Book-lovers can be (understandably) wary of film and television. So many great books have been mutated or mangled in adaptation to the big screen. But Netflix has managed to creep into all of our daily lives with its brilliant original series, its hidden gems, and its huge library of classic films. With all of that content, there are a few must watch programs for even the most bookish of book lovers to enjoy. Here are a few TV show, films, and documentaries on Netflix that every book-lover should watch immediately.
Of course, no two book lovers are quite the same. We all have different favorite genres, different opinions on the dog-ear vs bookmark debate. Lucky for us, Netflix has a wide selection of movies and TV shows based on books, movies and TV shows about books or book loving individuals, and everything in between. Whether you're a Stephen King junkie looking for your next scare, a sucker for mystery stories, a non-fiction fanatic, or a good old fashioned Jane Austen fan in search of romance, Netflix has something for you.
So, the next time you're forced to put down your book and tune into Netflix, here are a few great options for the literary minded:
With so many Stephen King adaptations out there in the world, it's easy to miss this Netflix original film. But if you're a die-hard horror reader, you're going to want to check out Gerald's Game, based on the novel of the same name: a husband and wife head to a secluded cabin for some "adult" alone time... until the husband suffers a heart attack and dies, leaving his wife chained to a bed, alone, miles away from civilization.
True crime readers won't want to miss Mindhunter. Based on Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, this original series follows two FBI agents as they interview notorious serial killers to try and understand their motives and stop future murders.
OK, so this Margaret Atwood adaptation doesn't hit Netflix until November 3rd. But still, if you're a fan of Atwood classics like The Handmaid's Tale, you'll want to drop everything and watch Alias Grace, the mostly true story of "mild mannered" serving girl Grace Marks, who was convicted of murdering her employer in 1843.
'A Series of Unfortunate Events'
You haven't watched this yet? Seriously? Hurry up and watch it, because this clever adaption of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events captures all the literary flare of the book series. If you enjoy orphans, libraries, and villainous actors, this one will be right up your alley.
'Jane the Virgin'
Jane the Virgin may not be based on a book, but it's a whip smart comedy centered around Jane, a burgeoning romance writer (and a pregnant virgin in the middle of her own torrid love triangle). For any romance fans or aspiring writers, Jane is a wonderfully relatable character.
'Call the Midwife'
Based on Jennifer Worth's memoir, Call the Midwife is a great watch for fans of period fiction. It follows the day-to-day lives of several midwives living in Poplar, London, in the late 1950s, and the challenges presented by the politics, technology, and pop culture of the time.
Lev Grossman's novel, The Magicians, is often described as "Harry Potter for adults." If you've ever dreamed of attending magic college, check out the TV adaptation on Netflix for fun, flirtation, and a whole lot of magic brought to life.
It doesn't get much more literary than Sherlock Holmes. The acclaimed series Sherlock is now on Netflix, so check it out for modern day adaptions of Holmes' most infamous mysterious (as well as some wholly original twists).
'Lost in La Mancha'
Ever wondered about all those book-to-film adaptations that never quite made it to theaters? Lost in La Mancha is a fascinating documentary, exploring Terry Gilliam's failed attempt to direct a film of the classic novel Don Quixote.
Penny Dreadful is more or less a literary mash-up: here you'll find characters like Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein, Count Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and many more. If you're a fan of the classic Gothic horror novels, this is the macabre, ridiculous, dreadfully fun show for you.
'Beasts of No Nation'
This one has been on Netflix for a while now, but if you haven't come across it yet, consider this your formal invitation. Beasts of No Nation is an adaptation of the novel by the same name, written by Uzodinma Iweala. Both film and novel follow the harrowing, deeply affecting story of a young boy, Agu, as he is forced to take up arms as a child soldier.
'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell'
Susanna Clarke's delightful novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, has been adapted into an entirely delightful mini-series. Watch it for some terribly English magic, mayhem, and an alternate history of the Napoleonic Wars.
Just one more Stephen King adaptation, because Netflix is crawling with them. The newest TV adaption of The Mist, one of the most disturbing horror stories around, is now on Netflix for your streaming pleasure.
'She Makes Comics'
Comics are one of the most disrespected forms of literature, and women are one of the most disrespected groups of comic creators. She Makes Comics looks at the history of sexism within the comics industry, and the very real women who are writing and illustrating comics today.
'Never Let Me Go'
Kazuo Ishiguro's chilling, heart-wrenching novel has been adapted an equally chilling film that you can stream right now on Netflix. Just be sure to settle in with a few tissues, because this story of three boarding school friends is one punch to the gut.
'Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold'
Joan Didion is one of the most influential American writers, and The Center Will Not Hold takes a look at her career from her early childhood journals to her innovative essays to her books on grief after the loss of her husband and daughter.
'Death Comes to Pemberley'
You know when you re-read Pride and Prejudice and you think, "This is great and all... but what if it was a murder mystery?" Death Comes to Pemberly is not exactly a serious literary exploration, but it is a ton of fun for Jane Austen fans and anyone else who enjoys a good mini-series based on a well-written fan-fiction.