Hate U Give. Hornsby plays the father of young Starr Carter in the adaptation of Angie Thomas’ hugely successful YA novel. And while Amandla Stenberg and Regina Hall and a lot of other folks are terrific in it, none stands out more than Hornsby, whose complicated portrayal of a dad who wants the best for his daughter gives the story much of its sizable heart.

42. Constance Wu in Crazy Rich AsiansWhen you’ve been watching an actress kill it as long as she has on ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat, seeing Wu have a huge year in a huge film can be so inspiring. Wu got to be glamorous and sparkly and funny in Crazy Rich Asians, and she deserves every magazine cover she got.

43. Mrs. Rogers. The documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is the story of Fred Rogers and his work on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. But it also becomes the story of his wife Joanne, who likely knew this complicated man better than anyone, and who provides humanizing insight into the man behind the cardigans.

44. Windows in windows in Searching. Very few stories reliant on technology work very well. Searching, starring John Cho as David, the father of a missing teenager, takes place entirely on screens — mostly on her laptop, as you see the texts and chats and messages and emails and videos he looks through while trying to find her. One of the film’s best qualities is that David isn’t either a tech genius or a dummy who has to learn what an emoji is. He’s somewhere in between, where a lot of parents fear they would be. Cho’s performance and the cleverness of the presentation make the film well worth seeing.

45. Jack-Jack. Hiding inside Incredibles 2 is a sequence in which Jack-Jack, the superhero baby (maybe), gets into a fight in the backyard. Worthy of any classic Saturday morning cartoon, the fight is a fully contained and fully delightful adventure of its own.

46. Mortal danger, by choice. Free Solo is the story of Alex Honnold, who set out to do something he’d dreamed of doing for ages. He wanted to “free solo” climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. “Free solo” means rock-climbing with no ropes, no safety harness, no nothing. Just you, skittering up a flat rock face. And while the climbing sequences are unforgettable (see it on the biggest screen you can; it’s out now), the filmmakers also examine what it is that makes a guy want to do something like this when everyone acknowledges that death is a very real possibility.

47. The other lost teenager. Leave No Trace, directed by Debra Granik, didn’t get as much attention as Eighth Grade did. But it, too, contains a beautiful story of a father and his young teenage daughter. Here, Ben Foster plays a dad who lives in the woods with his daughter, played by Thomasin McKenzie. McKenzie’s quiet portrayal of a girl fiercely loyal to a father she doesn’t entirely understand gives the movie its serene sadness, very much grounded in love.

48. Frederick Wiseman’s Monrovia, Indiana is a documentary that (as is Wiseman’s way) only observes the town of Monrovia and never comments on it with narration or talking heads. This leads to some remarkable sequences, like one in which many of us will see our longest-ever look at a Freemasons’ ceremony.

49. The #Hamildrops. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s series of monthly additions to the Hamilton canon could have seemed like a desperate attempt to keep the brand going as the touring companies travel. But it didn’t. “First Burn,” an earlier draft of Eliza’s angry song aimed at her husband, let listeners glimpse a process that’s often opaque. In some cases, it may even put them in a position to second-guess the composer about what was left in and what was taken out. That’s a vulnerability not everyone wants to display.

50. Dog Twitter. I simply can’t end 2018 without mentioning that, because this was the year I got a dog, it was also the year I discovered Dog Twitter. To all of you who sent me photos of your dogs — in hats, in sweaters, begging, wagging their tails — I thank you. I’m glad we’re all here on Dog Twitter together.

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19 GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS THAT ARE BOOK ADAPTATIONS

The Golden Globe 2019 nominations are out, and they only strengthen my personal belief that books make for good TV and movies. Nineteen (!) of the nominations is major categories have been adapted from books of a variety of genres this year, and we’re here to give you a rundown. (All quoted descriptions are from Goodreads.)

SHARP OBJECTS
sharp objectsBased on the novel the same name by Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects has been nominated for Best Television Seriesand Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Amy Adams). The show is A+ spooky with some excellent performances, including Adams’s portrayal of a complicated and flawed heroine.

 

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. Historythe movie has been nominated for five categories, including Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

 

THE HANDMAID’S TALE
handmaid's tale margaret atwood elisabeth moss novel cover sci-fi horror booksBased on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Taleswept the Emmy’s last year as well, and has been nominated for two categories, with Elizabeth Moss in the running for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama. We are absolutely devastated by the world the show portrays, and yet we can’t look away.

 

BLACK PANTHER
Yes, yes, this was a 2018 release! Based on the superhero Marvel comics, the movie was the second-highest-grossing film of 2018 and became a global phenomenon. It has been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Image result for black panther

 

FIRST MAN
Based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, the Ryan Gosling movie has received two nominations.

 

MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Based on the series of children’s books by P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, the new movie, starring Emily Blunt, has four nominations, and hits theaters in ten days’ times. Watch the trailer here.

 

 

THE ALIENIST
Based on the novel of the same name by Caleb Carr, the psychological thriller-drama starring Dakota Fanning, has two nominations.

 

A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL
Based on John Preston’s book of the same name.
“In 1979, Jeremy Thorpe, the rising star of the Liberal Party, stood trial for conspiracy to murder. It was the first time that a leading British politician had stood trial on a murder charge. It was the first time that a murder plot had been hatched in the House of Commons. And it was the first time that a prominent public figure had been exposed as a philandering homosexual.” The TV series stars Hugh Grant.

 

DUMPLIN’
Based on the YA novel by Julie Murphy, the upcoming musical comedy is highly anticipated. “Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. …until (she) takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.” Watch the trailer here.

 

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Based on James Baldwin’s novel of the same name.
“Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope.”

 

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
avengers infinity warBased on the Marvel superhero, this animated film is highly anticipated and releases in a week’s time. It is set in a multi-verse, where Spider-Man gets to team up with other Spider-Men and Spider-Women. Watch the trailer here!

 

 

OUTLANDER
Based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, the TV show is in its fourth season, and has been bagging awards every year. Featuring a time-travelling romance, it has been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama (Catriona Balfe).

 

KILLING EVE
Based on Codename Villanelle, a series of novellas, this Sandra Oh-starrer has been nominated under Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama. And tune in to the Golden Globes to see Sandra Oh co-host with Brooklyn Nine Nine‘s Andy Samberg!

 

THE WIFE
Based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer, The Wife is a wise, sharp-eyed, compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she’s made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. But it’s also an unusually candid look at the choices all men and women make for themselves, in marriage, work, and life.”

 

CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin KwanBased on the first in the romantic comedy trilogy by Kevin Kwan, this movie was one of the few bright spots of 2018. Starring Constance Wu (who is nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the movie has also been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Spend some (imaginary) money in our quiz here to find out which CRA character you are!

 

BLACKKKLANSMAN
Based on Black Klansman, a memoir by Ron Stallworth, the biographical comedy-drama has been highly acclaimed. Based in 1970s Colorado Springs, the movie follows the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department, who sets out to expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

 

BOY ERASED
Based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name.
“The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life.” The lead actor, Lucas Hedges has been nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

 

BEAUTIFUL BOY
Based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. Timothee Chalamet is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for his performance in the movie.

 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Based on Lee Israel’s 2008 memoir of the same name, the movie is an biographical comedy drama film, starring Melissa McCarthy.

 

A BONUS

Mirai”, a Japanese animated film, has been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Animated, and was novelized by Yen Press in English. The book released this October.

By , December 

10 Popular TV Shows You (Likely) Didn’t Know Were Based on Books

From Left to Right: Robert Taylor in “Longmire” (2012)/Photo by Ursula Coyote; Michael C. Hall in “Dexter” (2006)/Photo by SHOWTIME; Joel Kinnaman in “Altered Carbon” (2018) © Netflix; David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in “Bones” (2005) © Fox; Jonathan Groff in “Mindhunter” Photo by Patrick Harbron/Netflix

Bringing literature of all stripes to the screen is far from a novel endeavor. While movies have typically been the common adaptation vehicle, a fair number of books have made their way to the small screen as well. The book-to-TV formula has proven to be remarkably fruitful in recent years in particular. Projects like “Game of Thrones,” “Outlander,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” have shown just how powerful the medium of television can be – particularly the prestige format – in adapting a book. Given the sheer number of adaptations making their way to the small screen and streaming services alike, it may come as little surprise that quite a few television favorites began life on the page. Here are few of our favorites that you (likely) didn’t know were adaptations.

