Taking a look at ten YA stories that I think the CW, Freeform, Hulu, Syfy, etc should think about adapting to the small screen, with a couple honorary mentions
We start with the only graphic novel to make the list, Morning Glories from Nick Spencer. Pitched as Runaways Meets Lost back when it launched, the series follows a group of students who arrive at an elite school only to find that there may be something supernatural going on, their parents no longer remember them, and the instructors at the school may literally be trying to kill them. I could definitely see Hulu taking a look at adapting this series if Runaways ends up being a hit for them.
The second selection is a bit harder to place. It seems like it would tonally fit in with The CW’s dramadies, but the Disney connection suggests it will land on Freeform if it ever does get adapted. The series in question is the pure fluff that is Jen Calonita’s Fairy Tale Reform School Series. It takes place in a world where the world is run by the four princesses Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty, and many of the Disney villains have been redeemed and now run a school to help steer troubled youngsters away from following in their footsteps. Our protagonist is sent to the school after stealing to help her family, only to uncover a sinister conspiracy threatening not just the school, but the entire realm.
The third choice is Tamora Pierce’s Lioness quartet, which has a pretty simple concept – a girl poses as her brother in order to join the army in her fantasy kingdom. Simple and should provide options for a lot of stories to go along with following the arc of the books. Some things, such as the magical taking cat friend, are a bit more complicated, but this still seems like a series that would be a good bet for a network to take.
The fourth option, a bit of an odd choice for this list, is SJ Kincaid’s Insignia series. This trilogy could be expanded in an adaption, focusing more on characters besides the main protagonist, but it would still be a closed-ended series that would have a limited life span, a mark against it in the eyes of any network to be sure. But what can I say; I love this Harry Potter meets Ender’s Game series about a group of young cadets during World War Three. I want to see this adaption happen, darn it!
Options five and six are also a bit odd in that I don’t really know that much about the books, given that they haven’t been released yet. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be adapted! After all, The CW picked up The 100 before the book came out, and ABC considered adapting The Thousandth Floor before it hit the shelves. And either one of these books could be a good choice for the CW as their new YA science fiction adaption. First we have Nyxia by Scott Reintgen, wherein the Babel Corporation recruits ten teens to compete against each other in order to take part in a mining expedition to another planet. Youtuber Mollie Reads offers a glowing review of the book in this video, and seems very enthusiastic about the idea of it being adapted as a series or movie. At number six we have Dare Mighty Things from Heather Kaczynski, which follows a competition between gifted(?) people younger than 25 for the right to join a mission to space. So two similar concepts, either of which could be a solid choice for a TV adaptation.
I’d love to see the CW look at an option for a witch series other than the strange Charmed reboot concept they have, so I’ll put How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather at seven, even though I’m not entirely sure how a TV series would work. The first book is closed-ended story about the characters being descendants of figures from the Salem Witch Trials, much like the author. The second book will bring the Titanic into the story, as the main character (and the author) also has ancestors from that disaster. I’m eagerly anticipating the book though I am left wondering how the supporting characters from the first book will fit in, as they surely can’t all have ancestors from the Titanic, right? There is a lot of potential in the histories of the supporting characters from before the main character moved to Salem, and I got confirmation from Adriana Mather on twitter that she has thought about a prequel following those characters, but it remains to be seen how they will fit in the upcoming adventures of the main character.
With eight we’ll go completely outside the box, with Gail Carriger’s steampunk finishing school series. The series follows a troublemaking protagonist sent to a finishing school, only to find that the school is a secret training academy for spies and assassins. I had some issues with the ending of this four book series, making this one time where I might be hoping to see the adaption make some significant changes from the source material. The steampunk setting might not be the easiest to adapt to TV, but it would at least be a unique series.
At nine I’ll select a series where, at least after book one, the only book yet to be published, I think the concept is better than the execution. I’ve outlined my problems with Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley before, but I still think the concept could work as a show. The series takes place in a world that has long been beset by mysterious “phantoms”, with their defence being four girls who each possess power over one of the elements. When one dies, another takes her place. The girls, known as Effigies, answer to the mysterious and quite likely untrustworthy organization known as the sect.
Finally, I’ll go with another book from the future for the tenth spot on the list, this one fantasy instead of science fiction. Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta follows a protagonist who must smuggle magic to a neighboring kingdom in order to buy back her sister, who was sent into slavery for trying to flee the kingdom.
So there are ten possible options for TV adaptations. A couple other options include The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, a futuristic Gossip Girl. I had some problems with the first book in the series, most notably the main character being utterly unappealing (to me at least), but it still seems like something the CW might take a long look at. Then there is Virals by Kathy Reichs and her son Brendan. The series focuses on a group of teens who gain superhuman senses, and after the success of Bones it wouldn’t be surprising to see a network take a look at adapting another Reichs series.