From Novel to Film to TV: His Dark Materials and Other Stories That Should be Adapted

Posted by David Winnick

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Everybody loves a good adaptation. It can be tough when there are so many movies and television shows being made out of fan favorite books, sometimes decisions are made that may not necessarily best serve the story. This was certainly the case with Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy. That isn’t to say the 2007 film was no good, it just wasn’t quit the right adaptation fit for the story. To celebrate the release of the new HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials, we wanted to take a look at some stories which might have been better adapted as long form television series.



Obviously there is currently an HBO Watchmen series, and that is all fine and dandy, but the series itself takes place after the original comic book, picking up the story a few decades down the road. This is about the 2009 effort to adapt the comic to film by Zack Snyder. While a valiant attempt, the movie falls far short of its source material simply due to the density of the comic. It would be amazing to see if HBO could do a stronger adaptation of the original story a few years from now, making it a form of spin-off/prequel of the new show.


Harry Potter series

Yet another case of too much material, not enough time, the Harry Potter movies are good, and the first two are really tight adaptations of the original novels, but by the third, a whole bunch of stuff from Rowling’s books ends up on the cutting room floor. There are so many subplots and characters never seen in the films that there is literally enough material to make another 100 hours of television.


The Hobbit

As good as the Lord of the Rings was, that is exactly how…not great the Hobbit movies were. The inverse of the other items on this list, what should have been one film was stretched out to be an almost unwatchable nearly nine hours. With unending fight scenes containing almost Rube Goldberg levels of Dadaist comedy, The Hobbit movies needs to be trimmed. To do it justice, what it really needs is the Good Omens treatment, a five to six episode mini-series and done.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The insanity of Douglas Adam’s book series cannot be captured in less than two hours. There are so many funny bits and humorous ideas that are placed into the novel series that get lost in the movie. This is basically a sitcom in novel format, and thirty-minute increments would be just the thing this story would need in order to maintain its humor at a high level.


The Three Musketeers

One of the most adapted novels of all time, The Three Musketeers need just one more round on screen. Movie after movie after movie has been made out of Alexandre Dumas' work, but it doesn’t seem that they have had the time, nor the space to capture the sprawling detail of the characters of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan. The complexity of the characters created by Dumas does not exactly present the swashbuckling heroes they are often made out to be. A television series would give time for each of their character traits to roll out over time and present the Musketeers in their entirety.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

It's hard to beat a Tim Burton film—the man’s sense of the odd and bizarre have taken his movies to the height of notoriety. Still, his adaptation of one of Quirk’s own novel properties just scratched the surface of the book series. If only a streaming service like Netflix could secure Eva Green to reprise her role as the titular character, the series would be ready for expansion into conceivably one of the most beloved television shows of all time.