Recently my TV time has been dominated by series adapted from books and I’m not complaining about it. Often I get too emotionally involved with fictional characters but wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not that often that adaptations are considered brilliant but these five, are for me, outstanding.
Normal People based on the novel by Sally Rooney (BBC iPlayer)
The story follows the complex friendship and relationship between two teenagers, Connell and Marianne, who both attend the same school then college.
Without a doubt, this adaptation is as good as the book. Sally Rooney’s novel had me in raptures, I read it in two days and a love for Marianne and Connell was sealed. I was terrified to watch the series but it lived up to its plaudits. The longing, tension, emotion and sadness were captured perfectly by Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones. On top of the sharp and evocative dialogue was stunning cinematography. I just wanted to walk into their world and never come back out.
If you like this, watch: Call me by your Name (Netflix), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (MUBI/Amazon Prime).
Unorthodox an adaptation of Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman (Netflix)
Unorthodox is a story about a girl who rejects her radicalized Jewish upbringing and leaves to start a new life.
Only four episodes but perfectly crafted, the attention to detail is exquisite and utterly beautiful. Shiira Haas as Esty is incredible, she captures the fragility and hope of a young woman wanting freedom like no other. The scene in which Esty enters the water is breathtaking, her literal rebirth captured infront of our eyes as her wig floats away. *chefs kiss* I cannot wait to read the novel.
If you liked this, watch: Schtisel (Netflix)
Shrill based on Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West (BBC iPlayer)
A struggling young journalist is determined to change her life without changing her body. While dealing with unreliable boyfriends, sick parents and a perfectionist boss, she begins to understand that she’s just as good as everyone else.
Shrill is boundary breaking and I’m here for it, I want to see beautiful fat bodies on my screen. Women like Annie, who like themselves despite society telling them not to. What’s so good about this is it’s combination of humour, body positivity and realities of being a woman. The fat babe pool party episode is wonderful. Also the costume department smashed it. The book is equally as great and it reminded me that’s it ok to be a loud woman. Amen.
If you liked this, watch: A-typical and Special (Netflix)
The End of the F***ing World based on on the comic book series by Charles Forsman (Netflix)
The series sees two 17-year-old outsiders, James and Alyssa, embark on a road trip to find her estranged father with disastrous consequences.
This series is just stylish as hell, the shots, lighting, locations and costume just add to the extremely sharp and funny dialogue. Jesy Barden delivers deadpan lines as Alyssa that simultaneously make you want to laugh and cringe. Not to mention the brilliant soundtrack that accompanies the story. You just end up rooting for these misfits.
If you liked this, watch: I Am Not Okay With This (Netflix), Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Netflix)
Sharp Objects based on a novel by Gillian Flynn (Amazon Prime)
Camille Preaker returns to her hometown to report on the abduction and murder of two girls. She is reacquainted with her distant mother and her half-sister, and finds she has to confront her own demons.
A total air of creepiness, isolation and desperation fill this series and it got under my skin. The acting is incredible, Amy Adams plays Camille and is totally believable as a damaged, fragile, alcoholic searching for the truth. Gillian Flynn also wrote Gone Girl which strikes a similar tone as a very intense but clever story. Not a comfortable watch but a really good one.
If you like this, watch: Gone Girl (Netflix), True Detective (Now TV)