5 SF&F Novel Series That Should Come to TV Next

By: 11.28.11  •  31 Comments
“The Walking Dead” is one of the most popular scripted shows on the air. “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood” are HBO’s next big franchise successes, pulling in viewers, Emmys, and DVD sales. It’s never been a better time to be a nerd and to enjoy TV. But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement. Here are five novel series we’d like to see hit the small screen.

#5) Bill The Galactic Hero

“Starship Troopers” is a beloved SF novel. It was also written by Robert Heinlein, who flew a desk in World War II and never got near a fight. Harry Harrison, on the other hand, was a gunnery instructor and gunsight mechanic, actually saw war up close, and he thought “Starship Troopers” was a bunch of self-righteous garbage.

So he wrote a parody about a clueless farm boy suckered into a space army and faced with bureaucracy, incompetent higher-ups, and general stupidity. And it kind of took on a life of its own, especially since it’s an extremely popular book in the Armed Forces, and Harrison crammed it to the brim with political gags.

In other words, it’s ideal for a half-hour, blackly cynical sitcom like the BBC used to do before they realized there was more money selling Doctor Who toys to Americans. In fact, we think this would work pretty well for the BBC; they can comment on world events through a more subtle lens, and not have to hear Fox News whine about it as much.

#4) Bio of A Space Tyrant

Piers Anthony, as a writer, has all the subtlety of a brick through a window; witness the name of the character in this series, Hope Hubris.

Yes, really.

Anyway, it’s ridiculous space opera as only the ’80s could produce: all the countries have grabbed one planet or another as a direct analogy, and despite the fact that we’ve gotten off this rock, all the political situations and tensions remain; Israel and Palestine are still fighting each other, for example.

Here’s the thing: yes, it’s broad, unsubtle, and silly. But that’s what SF does best. Nothing Anthony wrote would be remotely out of place on, say, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Networks love sprawling, soapy drama, and this really is as good as it gets in the form.

Although they’d probably have to edit out most of the sex, considering so little of it is plot-relevant and a lot of it is actually fairly skeevy. But, hey, it’s Piers Anthony: skeevy sex is part of the package.

#3) The Codex Alera

Jim Butcher is, of course, famous for the Harry Dresden novels, and if he happens to be speaking anywhere, do what you need to see him, because it’s literally like meeting Harry Dresden. Anyway, “The Dresden Files” already got a shot at the air, the result of a thankfully aborted attempt to make a big-budget Hollywood movie starring…Nicolas Cage.

No, really.

But the Codex Alera, which came about because Butcher wanted to prove a good story trumps a terrible idea, not only mixes Pokemon and the Roman Lost Legion, it actually works.

It’s also pretty much every SF and fantasy trope put in a blender and with the frappe button held down; there are zombie saber-toothed tigers, Zergs, freaky ninja elves, and one kid at the center of it all who happens to have absolutely no magic abilities but does happen to have, unlike almost everybody else, a working brain.

It also has a lot of what makes high fantasy compelling: political intrigue, civil wars, and backstabbing out the wazoo. Butcher spends a lot of time on the world but unlike most fantasy authors, he’s smart enough to realize that we don’t really care about the intricate details of his D&D campaign and gets right to the story.

Also, any novel series that features zombie saber-toothed tigers should automatically be made into a TV show. That should be a law.

Around The Web

Featured

DJ Jazzy Jeff Talks World Tour With Will Smith, Culture of DJing, And Academy Awards Boycotts

Follow These Eight Travelers On Snapchat And They’ll Show You The World

Nikki Glaser On Her New Series ‘Not Safe With Nikki Glaser’ And Being A ‘Curious Perv’

From Showman To Shaman: How An Assassination Attempt Changed Bob Marley’s Life And Music

From Zero To Guitar Hero, Meet The Small-Town Musician Who’s Well On His Way

Hannibal Buress On ‘Comedy Camisado,’ Animation, And Doing Stand-Up In Japan

Phil Matarese And Mike Luciano Talk ‘Animals.’ And Creating Television In Their Apartment

‘Black Sheep’ Revisited: The Farley-Spade Classic That Could’ve Been, 20 Years Later

EAT THIS CITY: Chef Callie Speer Shares Her ‘Can’t Miss’ Food Experiences In Austin, Texas

Kimbo Slice Is Down To Fight Kurt Angle And Roy Jones, Jr. As Soon As He Settles His Business At Bellator 149

By:  •  3 Comments

A Top Recruit Michigan Landed On Signing Day Isn’t Who You Think He Is At All

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. On How His Personal Ancestry Obsessions Led To ‘Finding Your Roots’