Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is a blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week's suggested theme is:

Top Ten Books (or Series) I Would Love to See on the Screen

The caveat, of course, is that this would be in an ideal world where movies and TV shows don't routinely butcher the books we love, and that's why my first pick is a series that's actually already been on TV for about half a season:

10. The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. 
The SciFi Channel (not yet moronically rebranded as Syfy) gave it a shot, and didn't do as badly as I was afraid they might. Some of the changes they introduced even made sense as necessary adaptations for a visual medium, like making Bob the Skull into a ghost (so that there would be an actor to look at instead of a cheap special effect) or giving Harry a vintage Jeep to drive instead of the venerable Blue Beetle (so that they could actually fit a camera inside a vehicle with the 6'3" actor). But this series still counts as a huge missed opportunity for a great urban fantasy TV show. Bring back Harry Dresden!

9. A is for Alibi, by Sue Grafton. 
I would actually like to see the whole alphabet series as a weekly TV show, and I think it would work really well as one; the handful of Kinsey Millhone short stories read like really good episodes. This will never happen, because Sue Grafton is determined that it won't, but a girl can dream, right?
8. Song of the Lioness, by Tamora Pierce.
I think the recent success of female-led fantasy/adventure movies like Snow White and the Huntsman just goes to show that the world is now ready for a cinematic treatment of the story of Alanna the Lady Knight.

7. Circle of Five, by Dolores Stewart Riccio.
Another mystery series tailor-made for a TV show, this one centers on a Wiccan circle in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They have a light touch, the mysteries are actually pretty mysterious, and the Wicca is refreshingly not sensationalized very much. It'd be a great vehicle for an ensemble cast of actresses of assorted ages.

6. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

It's been a long time since I read it, but I loved this book when I was younger. I suspect that if I went back to it now, I would find it's been visited by the Sexism Fairy since the last time I checked in, and there are some points that would have to be tweaked to be palatable to modern audiences, but I'd still love to see the dragons on a big screen now that the technology is there to render them well.

5. A Free Man of Color, by Barbara Hambly.

This would probably be a tough sell: a historical mystery about a free black man in pre-Civil War New Orleans. But the books are so fabulous I'd love to see somebody try it.

4. Retief's War, by Keith Laumer

Just because there's a distinct lack of smart science fiction on the screen. These combine intrigue, action, mystery and humor in extremely entertaining ways.

3. Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman.

I know this is the one of my choices that doesn't really go with the others: a work of nonfiction. But I like movies that are based on true stories as well (though I never make the mistake of thinking the true story makes it to the screen unscathed), and I've felt for a long time that Nellie Bly would be a fantastic candidate for a biopic.

2. ElfQuest, by Wendy and Richard Pini.

These ain't yer haute elves, as Richard Pini himself has been known to point out. There's an astonishingly beautiful fan-made trailer out there showing just how amazing this could look in live-action, but of course the origin of the material in comic books would lend itself pretty well to an animated movie too. Given the violence and sexual content of the story, live action might be better, just so nobody makes the mistake of thinking that because it's a cartoon it's, you know, for kids.

1. Busman's Honeymoon, by Dorothy L. Sayers.
 There was a movie made of it a long time ago, and the original play has been revived at least once that I know of fairly recently, but I would really like to see a movie or a TV miniseries that treats the subject seriously. Most of my objections to the movie Haunted Honeymoon boil down to the fact that the producers apparently wanted the next Nick and Nora, and tried to turn the story into a screwball comedy instead of a love story (albeit with detective interruptions). It is a damned shame that Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter weren't allowed to add this one to the three Wimsey and Vane stories they filmed for the BBC in the 1980s, but I'd be happy to see a modern version.


  1. I'm with you on the Dresden Files! I'd love for it to be continued, or then re-imagined as a completely new TV series.

    1. I know, right? There's so much they could do with the source material.