“The Expanse”

The cover of the book Leviathan WakesLeviathan Wakes
James S. A. Corey
Fans were understandably dismayed when this gem was unexpectedly cancelled by Syfy this year. Fortunately, Amazon stepped in for a Season 4 pickup. Fans of the series looking for more of the conspiracy-laden, sci-fi noir have James S.A. Corey’s bestselling series of novels to fall back on.

 

“Mindhunter”

The cover of the book MindhunterMindhunter
John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker
This slow-burn Netflix drama is based on the memoir of John E. Douglas and his twenty-five year career in the FBI Investigative Support Unit. Douglas, a legendary criminal profiler, dove deep into the minds of some of the country’s most infamous serial killers – Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, and Ed Gein among them. If you’re a fan of the series, Mindhunter is required reading.

 

“The 100”

The cover of the book The 100The 100
Kass Morgan
With this post-apocalyptic thriller heading into its sixth season on the CW, there’s no better time to discover the bestselling YA series it’s based on. While the novels by Kass Morgan also obviously center on a group of 100 teenaged prisoners dispatched to uncover whether or not a nuclear-war-ravaged earth is habitable, the CW adaptation takes its fair share of liberties with the source material, making the novels an intriguing and different experience.

 

“Alias Grace”

The cover of the book Alias Grace (Movie Tie-In Edition)Alias Grace
Margaret Atwood
With Hulu earning widespread acclaim for its adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, a Maddaddam adaptation in the works, and Netflix’s take on Alias Grace, it’s a good time to be a fan of Margaret Atwood – of course, any time is a good time to discover the brilliance of Margaret Atwood. While both “Alias Grace” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” are excellent adaptations, there’s nothing quite like the original novels.

 

“Altered Carbon”

The cover of the book Altered Carbon (Netflix Series Tie-in Edition)Altered Carbon 
Richard K. Morgan
“Altered Carbon” proved itself to be one of Netflix’s more fascinating and thought-provoking original series. It’s a deft and intriguing sci-fi thriller with a gritty noir vibe. That also happens to be a pretty apt description of the eponymous Richard K. Morgan novel that provides inspiration for the series.

 

“Bones”

The cover of the book Speaking in BonesSpeaking in Bones
Kathy Reichs
For many fans, myself included, eleven seasons just wasn’t quite enough for this longtime Fox procedural. Fortunately, you can find more than enough of Temperance Brennan for any “Bones” fan in Kathy Reichs’s bestselling series of novels, including her most recent, Speaking in Bones. The world of the novels is a bit different from the series, but isn’t that part of the fun?

 

“Longmire”

The cover of the book The Western StarThe Western Star
Craig Johnson
“Longmire” proved itself to be an atmospheric and moody cult favorite for its six-season run (three on A&E and three on Netflix). While the series reached its official end with season six on Netflix, bestselling author Craig Johnson keeps churning out more volumes in the Longmire Mystery series. At fourteen novels and counting, there is more than enough of Walt Longmire to keep fans happy and reading.

 

“Fresh off the Boat”

The cover of the book Fresh Off the Boat (TV Tie-in Edition)Fresh Off the Boat 
Eddie Huang
“Fresh off the Boat” has become an anchor for ABC’s comedy lineup, and with a good reason. It’s both a humorous and subversive look at growing up in a family of Taiwanese immigrants pulled between two cultures. That’s largely due to Eddie Huang’s insistence that the adaptation keep with the spirit of his memoir.

 

“Dexter”

The cover of the book Darkly Dreaming DexterDarkly Dreaming Dexter
Jeff Lindsay
While the series finale of “Dexter” proved to be a controversial one, there’s no denying that the tale of Dexter Morgan, a sociopathic serial killer with a moral code, carved out a considerable pop culture niche. Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter Series, which begins with Darkly Dreaming Dexter and serves as the basis for the TV series, features everything fans loved about Dexter Morgan and a deeper exploration of Dexter’s “Dark Passenger.”

 

“The Magicians”

The cover of the book The Magicians (TV Tie-In Edition)The Magicians 
Lev Grossman
“The Magicians” was picked up for a fourth season renewal at Syfy, making this an excellent time to get acquainted with the Lev Grossman series that inspired the adaptation. Grossman’s Magician’s Trilogy is a brilliantly subversive take on both the coming-of-age tale and the wizarding school trope. In fact, the entire trilogy, beginning with The Magicians, is an exercise in upending the conventions of both contemporary and classic fantasy.

