Stephen King: Top 5 Works That Deserve TV Series Adaptations

CTV News Atlantic reports that the Town of Windsor, Nova Scotia is gearing up to be the filming location for the TV series adaptation of an unnamed Stephen King work this fall, and the town’s residents are quite excited about it. Now the question is, what book will we see get the small screen treatment?

Several weeks ago, The Inquisitr ran a popular feature about 10 Stephen King Works that need a movie adaptation. The logic behind the choices was sound in regards to the relatively short, one-and-done pieces of media that bless the big screen. TV series adaptations, though, are a very different art-form than movie adaptations, as they are more stretched out and have the opportunity to develop a much more in-depth story that will be serialized and is often meted out to viewers slowly over the course of months.

So what are some great Stephen King works, short stories and full-length novels included, that deserve to be made into series? Stephen King has published nearly 70 pieces over 100 pages and nearly 200 shorter ones, so it was not easy to narrow it down to just five. Below, however we’ve gone over five of the top picks for King works that lend themselves particularly well to TV serialization (not screen in general).

1. The Stand, 1978

One of the main reasons The Stand is such an enchanting read is because of the vastness of it all, both literally and in terms of literary structure, and that vastness is what makes the book ripe for a series adaptation. Stephen King’s cavernous tale could definitely provide enough material for a multi-season TV series if the creators took advantage of the diverse universe.

In literal terms, “vastness” refers to the book’s setting: the diverse yet practically uninhabited entirety of the United States, from the deserted hills of Colorado to the empty apartments of Manhattan to the dusty solidarity of the Nebraska plains to the glizty emptiness of the Las Vegas Strip.

In terms of literary structure, “vastness” refers to the extremely diverse cast of main characters and themes such as jealousy, friendship, disability, lust, honor, and much more.

The only reason this is not higher on the list of Stephen King works that need to be serialized is because there is already a six hour-long miniseries made from the book in 1994, and it is widely regarded as pretty good. As AV club notes, however, the old miniseries has not really aged too well, and this cavernous tale could use an update. The world has changed a lot since Stephen King published The Stand in 1978, and a modern-day retelling would be phenomenal.

In addition, The Stand is probably the single most widely known Stephen King work and would, for that reason, bring with it a huge amount of pop culture appeal if TV-ified.

2. “The Apt Pupil,” 1982

“The Apt Pupil” is one of Stephen King’s most popular novellas (a phrase for stories too long to be called a “short story,” but too short to be called a “novel.” It is the story of a young boy who discovers an ex-Nazi living in his town and threatens to reveal his dark past to the community if the man does not take the boy under his wing. The boy and the man develop a perverse friendship that lasts years, over time becoming more and more entangled in each other’s dark pasts.

The passage of time is what makes Stephen King’s written story so effective, and the story is great at stretching things out over many, many pages so the reader feels that years are going by. That is why a serialized TV show, much more so than a single movie, would really allow “The Apt Pupil” to thrive.

Viewers could grow with the characters, ever so slowly becoming more deeply entrenched in their personal lives.

Video retelling of the ex-Nazi’s World War II tales could also double as a good opportunity to make a fascinating historical drama about the holocaust from the point of view of one of the perpetrators, a terrifying concept not yet touched upon in mainstream media. History Channel original, anyone?

3. The Long Walk, 1979

The Long Walk, which was actually published under Stephen King’s alias, Richard Bachman, was also on The Inquisitr‘s list of Stephen King works that deserve movie adaptations. Its presence on this list, however, is different. If a movie of The Long Walk were to be made, it would make sense for the film to stick roughly to the plot laid out by the book. Not too much happens, but there is certainly enough there from which to make a 90-minute psychological thriller.

A full TV series of Stephen King’s The Long Walk would also cover the events of the titular interstate footrace, but it would also be a great opportunity to dive into the dark but fascinating mythos surrounding the dystopian event. Basically, the potential stories surrounding the premise, a nationally followed sporting event in which randomly selected young boys must compete in a life-or-death run, is absolutely enormous.

What happens in the families of those chosen to compete? How does betting on the race work? Do the people organizing the race and enforcing the rules have any moral qualms about it? What is the history of the event? These are just a few of the questions Stephen King’s book did not address but that could be covered in a Long Walk TV series adaptation.

4. The Dark Tower: Books 1-7, 1982-2004

This series (excluding the eighth book, which is somewhat of an extended afterword) is nearly 4,000 pages long. Its physical setting spans multiple times and universes, and it is the congregation of the central narrative that lends one or more of its elements to almost all other Stephen King yarns. There’s so much material here, and it plays out on such a vivid set, that the creators could easily squeeze at least a few seasons out of it by basically just retelling exactly what is written, but on-screen.

The only reason this is not #1 is because there is a Dark Tower movie adaptation being made that will probably come out in 2017. Stephen King himself, though, has already revealed that the movie will be far from a faithful adaptation of King’s works, so that still leaves room for a series.

5. The Plant, 1982-1985

Honestly, it’s a little perplexing The Plant is not a series already. Stephen King started the book as a serialized novel in 1982 by giving it a spectacular premise (a mysterious and dangerous author who sends a magical plant to a publisher’s office), wrote part of the story, and then stopped. Now, the story, which enchanted many fans and has left them waiting 30 years for a conclusion, is just waiting for someone to pick up the rights and finish what Stephen King did not want to.

A pre-conceived yet captivating premise designed with a serialized format in mind? A large group of people that would love to see how the story works out? Put them together, and show creators would have lots of freedom to go anywhere they want with the story, and an instant dedicated fan base. In other words, The Plant is perfect for TV adaptation purposes.

For all we know, the mystery Stephen King adaptation filming in Nova Scotia right now could be one of the ideas above. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, though, we’ve got The Mist and Mr. Mercedes, two Stephen King TV series adaptations that are currently filming, to look forward to!

Would you like to see any Stephen King works not listed above made into TV shows? Make yourself heard in the comments section below!

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