We often talk on this blog about TV shows adapted from books and what they can teach us about writing. And I couldn’t resist talking about the latest book-turned-sure-to-be-huge show.
This month, Starz debuted its answer to the Game of Thrones juggernaut over on HBO: Outlander. Based on the eight-book series by Diana Gabaldon, this show is supposed to be just as sprawlingly dramatic and addictive.
It’s a historical romance wrapped in time-travel in which Claire, a former WWII nurse, goes on a second honeymoon to Scotland in an effort to rebuild a marriage torn apart by war. But right in the middle of all that, she’s transported back in time from 1946 to 1743. There, she not only meets one of her husband’s direct descendants (and he happens to look a lot like him only with long hair and a telltale red coat), but she also ends up falling in with his descendant’s mortal enemies: rebel Scots. One of these Scots is Jamie Fraser, a man with whom she has an undeniable connection.
Cue a love triangle of epic proportions.
Interestingly (but not surprisingly), the original book, Outlander, debuted on Apple’s iBooks bestseller list this week, despite the fact that it was published first in 1991. A similar bump happened for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice when Game of Thrones debuted on HBO a few years ago.
Honestly, I totally forced my husband to sign us up for Starz just so I could watch the show. I do own the first book—thanks to the suggestion of a few of my critique partners—but haven’t finished it. Still, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Now, a few episodes in, I can’t imagine I won’t both watch the show and read the books. Good for me, great for Gabaldon, great for Starz.
What do you think of this trend of taking book series with huge followings and turning them into expensive, beautiful TV shows? Good for the books? Bad for the books? Middle of the road?