Classic Literary Characters’ Fall TV Picks

Posted by Lauren Thoman

It's that time of year again, when the air is thick with the smell of pumpkin spice, each step on the sidewalk is punctuated by the crunch of dry leaves underfoot, and DVRs are getting cleaned off and reprogrammed to make room for all the new and returning fall shows. Whether you happen to be a TV fanatic, a more casual viewer, or a protagonist in a classic work of literature, there's something for everyone this upcoming TV season.

[record scratch] Wait… what? A protagonist in a classic work of literature?

That's right, just because DVRs and Hulu weren't things back when these books were written doesn't mean their characters should be denied the joys of falling head over heels for a TV show, and maybe even the uniquely amazing/terrible experience of foregoing basic hygiene for a day or two in order to binge-watch a season in one sitting.

Below, a few classic literary characters weigh in on which shows they're most looking forward to this fall, and why.


Character: Jane Eyre

Book: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Is looking forward to: Jane the Virgin, The CW

Why: “I must admit, it took a while before I decided to give this show a shot. I was nervous, because of the title, that the show would make fun of Jane for staying true to her principles. But when I finally started watching, I was so pleasantly surprised by how respectful the show is of Jane's faith and convictions. Plus, if I'm being totally honest, I was completely enthralled by the romance. I know what it's like to have to pick between two suitors, and I love that Jane's choice was as complicated as my own. That Jane and I share a name is an added bonus!”


Character: Dr. Victor Frankenstein

Book: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Is looking forward to: iZombie, The CW

Why: “In the beginning, it was all about the zombies. I was intrigued by the notion of reanimated corpses that are neither grotesque nor inherently violent, as that is a result I am hoping to mimic in my own work. However, I quickly became enamored with the show's humor and endearing characters. I am particularly fond of Ravi, a scientist after my own heart in his relentless pursuit of understanding the science behind life after death.”


Character: Offred/the Narrator

Book:  The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Is looking forward to: Grey's Anatomy, ABC

Why: “I mean, it's obvious, isn't it? Look at all the women! Powerful women, smart women, kind women, rough women. Women of all shapes and colors and temperaments, all being respected and celebrated together. I love that they have all chosen their own path, that they are allowed to want children and to not want children, to be religious or to forgo religion, to be who they are without apology or justification. [Pause] And, all right, I do love the romance and the relationships. That MerDer really can get the heart racing. They remind me of me and Luke, back when… well… [Pause] Anyway, yes. Strong women. I would very much like to live in a world like that.”


Character: John

Book:  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Is looking forward to: Still Star-Crossed, ABC

Why: “It's Shakespeare, but it's not Shakespeare, which is kind of perfect since I've read all of Shakespeare already and it's not like he's going to write anything new. I'm excited to see a new take on a story I know so well, plus I can't even tell you how refreshing it will be to immerse myself in a story where people form true connections and feel real emotion. I just hope it's not too scandalous.”


Character: Elizabeth Bennet

Book:  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Is looking forward to: New Girl, FOX

Why: “I just love Jess. I love how independent she is, I love how she supports herself and holds her own in an apartment full of men, I love how she is allowed to be herself and how different she is from her best friend and how they love each other anyway. I love how smart and funny and opinionated she is, and how those parts of her fuel her romantic plot as opposed to hindering it. (Well… at least most of the time. This is television, after all.)”


Character: The Time Traveler

Book:  The Time Machine by HG Wells

Is looking forward to: Timeless, NBC

Why: “It just looks so optimistic, doesn't it? Like they can really improve things with their time machine.” [QB: We're surprised you'd pick Timeless, and not Time After Time, which uses your own time machine.] “Oh, gracious, no. They'll get it all wrong. Why, just the trailer gave me such a headache with all its inaccuracies that I had to lie down.”


Character: Jo March

Book: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Is looking forward to: Supergirl, CW

Why: “What isn't to love about a show where sisters have adventures and save the world? I mean, that much alone is enough to make this must-watch TV for me, but the fact that Kara is also pursuing a career in journalism (one that I do hope will take off soon) and is permitted to have close male friends who do not automatically assume it will become romantic is icing on the cake.”


Character: Atticus Finch

Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Is looking forward to: Pitch, FOX

Why: “Since I work in the legal profession, I have no wish to spend my precious hours of free time revisiting the same issues I grapple with all day. This sometimes makes finding something to watch difficult, with all the lawyer shows and police procedurals currently airing. However, I am optimistic about this new show about the first woman to play Major League Baseball. A sports show will be a nice change of pace for me, and I hope that seeing a woman – and a Black woman, at that – entering a profession traditionally thought of as exclusively for men will be an inspiration for my daughter, and others like her.”


Character: Meg Murry

Book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Is looking forward to: Bones, FOX

Why: “So. Much. Science. I mean, is there really much more to say? Brennan is such an amazing character, and I so relate to how awkward she is around other people, and that she is surrounded by friends and a partner who love her because of – and not in spite of – how smart and awkward and methodical she is.”


Character: Holden Caulfield

Book: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Is looking forward to: Elementary, CBS

Why: “I mean, there's just no getting anything past Sherlock, is there? He's pretty much the ultimate non-phony, and I really like that.” 

Lauren Thoman

Lauren Thoman

Lauren is a writer of YA speculative fiction and a dedicated eater of queso. She lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband, two daughters, and a half-blind dog. When she’s not busy with her family, binge-watching TV shows, or writing books about dragons or superheroes, she can probably be found on Twitter, or in close proximity to coffee, tacos, or a bookstore.