8 BOOK AND NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES PAIRINGS

If you’ve been paying any attention, you know that Netflix is creating some of the most marathon-worthy original content these days. But once you’ve watched all available episodes of your favorite Netflix show, you can find yourself in a sad slump. What to do now? It’s too soon to start a new series, but you’re not ready to leave your cozy couch cocoon. Lucky for you, we’re here with eight book recommendations based on your favorite Netflix shows! These book and Netflix original series pairings are sure to help you end those last episode blues.8 Book and Netflix Original Series Pairings graphic

THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA/LABYRINTH LOST

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina poster and Labyrinth Lost coverIf you enjoy the balance of dark magic and teen drama in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, you’ll love Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. Much like Sabrina, teenage bruja Alex has a complicated relationship with her family legacy of magic. When she tries to rid herself of her powers at her Deathday celebration, her spell backfires and her whole family disappears. She must team up with Nova, a brujo she doesn’t trust, to save her family and redeem herself.

 

JESSICA JONES/ZERO SUM GAME

Jessica Jones poster and Zero Sum Game coverIf you’re a fan of badass private eye/superhero Jessica Jones, you’ll definitely appreciate badass mercenary/math genius Cas Russell from S.L. Huang’s Zero Sum Game. The author is a weapons expert and professional stuntwoman with a math degree from MIT. She’s used her expertise to create Cas, a protagonist who can calculate the trajectory of bullets and use her knowledge of physics to jump off of roofs and through windows. When she encounters a secret organization experimenting with mind control, her mastery of numbers gets more complicated. Much like Jessica Jones, Cas faces a lot of ethical questions when her skills, her job, and enemies that can control minds clash.

 

BLACK MIRROR/FRIDAY BLACK

Black Mirror poster and Friday Black coverIf you like the experimental sci-fi feel of Black Mirror, you should check out the captivating short story collection Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. Adjei-Brenyah examines the everyday racism black people face by putting his characters in heightened, surreal situations. In one story, a young actor struggles with his role in an augmented reality that allows players to hunt “terrorists” or “intruders.” In another, a mall store employee must survive an apocalyptic zombie-like Black Friday sale. These and other haunting tales serve as social commentary in a way fans of Black Mirror will love.

 

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT/MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt poster and Mr. & Mrs. American Pie coverFor fans of the absurd and hilarious Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mr. & Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel is the perfect fit. Socialite and former beauty queen Maxine is climbing the social ranks in Palm Spring in 1969. That is, until her husband leaves her for his significantly younger secretary and she has a public meltdown. She decides that winning the Mr. & Mrs. American Pie contest is the only way to save her image. But first, she has to find a makeshift family she can sell to the judges as her own. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, led by an outrageous cast of characters and a plucky protagonist who will always find a way.

 

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE/ELOQUENT RAGE

Dear White People poster and Eloquent Rage coverIf you love the razor-sharp social commentary of Dear White People, read Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper. This essay collection is an astute and captivating examination of modern racism, respectability politics, and Black womanhood. Much like Samantha in Dear White People, Brittney Cooper has chosen to use her anger to fight racism and sexism in a powerful, thought-provoking way.

 

QUEER EYE/GURU

Queer Eye poster and GuRu coverLove the life advice and feel-goodiness of Queer Eye? Then you’re sure to enjoy the charming stories, thoughtful guidance, and beautiful pictures in GuRu, a new book from legendary drag queen RuPaul. Mama Ru is full of memorable one liners and tips for mindfulness. GuRu has a little bit of everything to provide perspective for the mind, body, and spirit. It will leave you feeling joyful and refreshed, much like Queer Eye’s Fab Five.

 

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK/THE MARS ROOM

Orange is the New Black poster and The Mars Room coverFans of Orange is the New Black, a dramedy set in a New York women’s prison, should check out The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, a novel set in a California women’s prison. When single mother and former stripper Romy kills a man who stalked her, she’s sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. Upon her arrival in prison, she meets a variety of inmates with their own stories to tell. It’s a look at the harsh realities of incarceration and a flawed justice system told through many perspectives. The diversity of voices and experiences will appeal to Orange is the New Black viewers.

 

GRACE AND FRANKIE/BINGO LOVE

Grace and Frankie poster and Bingo Love coverIf you’re obsessed with the late-in-life romances and quirky relationships in Grace and Frankie, you’re bound to adore Bingo Love, a comic by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, Joy San, and Cardinal Rae. Hazel and Mari fell in love at first sight at church bingo in 1963, but they were forced apart by their families and society. When they meet again decades later, they decide to give their love a chance. It’s heartwarming and sincere, much like the love and friendships in Grace and Frankie.

