The idea of this post came from this article (which I recommend you read, I’ll wait) which lists “the  series that could occupy the Hollywood throne that King Harry [Potter] just vacated”. While I agree wholeheartedly with nos. 2, 5 and 7 on the list (haven’t read the rest), there are a few more book series I would love to see in movie or TV series format.
To start with, here are few of my picks:
- Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud: A few things in favour of these books: a. A completely different point of view about magic and magicians, b. An interesting story about powerful people, power and its effects on people, and c. Bartimaeus.
Yes, the titular genie scores a whole point in and of himself. More than any other characters, who are great on their own, this fast-talking, sarcastic genie carries most of the series on his shoulders.
Then again, one of the greatest strengths may prove to be its great weakness, if not handled carefully: the sarcastic asides and footnotes by Bartimaeus, which are some of the funniest lines in the story, will be hard to translate to screenplay.
- Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz: Sure, the story sounds like a teen-aged James Bond (minus the inter-gender interactions, obviously). Sure, there are gadgets and action scenes galore to justify that tag. But there are more layers to the story of a teenager forced (sometimes not even subtly) into being a spy for his country.
Now, I know the first book was made into a movie, with heavyweights like Stephen Fry, Mickey Rourke, Bill Nighy, Ewan McGregor, Alicia Silverstone and Damien Lewis. But somehow, it didn’t do justice to the story. Maybe a reboot, given it’s a season of reboots? Or they can continue the story, as long as they keep the perfect casting that is Stephen Fry as Smithers (Alex’s “Q”), and maybe even Lewis as Gregorovich (I am not sold on his accent, though). There are a lot of further tribulations and adventures of Alex Rider to choose from.
Then again, given that the book count is 9, some books may be combined into one movie. And as the whole series covers about one year in Alex’s life, even a TV series, with 2-3 books per season, can cover it without any serious time jumps.
- Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan: Given they are planning the sequel as a “combination of rest of the books”, I am afraid of it turning into a forgettable mishmash of the entire series. Then again, the first movie did cut out the entire characters like Clarrise, Charles and Silena, who play major roles later on, and didn’t even allude to the entire “gods claiming their kids” storyline (which is the motivation for a major character). So all in all, I think a reboot might be the way to go for this. After all, everyone’s doing reboots now.
And if this series goes well, there’s the sequel series, which promises to be equally interesting.
- Sigma Force by James Rollins: Granted, this is more adult series than teen-oriented, but the Warrior monks of Sigma Force (the military arm of DARPA) acting out of their secret command center below Smithsonian castle warrant movies of their own. Ancient secrets/treasures genre hasn’t gone much beyond Indiana Jones and lookalikes, but this is one book series which can be perfect for popularizing it once again.
Solidly written and based on scientific facts which are believable at the very core, these are the books I will always recommend, as a series, or even as standalone novels.
- Jack West Jr. by Matthew Reilly: Talking about ancient secrets-based series, this trilogy is very fast paced and action oriented. With international character comes a chance for a solid starcast. And the books are written almost like they are meant to be made into movies. (If you want a sample, there’s a militarised black Boeing 747 in it, and the clues in the first book are hidden in the 7 ancient wonders.)
While we are on Reilly, his Shane Schofield series is made of pure action-hero goodness (though there are some quibbles out there about the military tech described in the books).
While on the subject of that article, I completely agree that Artemis Fowl, that teenaged Irish criminal mastermind, his loyal bodyguard Butler and their interactions with the the Faerie folk, ably represented by LepRecon office Holly Short will be one of the perfect bets for the next big budget fantasy (and sci-fi) movie series, after Harry Potter.
Given the length of Dresden Files series, I am not entirely sure the movies will be the best option (unless they combine 2-3 books into one movie). Given that the adventures of the grizzled, wisecracking Dresden (the only consulting wizard in Chicago according to Yellow Pages) cover a short period of time, may we hope for a TV series. Maybe one longer than the short-lived SciFi channel series?
These are just a few book series I could think of off the top of my head. What are your top candidates?