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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, experts at Aura Print have analysed Goodreads and IMDB ratings to work out the best and worst book to TV screen adaptations.
Each year, we see some of our favourite books adapted to screen, including fan favourites such as Game of Thrones to Outlander. This year alone, several new small screen adaptations of books ae being released for our viewing pleasure.
To rank the BEST and WORST book to TV screen adaptations of the past 10 years, the experts at Aura Print analysed over 66 million Goodreads book ratings and over 7 million IMDb series ratings.
Book To TV Screen Adaptations
The best TV show adapted from a book in the past 10 years is The Queen’s Gambit. With an IMDb rating of 8.6 based on a whopping 487,000 reviews, it ranks as the best show on our list, with a final score of 9.62 out of 10.
The worst TV show adapted from a book in the past 10 years is I Love Dick. With an IMDb rating of 6.3 based on only 4,700 reviews, it ranks as the worst on our list, with a final score of 0.44 out of 10.
The Tv Shows That Saw The Biggest Rise In Quality From The Books They Are Based On (Of The Past 10 Years)
|Rank||TV show||Book it is based on||Goodreads book / book series rating (/10)||IMDb show rating (/10)||Quality points earned|
|1||The Leftovers||The Leftovers||6.8||8.3||1.5|
|=2||Killing Eve||Codename Villanelle (series)||7.1||8.1||1.0|
|=2||The Haunting of Hill House||The Haunting of Hill House||7.6||8.6||1.0|
|4||Normal People||Normal People||7.6||8.4||0.8|
|=5||Masters of Sex||Masters of Sex||7.2||7.9||0.7|
|=5||Orange is the New Black||Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison||7.4||8.1||0.7|
|=5||The Man in the High Castle||The Man in the High Castle||7.2||7.9||0.7|
The TV show that proved to be the biggest improvement upon its original source material is 2014’s The Leftovers, based on Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel of the same name.
This American supernatural drama television series aired on HBO from June 29, 2014, to June 4, 2017. The series begins three years after the “Sudden Departure”, a global event in which 2% of the world’s population disappeared without a trace. The lives of police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and his family, along with grieving widow Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) and her brother, Reverend Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston), are the focal points of the series as they struggle to adjust to life after the Departure.
Whilst Perrotta’s dystopian novel holds a Goodreads rating of 6.8 out of 10, the series boasts an 8.3 rating on IMDb – this translates to a quality increase of 1.5 marks, or just over 22%.
In second place is a tie between two shows from 2018.
Killing Eve is a British spy thriller television series created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It is based on the Codename Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings. The series follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a bored, whip-smart British intelligence investigator tasked with capturing Villanelle (Jodie Comer), a psychopathic assassin. As the chase progresses, the two women develop a mutual obsession.
Killing Eve has been praised for its complex characters, dark humor, and stylish visuals. The series has won numerous awards, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Oh) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Comer).
Luke Jennings’ Codename Villanelle book series holds an average Goodreads rating of 7.1 out of 10 out of 10, while Killing Eve has an IMDb rating of 8.1 out of 10.
The Haunting Of Hill House
A similar jump in quality can be found in 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House, adapted from Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name.
The Haunting of Hill House is an American supernatural horror drama television series which follows the Crain family, who move into Hill House, a haunted mansion, in 1992. The series explores the family’s history and the dark secrets of Hill House.
The Haunting of Hill House has been praised for its atmospheric visuals, its complex characters, and its exploration of grief and trauma. The series has won numerous awards, including three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Television Movie, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series, and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour).
The show has an impressive IMDb rating of 8.6 out of 10, as opposed to the book’s Goodreads rating of 7.6
The Tv Shows That Saw The Biggest Drop In Quality From The Books They Are Based On (Of The Past 10 Years)
|Rank||TV show||Book it is based on||Goodreads book / book series rating (/10)||IMDb show rating (/10)||Quality points dropped|
|1||The Witcher: Blood Origin||The Witcher (series)||8.3||4.7||3.6|
|2||The Stand||The Stand||8.7||5.6||3.1|
|3||The Mist||The Mist||7.9||5.4||2.5|
|=4||Shadowhunters||The Mortal Instruments (series)||8.3||6.5||1.8|
|=4||The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power||Middle-Earth & the Lord of the Rings (series)||8.7||6.9||1.8|
The Witcher: Blood Origin
The TV show that saw the biggest drop in quality from the book is The Witcher: Blood Origin. The original Witcher show from 2019, based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s famous fantasy book series, was a big hit and boasts a rating of 8.1 out of 10 on IMDb. The same can’t be said for spin-off miniseries Blood Origin, however, which currently holds a rating of only 4.7. When compared to the books’ average Goodreads rating of 8.3 out of 10, this translates to a quality drop of 3.6 marks.
Taking second place is The Stand. Based on Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic novel from 1978, the miniseries was appropriately released at the height of the pandemic in 2020. The original book is a beloved epic that boasts a rating of 8.7 out of 10 on Goodreads. The show struggled to adapt such a dense story onto the small screen, and holds an IMDb rating of just 5.6 out of 10 – a drop in quality of 3.1 marks.
Unfortunately for Stephen King fans, the third spot on the table is taken up by another one of his works, The Mist. The original 1980 novella, about a town trapped within a monstrous fog, has a rating of 7.9 out of 10 on Goodreads and is well-remembered for its unsettling horror. The TV adaptation from 2017, however, has already been largely forgotten. It has a rating of 5.4 out of 10 on IMDb – a drop in quality of 2.5 marks.
The final spot on the table is shared by two shows. 2016’s supernatural drama Shadowhunters holds a rating of 6.5 out of 10 on IMDb. The book series it is based on, Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments, fares much better – with an average mark of 8.3 out of 10 on Goodreads.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the much-anticipated small screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy stories, holds an IMDb rating of 6.9. Compared to the books’ average rating of 8.7, this is quite a disappointing result. Both of these shows see a drop in quality of 1.8 marks when compared with the books.
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