By , November 

Did you enjoy Little Fires Everywhere?

Little Fires Everywhere Shelf End Ditto NU

Want more Dittos and book suggestions? You can find our Recommendations page here.

Best Books to Take You Back to the ’80s When You’re Feeling Nostalgic

The 1980’s was a decade built, in many ways, on contradictions. It was a decade defined by excess, unrest, moral outrage, and the rising tide of a new brand of political conservatism. It was “morning in America,” but also the waning days of the Cold War. There was rising wealth right alongside skyrocketing poverty. The soaring rhetoric of the Reagan Administration was sometimes at a sharp contrast to the lives of everyday citizens. This all, of course, left its mark on the literary world. The best books of the 1980’s ranged from disturbingly prescient dystopian horrors to heartrending sagas, escapist yarns, and everything in between. Here are a few of our picks for the best books to take you back to the 1980’s.

The cover of the book The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood
Following the overwhelming success of Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s iconic piece of dystopian fiction has once again proved its timelessness and unfortunate relevance. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches.

 

The cover of the book ItIt
Stephen King
The late 70’s to the mid-80’s were the golden age of Stephen King novels and while I was tempted to put Different Seasons in this spot (I’ll settle for sneaking in a mention), for my money, It will always be Stephen King at his very best. The novel has it all – the epic scope, the nostalgia, the carefully drawn characters, and plenty of scares.

 

The cover of the book The Color PurpleThe Color Purple
Alice Walker
This 1983 Pulitzer Prize winner is an American classic. It is also a heartrending tale of pain, loss, and redemption. It is a difficult and emotionally exhausting read, but this decades-spanning saga is well worth the experience.

 

The cover of the book A Confederacy of DuncesA Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole
A Confederacy of Dunces was published eleven years after the suicide of John Kennedy Toole and earned the author a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. The farcical adventures of Ignatius J. Reilly climbed from cult classic to American classic for a reason.

 

The cover of the book The Joy Luck ClubThe Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan
Amy Tan’s moving exploration of cultural divides and familial bonds is as powerful today as when it was published in 1989 – perhaps more so. The Joy Luck Club is not only a moving examination of the immigrant experience, but also the bond, and inescapable tensions, between mothers and daughters.

 

The cover of the book Blood MeridianBlood Meridian
Cormac McCarthy
Picking any single novel to call Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece is a tall order, and Blood Meridian is most certainly in the conversation. It’s stunning not simply for its brutality, but also for McCarthy’s startlingly simplistic yet evocative prose. Blood Meridian is, in many ways, a pure synthesis of McCarthy’s inimitable style.

 

The cover of the book Geek LoveGeek Love
Katherine Dunn
It’s hard to characterize Geek Love. It’s hard to even tell a reader what they’re in for when they crack it’s pages. Geek Love is, at base, a story of sideshow freaks – ones who have been bred by a married couple for their traveling carnival. But that is just the admittedly off-kilter framework for the story. Geek Love is really an audacious, imaginative, sometimes horrifying examination of the concepts of normalcy, beauty, and family. It’s also heartbreaking tour-de-force.

 

The cover of the book Rabbit Is RichRabbit Is Rich
John Updike
The saga of Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom is arguably John Updike’s masterpiece – a sprawling, humorous, and tragic examination of life in the latter half of the 20th century told with Updike’s stunning prose precision and disarming, at times disturbing insight. Rabbit is Rich, the third in the series, is perhaps the best.

 

The cover of the book Lonesome DoveLonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry
Lonesome Dove is arguably one of the finest western novels ever written. It is a brilliantly realized epic that became a cultural event following its miniseries adaptation in 1989. Set against the backdrop of the American Frontier giving way to progress, it is a fascinating examination of cultural shifts, friendship, and death.

 

The cover of the book BelovedBeloved
Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s Beloved took home a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and remains as startling, powerful, and haunting today as it was on its initial publication. The tale of a former slave unable to escape the ghosts of her past represents Toni Morrison at the height of her considerable skill, and is one of the finest novels in American literature.

