From Page to Screen: Netflix's Best Book Adaptations
As streaming platforms like Netflix continue to expand their original content, adapting popular books has become a go-to strategy. While not all on-screen translations live up to their literary predecessors, Netflix has successfully brought several beloved novels to life in recent years.
From period dramas to sci-fi thrillers, here are some of the best Netflix adaptations of books.
The Haunting of Hill House
This 2018 supernatural horror series is loosely based on Shirley Jackson's classic 1959 gothic novel. It follows the Crain family across two timelines as they confront ghosts both literal and metaphorical from their time living in the infamous Hill House.
Showrunner Mike Flanagan took major creative liberties, but captured the book's chilling tone and themes of trauma and the supernatural. Character-driven drama and cinematic production values make this show a worthy adaptation.
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Jenny Han's 2014 young adult romance novel came to life in this 2018 Netflix film starring Lana Condor. It follows shy high schooler Lara Jean, whose private love letters get mailed to her past crushes, upending her love life. Directed by Susan Johnson, the movie brings Han's charming story of self-discovery, family, and first love to the screen through clever casting, sweet romance, and thoughtful cultural representation.
The Queen's Gambit
Walter Tevis's 1983 novel shares its title with this 2020 miniseries phenomenon. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Beth Harmon, a gifted chess prodigy struggling with addiction as she rises through the male-dominated world of competitive chess in the 1960s.
Scott Frank adapted the book with beautiful period detail and relatable characterization. The Queen's Gambit became Netflix's most-watched scripted limited series.
Orange Is the New Black
This long-running show is based on Piper Kerman's 2010 memoir about her time in a minimum-security women's prison. Jenji Kohan adapted the book into a trailblazing ensemble series that humanizes incarcerated women.
While diverging significantly from the real-life account, the show maintains the book's themes of injustice, identity, and the power of human connection behind bars.
Andrzej Sapkowski's fantasy series gets vivid life in this action-packed adaptation starring Henry Cavill. On a medieval-inspired Continent overrun by monsters, witcher Geralt hunts beasts while destiny becomes entangled with a powerful sorceress and a young princess. Eye-popping visual effects and elaborate costumes satisfy fantasy fans. The Witcher brings moral ambiguity and Slavic mythology from page to screen.
Whether staying faithful to the source or taking stories in fresh directions, Netflix continues to prove books make great blueprints for compelling original programming.
From the intricate landscapes of Swedish shows to the captivating dramas of British series and the vivid storytelling of American adaptations, each brings a unique flavor to the screen.
These adaptations showcase the creative possibilities once beloved novels get interpreted through a new visual medium.