The recent news that Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall will be adapted into a television show doesn’t surprise us too much. We can only add it to the growing list of book-to-small-screen adaptations that we are anxiously awaiting, joining the planned HBO series based on A Visit From the Goon Squad, and the one on Eugenides’s Middlesex, which HBO seems to have optioned and then forgotten about. However, there are no promises that any book to TV adaptation, even those with great books as starting points, will be any good, and there are hundreds of shows created in this way that aren’t — but in our minds, that just makes the great ones even greater. To get ourselves pumped for the adaptation of Wolf Hall, we’ve collected a list of the ten all-time best (according to us, that is) TV shows adapted from books. Click through to see our picks, and be sure to let us know your own favorites in the comments!
Frequently counted on lists of the best TV shows of all time, everyone knows that M*A*S*H was adapted from the 1970 film of the same name, but perhaps not as many people are aware that that feature film was itself based on the 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker. This classic show about a team of doctors and staff stationed in a surgical hospital in South Korea during the Korean War lasted for 11 seasons and spanned 251 episodes, with the finale breaking records as the most watched episode in history (125 million viewers) at that time.