 

The cover of the book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective AgencyDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams is best known as the mind behind The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – in all its many, many forms – but there’s a lot to be said for the misadventures of Dirk Gently, he of the Holistic Detective Agency. It’s a subversive, silly, and deliriously witty read lifted by the crisp and absurd prose of Adams.

 

The cover of the book Love in the Time of CholeraLove in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is not only one of the pre-eminent voices of Latin American literature, but one of the most important authors of the twentieth century. With Love in the Time of Cholera, the Nobel Laureate crafted a deeply nuanced portrait of love, death, aging, and the power of memory.

45 GREAT BOOK ADAPTATIONS YOU CAN WATCH ON NETFLIX RIGHT NOW

Netflix and chill with these certified fresh (according to Rotten Tomatoes) book-to-film adaptations.

45 Great Book Adaptations You Can Watch on Netflix Right Now

MOVIES

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY (2018)

Five years after the end of World War II, a young London-based writer travels to the Island of Guernsey to interview residents for a book she plans to write about their experiences during the war. Once there, she learns about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the harrowing trials its members went through during the war.

Based On: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Starring: Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay, Michael Huisman, Glen Powell, Katherine Parkinson, Penelope Wilton


SECRETARIAT (2010)

Penny Chenery Tweedy and her associates guide her long-shot stallion to set the still-unbeaten world record for winning the Triple Crown in 1973.

Based On: Secretariat by William Nack

Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, Margo Martindale, Nelson Ellis


ROOM (2015)

A woman who has been held captive in a tiny garden shed for seven years raises her five-year-old son, Jack, who was born in captivity.

Based On: Room by Emma Donoghue

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Temblay


THE READER (2008)

In 1958 Germany, a teenage boy named Michael Berg has an affair with an older woman named Hanna Schmitz, who then mysteriously disappears. Decades later, Michael, now a lawyer, encounters Hanna in court. She is on trial for war crimes committed when she was a guard at a Nazi concentration camp.

Based On: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, translated by Carol Brown Janeway

Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross


REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008)

April and Frank Wheeler’s troubled marriage crumbles under the social constraints of their mid-1950s suburban existence.

Based On: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Starring: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Kathryn Hahn, David Harbour


INTO THE WILD (2007)

After graduating from Emory University in the early 1990s, ace student and athlete Christopher McCandless gives everything he owns to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

Based On: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis


TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)

Father, widower, and small-town lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1932 Alabama. Meanwhile, his two children, Jem and Scout, become intrigued by their mysterious shut-in neighbor, Boo Radley.

Based On: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Starring: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Ruth White, Paul Fix, Brock Peters, Frank Overton, Robert Duvall


SUITE FRANÇAISE (2014)

During the Nazi occupation of France, romance blossoms between a Lucile Angellier, a French woman, and Bruno von Falk, the German officer billeting in her home.

Based On: Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky, translated by Sandra Smith

Starring: Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Riley, Margot Robbie, Ruth Wilson


THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

British mathematical genius Alan Turing and a team of gifted mathematicians try to crack the German Enigma code to turn the tide of World War II. But when Alan is outed as a gay man, he is faced with imprisonment or chemical castration.

Based On: Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Allen Leech, Rory Kinnear


THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING (2016)

A retired writer named Ben takes a six-week course to become a caregiver, then takes a job caring for Trevor, an eighteen-year-old with muscular dystrophy. Ben takes Trevor on a road trip to see the world’s deepest pit. Along the way, Trevor meets Dot, a kind girl he develops a crush on.

Based On: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

Starring: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez, Alex Huff, Donna Biscoe, Julia Denton, Jennifer Ehle


QUEEN OF KATWE (2016)

Phiona Mutesi, a ten-year-old Ugandan girl growing up in the slums of Katwe, learns to play chess and soon becomes a top player, competing in international competitions.

Based On: The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers

Starring: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o


ATONEMENT (2007)

Thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis irrevocably changes the trajectory of multiple lives when she falsely accuses her sister’s lover of raping a fifteen-year-old girl.

Based On: Atonement by Ian McEwan

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juno Temple


THE DUCHESS (2008)

Trapped in a loveless marriage to a cold, cruel man, Georgiana throws herself into hosting extravagant parties and has a torrid affair with Parliament member Charles Grey.

Based On: Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman

Starring: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper


MUDBOUND (2017)

Two families—one white, one black—battle racism and struggle to adjust to farm life in rural Mississippi after World War II.

