Best Miniseries Based On Books You Should Watch Next

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You all know the saying: “the book was better”. Well, in this case, the book was good enough to make it into a TV miniseries. Adapting a book into a miniseries has become a very popular format over the years. The miniseries format has grown in popularity, the demand for a compelling plot has increased, which is why most popular miniseries develop best-selling books.

One of the benefits of using a TV miniseries format to adapt a book is that it gives a longer format to bring the book’s content to life. Most of the time, the miniseries remains a solo season, but in the case of big little lies, the series was so successful that it was renewed for a second season. While there are plenty of great miniseries out there right now, some of the best are the ones that are based on books. Dramatic choices like The Queen’s Bet and station eleven to criminals Sharp objects, miniseries adapted from books have certainly made their mark. Here are some of the most compelling book-based miniseries to watch right now.

Related: 8 Movies That Would Have Made Better Miniseries

11 Sharp objects


Sharp objects

Sharp objects, based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, which aired on HBO in 2018. The crime/mystery style miniseries features a star-studded cast and a murder case. Camille Parker (Amy Adams) is a journalist who returns to her hometown to solve the murder of two young girls. Separated from her family, Camille is forced to return to her family home. While investigating the murders, Camille must also struggle with her depression, her 13-year-old half-sister Amma, and her neurotic, hypochondriac mother. The cast includes Patricia Clarkson, Matt Craven and Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney.


ten looking for alaska


Looking for Alaska on Hulu #1

Released on Hulu in 2019, looking for alaska comes from John Green’s novel. The miniseries is a drama that revolves around the mysterious death of Alaska Young (played by Kristine Froseth). Miles “Pudge” Halter (Charlie Plummer) and his boarding school friends reunite to understand Alaska and why she didn’t enforce breaks to avoid hitting a parked police cruiser. The series uses flashbacks to show the before and after of Alaska’s death.

9 stay close


Stay close to the picture

stay close is one of the few miniseries adapted from novels written by Harlan Coben. Netflix produced and released this miniseries in December 2021. All of Coben’s novels are mystery-themed and revolve around some kind of murder. In stay close, a possible serial murder brings together a mother of two (a former exotic dancer from the club where the murders took place), a detective and a photojournalist. The series keeps you on the edge of your seat while trying to figure out how all of these characters come together.


8 big little lies


Big Little Lies moms stand in a circle.
HBO

big little lies is a great example of how a miniseries can span a book. Typically, a book is turned into a solo season or miniseries, but in this case the writers were able to use existing characters and the plot from Liane Moriarty’s book to give viewers a second season. The first season aired on HBO in 2017 and the second in 2019. The first season centers on a group of moms and the death of a man. The star-studded cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, Adam Scott and Alexander Skarsgård.

7 the stranger


Stephen King confirms The Outsider season 2 is happening on HBO

Based on Stephen King’s novel, the stranger investigates the murder of a young boy. A beloved local coach, played by Jason Bateman, is convicted, but upon further investigation it seems impossible that he could have committed the murder while attending a conference in another state. The investigation turns paranormal and forces an unlikely team to regroup. the stranger airing on HBO Max in 2020.


6 The Haunting of Hill House


The Haunting of Hill House

In 2018, The Haunting of Hill House has become one of Netflix’s most-watched miniseries. With its chilling imagery and family relationships, this miniseries is actually based on a novel written by Shirley Jackson. The miniseries covers both the past and present events of a separated family, a haunted house, and the lady with the bent neck. Be sure to keep an eye out for hidden ghosts that like to be lurking around corners.

Related: Best Book-to-Film Adaptations, Ranked

5 The Queen’s Bet


Anya Taylor Joy as Beth in Queen's Gambit
netflix

Another huge Netflix miniseries was the 2020 remake of Walter Tevis’ novel, The Queen’s Bet. The miniseries won 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. The series also made a name for lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy who played lead character Beth Harmon. Beth is a quiet, shy girl who falls in love with the game of chess and finds her inner confidence with the game.


4 station eleven

One of the newest miniseries on this list is HBO Max’s new miniseries, Station Eleven, based on Emily St. John Mendel’s novel. This new drama miniseries is a slow burn that spans a post-apocalyptic era and a world trying to rebuild itself after a flu outbreak.

3 22.11.63


    Photo

With so many books author Stephen King has written, it’s no surprise that another adaptation made it onto this list. In 2016, Hulu remade its novel 22.11.63 which is loosely based on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A teacher, played by James Franco, discovers a portal that takes him back to October 21, 1960. Restaurant owner Al Templeton, played by Chris Cooper, tells him he must finish his work and prevent the assassination of JFK.

2 Small fires everywhere


Small fires everywhere

Small fires everywhere comes from the brilliant mind of Celeste Ng and is animated by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. This 2019 Hulu release was highly anticipated after the book was nominated for Reese’s book club. The miniseries shows the life of a wealthy family in an Ohio suburb and artistic newcomers.


1 The defeat


the-undoing_-hugh-grant-nicole-kidman.jpg

Accustomed to mini-series, Nicole Kidman was named in the 2020 remake of the detective novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, You should have known. Kidman, Grace Fraser on the show, plays Dr. Fraser’s wife, Hugh Grant, who is framed for the murder of a young woman with whom he may or may not have had an affair. This classic crime novel lets you guess whether Dr. Fraser committed the crime or not.


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