We all know the quality of television – both traditional and streaming – has been at a dizzying high for a while now. Networks like HBO and AMC, and streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have been pushing the limits of what can be done in the television medium. It’s been a boon for quality adaptations, with series like “Game of Thrones” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” translating books to the screen. For me, one of the most intriguing trends – particularly in terms of what it could mean for adaptations – is the move toward anthology series.
While it certainly wasn’t the first to do it, Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” is likely still the most famous, and divisive, of the current crop. But FX’s “Fargo” has become an awards season darling and Hulu’s “Castle Rock” was a haunting, slow-burn take on the expansive mythology of Stephen King. The basic formula is simple: each season – or in some cases, each episode – tells its own self-contained story, and the following season begins a completely different story with the cast taking on new roles, or with a new cast altogether. The obvious benefit here is that it allows viewers to get invested in a self-contained story with a definitive ending. As much as I love long-running, intricately plotted series, if the creators aren’t careful, it can be easy to get “Lost” in the weed and leave the wheels pointlessly spinning for a season or two. A well-done anthology series is, by design, all-killer and no-filler. With that in mind, here are few ideas for some great sci-fi and fantasy fiction that would be perfect for an anthology style TV treatment.
Editor’s note: all title summaries taken from copy provided by the publisher.