Based On: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Garret Hedlund, Mary J. Blige


RUST AND BONE (2012)

An amateur fighter and former whale trainer who lost both her legs in an on-the-job accident form a deep bond and begin to fall in love.

Based On: Rust and Bone by Craig Davidson

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts


OUR SOULS AT NIGHT (2017)

Longtime neighbors Addie Moore and Louis Waters have hardly spoken to each other the whole time they’ve lived side-by-side. But that changes when Addie reaches out and tries to make a connection, sparking a beautiful late-life romance.

Based On: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Starring: Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Matthias Schoenaerts


CAROL (2015)

A shopgirl and older woman whose marriage is falling apart have a forbidden affair that leaves both of them changed forever.

Based On: The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Kyle Chandler


LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE (1992)

When tradition thwarts her plans to marry the man she loves, a young woman discovers that she has hidden culinary talents.

Based On: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Starring: Marco Leonardi, Lumi Cavazos, Regina Torné, Mario Iván Martínez


COLD MOUNTAIN (2003)

During the final days of the Civil War, Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, embarks on a dangerous journey back to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his love, Ada. Meanwhile, Ada struggles to survive after her father dies, leaving her destitute.

Based On: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Charlie Hunnam, Eileen Atkins, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Donald Sutherland


OUT OF SIGHT (1998)

Career bank robber Jack Foley and U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco share a steamy moment of mutual attraction while stowed away in a trunk during Foley’s escape from a Florida prison. After the getaway, Sisco chases Foley and his pals to Detroit where they plan to steal a cache of uncut diamonds.

Based On: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard

Starring: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Ving Rhames


AN EDUCATION (2009)

An uncommonly bright sixteen-year-old girl is seduced by a charming con man and receives an education in life, love, and sex.

Based On: An Education by Lynn Barber

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson


GERALD’S GAME (2017)

Jessie Burlingame faces her demons and fights to survive when her husband dies suddenly during a sex game gone wrong, leaving her securely handcuffed to the bed in their remote lake house.

Based On: Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Carel Struycken


TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011)

A high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse ensues when espionage master George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet mole operating within MI6.

Based On: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds


DEAD POETS SOCIETY (1989)

English teacher John Keating flouts the conventions of the conservative upper-crust Vermont boarding school where he teaches to inspire his students to read poetry with fresh eyes and hearts.

Based On: Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum

Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen


RED DRAGON (2002)

Will Graham, a retired FBI agent with a gift for understanding disturbed minds, tracks down a brutal serial killer known as “The Tooth Fairy” with the help of imprisoned forensic psychiatrist—and world’s greatest human flesh cook—Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Based On: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman


SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993)

Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten German businessman and card-carrying member of the Nazi Party, risks everything to save the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.

Based On: Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Embeth Davidtz


JURASSIC PARK (1993)

Billionaire philanthropist John Hammond and a team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park full of cloned dinosaurs. When a power failure knocks out the park’s security system, a small group of visitors there to preview the exhibits before opening day are faced with a hoard of toothy reptiles and one very pissed-off t-rex.

Based On: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Richards, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson


THE GODFATHER (1972)

The aging Don of a New York crime family transfers power to his reluctant son with disastrous results.

Based On: The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton


THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001)

A hodgepodge fellowship comprised of four hobbits, two humans, a dwarf, an elf, and a wizard embark on an epic quest to destroy the Ring of Power in the fires of Mount Doom in order to stop the Dark Lord Sauron from taking over Middle-earth with his force of evil orcs.

Based On: The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Sala Baker


THE LITTLE PRINCE (2015)

A little girl whose mother has a strict plan for her life that includes no time for leisure befriends her elderly retired aviator neighbor who tells her the story of a little prince he once met from a faraway planet.

Based On: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Paul Giamatti


BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017)

A shallow and self-centered prince is cursed by a witch to transform into a beast for the rest of his life unless he can make a woman love him before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose. Belle, a bookish girl ahead of her time, saves her father from the clutches of the beast by offering to remain a prisoner in his stead.

Based On: The Story of Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Hattie Morahan


PADDINGTON (2014)

A young anthropomorphic bear with an unusual affinity for marmalade migrates from the wild Peruvian jungle to modern-day London. Lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the Brown family, who kindly offer to let him stay with them.

