The best TV shows adapted from books on NOW TV

A rundown of some of the best TV shows based on books, including the latest Stephen King adaptation The Outsider

The Outsider

Move along movie adaptations, television is now the place to go to see the latest acclaimed novels appear on-screen, free from restrictions on runtime.


After a resurgence of popular Stephen King adaptations, The Outsider is the next novel to make the jump to the small screen as a slick miniseries stuffed with Hollywood stars and film-worthy production values.

Here’s a look at some other great TV shows adapted from books in recent years, streaming on NOW TV.

The Outsider (Streaming soon)

Based on the 2018 Stephen King novel, The Outsider sees the murder investigation of a young boy evolve into something much more mysterious and unexplainable. Starring Captain Marvel’s Ben Mendelsohn and Broadway star Cynthia Erivo, expect King’s usual mix of horror and the supernatural with HBO production value.

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Game of Thrones (S1-8 Streaming 24 Jan)

You’ve probably heard of this one. Over the past several seasons, nine noble houses have scrambled to win the Iron Throne and rule Westeros, with plenty of blood-curdling battles and scheming along the away. But as winter looms closer and an ancient enemy returns, are there bigger things at stake?

Based on George R. R. Martin’s best-selling book, Game of Thrones has become a global phenomenon. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Get lost in the world of Westeros before the upcoming Targaryen-based spin-off, House of the Dragon.

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The Handmaid’s Tale (S1-2 Streaming now)

The show that beat Stranger Things to the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy, The Handmaid’s Tale is a haunting study of the erosion of female rights in the fictional state of Gilead, with worrying connotations for our own society. The show is based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Attwood, who also released belated best-selling sequel The Testaments last year. Catch up before the fourth season premieres in 2020.

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Patrick Melrose (Stream every episode)

Playing the title character, Benedict Cumberbatch battles addictions to drink and drugs stemming from a traumatic childhood in this acclaimed TV show. The limited series also boasts Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Hugo Weaving and Jessica Raine in the supporting cast, and is based on the semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn.

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A Discovery of Witches (S1 Streaming now)

Witch Teresa Palmer and vampire Matthew Goode overcome a long-held mistrust between the two species to solve the mysteries of a bewitched manuscript. With romance, magic and superhuman intrigue, A Discovery of Witches also stars Sherlock’s Louise Brealey, Doctor Who’s Alex Kingston and Game of Thrones’ Owen Teale. The series is an adaptation of the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy, written by American scholar Deborah Harkness.

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My Brilliant Friend (S1 Streaming now)

This exquisite-looking Italian-American series sees an elderly woman recount a complicated friendship she had in school in 1950s Naples. My Brilliant Friend is based on the first novel of the Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, which has also been developed into a National Theatre play. A second season based on the following book The Story of a New Name is in the works.

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Olive Kitteridge (S1 Streaming now)

Starring Frances McDormand and Bill Murray, this series chronicles a harsh schoolteacher’s relationships with her husband and son over 25 years, all while observing the affairs, crime and tragedy taking place in her New England town. The show won an Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series and is based on the Pultizer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, who recently published sequel Olive, Again.

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Dexter (S1-8 Streaming now)

The show that made a serial killer loveable, Dexter follows a police forensic analyst living a double life as a murderer. The show famously depicted several gruesome homicides over its eight-season run, but few know that it was actually adapted from a book. Darkly Dreaming Dexter was the basis for the first season, and indeed the format of the show. There are now eight novels in the Dexter book series, which largely took a different direction to the tv series.

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Big Little Lies (S1 Streaming now)

Chock full of stars and unanimously praised, the first season of Big Little Lies was based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty and was a breakout hit. The show starred – wait for it – Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård,  Zoë Kravitz, and Adam Scott. Phew. It follows five wealthy women who become embroiled in a murder investigation, and Meryl Streep was such a big fan that she joined the cast for the second season.


Stream on NOW TV.