5 anticipated book-to-TV adaptations

As the world gears up for the end of the latest season of HBO's Game of Thrones, we here at CBC Books are looking to the future. Or at least as far as this fall where the television landscape will be dotted with a number of new shows adapted from literature. Here are some programs that have experts buzzing.

Sleepy Hollow (Fox, Mondays, 9 PM ET)

First published in 1820, Washington Irving's short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and its infamous "Headless Horseman" continues to resonate with audiences. Johnny Depp starred in Tim Burton's acclaimed 1999 film Sleepy Hollow and Kanye West made a few untoward references to the tale on his classic 2010 LP, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Now producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Transformers, Fringe) bring a quasi-modern take on the story with protagonist Ichabod Crane propelled 250 years into the future (i.e. now) as the world's last hope against certain destruction. Indeed, the Headless Horseman joins him in present times but he is simply one of four other riders known to foretell the apocalypse. Sounds heavy. 

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, Tuesdays, 8 PM ET)

You may recall Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) from Marvel's blockbuster comic film adaptations like Ironman, Thor, and The Avengers. Now, under the watchful eye of creator Joss Whedon, Coulson (who died in one of the movies, right?) heads up the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (or S.H.I.E.L.D.) and leads his charges on a series of daring missions that look too big for TV. Could be exciting. Oh, and this should not be confused with time Gregg spent playing William Faulks on the TV series, The Shield. He, or perhaps his agent, just has a thing for shields apparently.


Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC, Thursdays, 8 PM ET)

Whenever Tim Burton makes a movie, a TV executive discovers an idea he meant to think of. To be fair, ABC's fantastical take on the Lewis Carroll story is actually spinning off another one of their shows called Once Upon a Time, and is set in present day Wonderland where Alice fends off doctors who believe she's insane for discussing things like invisible cats and talking caterpillars. So it sounds sequel-y with just the right amount of emotional manipulation to make fans both nostalgic and possibly enraged.


Dracula (NBC, Fridays, 10 PM ET)

From the producers of Downton Abbey, Dracula promises to be sexy, bloody and dark, with the titular villain (played by The Tudors' Jonathan Rhys Meyers) awakened from some long slumber and hungry for love. And blood. Fortunately, his past catches up with him in the form of a woman he knew in an earlier time and, as it happens, seems full of love and blood. Bram Stoker's mythical creation lives on and on and on but only until the break of dawn. Then he needs to nap. 

The Best Laid Plans (CBC, TBD)

Scheduled for winter 2014, this adaptation of Terry Fallis' book, which won Canada Reads in 2011, promises to be a humourous, thoughtful and heartfelt take on Canadian politics. Sounds like a tall order but Fallis' satiric story about an Opposition Party speech writer trying desperately to leave politics behind for an academic life has resonated well with most who've read it. The show, written by actor/writer Susan Coyne (Slings and Arrows) and screenwriter Jason Sherman (The Listener)  promises to provide an inside look at the secret, backroom dealings in Ottawa and, given the headlines these days, Canadians might be eager to take a peek. 

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