Based On: Paddington by Michael Bond, illustrated by R. W. Alley

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman


TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE (2018)

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song Covey keeps love letters she’s written to all the boys she’s ever loved in a hatbox gifted to her by her late mother. One day, Lara finds her hatbox missing and it quickly becomes apparent that someone has mailed the letters to their not-so-intended recipients.

Based On: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Starring: Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, John Corbett


SPOTLIGHT (2015)

A group of investigative reporters for The Boston Globe uncover a massive decades-long scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

Based On: Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church by The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci


TV SHOWS & MINISERIES

FATHER BROWN (2013- )

A deceptively clever village priest solves crimes that baffle the local police in rural mid-century Britain. (I’m binge-watching this series right now and it’s absolutely fabulous.)

Based On: The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton

Starring: Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, Nancy Carroll, Alex Price


ALIAS GRACE (2017)

Grace Marks is a convicted murderess, having participated in the gruesome slaying of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Fifteen years into serving a life sentence in Kingston Penitentiary, an alienist named Simon Jordan takes an interest in Grace’s case and begins a series of interviews intended to suss out the motivation behind her crime. But Dr. Jordan’s interest soon grows beyond the detached professional persona he tries so desperately to maintain and it becomes clear that the facts of the case may not align with what truly happened.

Based On: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Starring: Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcroft, Kerr Logan, Anna Paquin, Paul Gross


ANNE WITH AN “E” (2017- )

Anne Shirley, an eleven-year-old orphan girl, is adopted by brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert and goes to live with them on picturesque Prince Edward Island. There she meets an eclectic cast of characters, including the rambunctious Gilbert Blythe, busybody neighbor Mrs. Rachel Lynde, and kindred spirit Diana Barry. Facing prejudice because of her parentless status, Anne struggles to be accepted and chases her dreams.

Based On: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Starring: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R. H. Thomson, Dalila Bela, Lucas Jade Zumann


MINDHUNTER (2017- )

In 1977, two FBI agents and a psychologist pioneer the science of criminal psychology and found the agency’s Behavioral Science Unit.

Based On: Mindhunter by John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker

Starring: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv


A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (2017- )

Three orphaned siblings use their considerable talents to outsmart the evil Count Olaf, who wants to steal the fortune their parents left behind.

Based On: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Presley Smith, K. Todd Freeman


ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (2013- )

Middle-class WASP Piper Kerman is sentenced to eighteen months in Litchfield Penitentiary after being convicted of smuggling drugs for her ex-girlfriend, Alex Vause. There she copes with the daily hardships and injustices of prison life and meets an eclectic cast of fellow inmates. Things take an interesting turn when Alex is also sent to Litchfield.

Based On: Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Starring: Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Selenis Leyva, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone, Taryn Manning, Adrienne C. Moore, Jackie Cruz, Laura Prepon, Natasha Lyonne, Jessica Pimentel, Laverne Cox


LONGMIRE (2012-2017)

Sheriff Walt Longmire, Deputy Vic Moretti, and the rest of the team at the Absaroka County Sheriff’s Department fight crime and solve mysteries across the wild Wyoming landscape.

Based On: The Longmire Mystery Series by Craig Johnson

Starring: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Cassidy Freeman, Adam Barley, Louanne Stephens, Bailey Chase, A Martinez, Zahn McClarnon


BATES MOTEL (2013-2017)

Norma Bates and her teenage son, Norman, buy a motel after Norman’s father dies. Shortly thereafter, the former owner of the motel breaks in and sexually assaults Norma. Norman knocks him unconscious and Norma stabs him to death. From this point, the series traces Norman’s complicated relationship with his mother and the unraveling of his fragile psyche.

Based On: Psycho by Robert Bloch

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nestor Carbonell


CALL THE MIDWIFE (2012- )

A group of midwives serves the poor and outcast in the poverty-stricken Poplar district of London’s East End in the 1950s.

Based On: The Complete Call the Midwife Stories by Jennifer Worth

Starring: Jenny Agutter, Laura Main, Venessa Redgrave, Stephen McGann, Judy Parfitt, Helen George, Cliff Parisi


NORTH & SOUTH (2004)

A young middle-class southerner named Margaret Hale comes face-to-face with the brutality of poverty and the industrial revolution when her family moves to the Northern cotton mill town of Milton in the mid-18th century. There she meets John Thornton, a brusque mill owner whose manners and seeming indifference to his worker’s suffering offends her finer sensibilities.

Based On: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Starring: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Brendan Coyle

By , September