When Netflix released “A Series of Unfortunate Events” earlier this year, it truly made me appreciate the way television can flesh out the details of a book.
I mean, sure, the Harry Potter movies are one of my favorite things in this universe, but how cool would it be if there were seven seasons to bring Hogwarts and wizardry to life instead of eight movies? It’s just so hard to do a book justice when there are only two hours to tell its story.
The “A Series of Unfortunate Events” Netflix series also made me think about different books I read growing up that would make really cool TV show ideas.
Don’t worry, I have already written a lengthy letter to Netflix making my case.
1.The Magic Treehouse books
I don’t know anybody who hasn’t read at least one Magic Treehouse book. These crazy tales of the adventures of the brother-sister duo, Jack and Annie, and their magic treehouse are still the epitome of my wanderlust. I mean, who doesn’t want to have a magic tree house that can time travel? It would be so cool to see their adventures come to life as a TV show.
2. Junie B. Jones
Junie B. Jones (the B stands for Beatrice, but she doesn’t like that name) was the first book series I fell in love with as a kid. Junie always had the quirkiest adventures, and she was just an average girl with a knack for getting into mischief. It’d bring my childhood to life again to see her and her wacky wardrobe in a TV series.
3. Percy Jackson series
Alright, I know this series was made into a couple movies, but all true Percy Jackson fans pretty much block those out of our minds. This is a classic example of why a book series cannot always be forced into the limitations of a movie. There is so much adventure and character in these books, and it could be captured much better in a series.
4. The Boxcar Children
Nothing screams classic like “The Boxcar Children.” What’s not to love? Four siblings, their dog, a cool wealthy grandpa, a box car and mysteries to solve. I was always jealous of the boxcar children and their adventures solving mysteries. It was basically Scooby Doo but with four young orphans instead of four groovy teens.
5. Artemis Fowl
These books are on another level. Not only was the story told from the cool perspective of an 11-year-old millionaire and criminal mastermind, but the sci-fi fantasy genre really took it over the edge. There aren’t many shows about the “villains,” so this show would be so cool to watch.
6. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
OK, so the first book of this series was already made into a movie, and last I checked it was even on Netflix. This movie is so funny, and unlike Percy Jackson, it stays pretty true to the book. But, unfortunately, there’s only a movie for the first book of the series. It is such a fun and unique, coming-of-age tale that it would make a hilarious TV series.
7. Captain Underpants
Captain Underpants was pretty much my OG comic book series. I know for a fact I cried laughing at it, and it would make such a funny cartoon TV series. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to try the secret underpants code around my teachers, just in case they were actually captain underpants.
One of my favorite series in middle school was the Gallagher Girls. It is about a group of girls that go to a super cool and elite spy school. I lived vicariously through those books and always dreamed about how cool it would be to be a secret agent. There was the typical drama of teenage girls intermixed which would make a really good (and action packed) replacement for Pretty Little Liars when it ends in the spring.
9. Hatchet series
To be completely honest, I had no clue this was a series. I’ve only read the first book, but this solo kid and his hatchet would be fun to watch. It’d be basically like “Lost” but without all the weird plot holes and super confusing ending that still keeps me awake at night.
10. Frog and Toad
A dapper little duo getting in and out of trouble would be a must-see for my nostalgic heart. This is another book series that would make such a cute cartoon (not live action for obvious reasons). It is such a good series on friendship and little life wisdoms, and there are so many stories that would be easy to turn into short episodes.
11. Spiderwick Chronicles
Once again, this was already made into a movie. But that was nearly a decade ago, and there was so much more to the story and the world in which it took place. The indie, whimsical tone would be so beautiful to see in more detail on screen. Plus, who doesn’t want more fairies and magic in their life?
12. Shadow Children series
I was under the impression that everyone read the first book of this series in school. It is a story in a future in the United States where it is illegal to have more than two children. The main character is a third child living in hiding until he discovers something interesting about the family next door.
I won’t spoil anything for you, but it is actually a really good book and has since been made into a series. It would make a really good and suspenseful TV show for sure.
13. 39 Clues
This book series is somewhat more recent, but it is really interesting because the series is a collaboration of authors. Different authors write the different book, and that keeps every story fresh. It would be very neat if they turned this into a series and had a different director for every episode to keep the spirit of the books fresh and authentic.
The series is basically the Amazing Race, but there are family members trying to solve a riddle to the family treasure. They are basically a bunch of Nicholas Cages, but they leave the Declaration of Independence alone.
14. Princess Diaries
OK, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, they did make these into the most amazing films starring Anne Hathaway and Julia Andrews. But hear me out. There were only two Princess Diary movies and then it wrapped itself up with a nice little bow. Those movies are untouchable classics.
However, the book series from which they drew inspiration has 11 volumes, not two. They had to leave out so much, and semi-spoiler-alert: the books and the movies don’t end the same. So a TV show wouldn’t be defacing the movies at all!
15. Sideways Stories from Wayside School
The final addition to my list is merely a set of three books. However, each book has 30 chapters, and each chapter has its own mini-storyline. The storylines connect, but this wonky school was accidentally built vertically as opposed to horizontally and has 30 stories (separate from the 19th floor, which doesn’t exist).
If you have never read the books, think “Saved by the Bell” meets “Goosebumps,” kinda. Here is the twist. Technically, this was already made into a TV show, with Michael Cera as the lead voice actor for the cartoon, but the show ran for only a year. I think it’d be even better as a live-action show. Heck, bring back Michael Cera. I’m game.
Those are the 15 childhood books series that I thought would make a magical transition from page to screen. I am also impatiently awaiting Netflix’s reply letter, which will likely pride me on my genius and let me know these projects are in the works. I’ll let you know how it goes.