DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Sep 9 2009

TV in Book Form

by Jnai W

The 2009 Fall television season is starting which probably has little to do with books, the Library and real life in general. But this season I’ve noticed that at least two new programs are based on books ( “Hurrah! Relevancy achieved! Click “Publish”. Good night!”).

I was intrigued to learn that ABC is premiering a new show based on John Updike‘s novel The Witches of Eastwick. Also airing is a new CW show, The Vampire Diaries,  based on books by L. J Smith (even though I probably shouldn’t mention this one  because this book series isn’t in our catalog… sorry). But these shows make me curious about how many other TV shows were born from the pages of a book. I did some searching and discovered that Hollywood has a long tradition of mining literature for small-screen fodder…even nowadays. Books on television–who knew?

There are several shows I’ve considered watching but feel like I’d be at a loss because I’ve missed a few seasons. But perhaps I should try reading the book that the show is based on first. Using the library to bolster my TV viewing habits isn’t really as cheesy as it sounds, is it?

Maybe I could pick up Charlaine Harris‘  Southern Vampire Mysteries novels to see what the deal is with True Blood (I have a friend that I’m not allowed to speak to when this show is on). Or I can read Kathy Reichs‘  Temperance Brennan novels before watching the FOX TV show that’s based on them. But as I continue to read reviews and summaries of these shows I’m reminded that film and television shows are often loosely–very loosely– based on the popular books that they draw from. That said, maybe it’s better to simply enjoy the books separately from the TV shows inspired by them.

Still DCPL holds a wealth of Primetime-related materials, whether you’re reading books in their pre-television adaptation form or if you’re catching up on the continued stories of your fave TV characters long after their shows have aired. DCPL has several books based on two shows I liked: Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the prematurely canceled Sci-Fi series The Dresden Files. That, of course, brings to mind one great advantage that good old-fashioned books have over television–greater latitude and freedom to allow their stories to unfold.

Here are some really fascinating books on television in general. You can read these while you’re waiting for the Game of Thrones television series to commence (yep, the George R.R Martin classic is coming to a small screen near you):

Prime Time, Prime Movers by David Marc and Robert J. Thompson

One Nation Under Television by J. Fred MacDonald

The History of Television, 1880-1941 by Albert Abramson

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tamika S. September 10, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Hey…what about the opposite of that – TV as inspiration for books. The USA series Monk, starring that quirky detective now has a book series as well as the CSI drama. I know about these because those are two of my favorite shows! Great post.

joe m. September 15, 2009 at 1:52 PM

exciting stuff, i didn’t realize that HBO had picked up the R.R. Martin series.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: