It was the end of May last year. The air was beginning to warm up, and the nights were finally longer. After a long day of completing assignments, all I could think about was the next book on my reading list. It just so happened that “Daisy Jones and the Six” was that night’s victim. The 400 pages of fictional history awaited me.
I had read a few books by the same author, Taylor Jenkins Reid. All of which I devoured in a single night. I had a feeling that night would be no different. I opened my window, lit a candle and turned on some tunes. One page turned into five, which turned into 200. I shifted the book between my left and right hand only when it felt like I was getting a mild case of arthritis from holding the book open.
It didn’t take long until I was at the very end. The tears left on my face from the last chapter were almost dry. Four hundred pages easily devoured. It was like I had just binged a television series in one night. Only, it was a book, and I read it in about four hours.
“Daisy Jones and the Six” was one of those unforgettable reads. When I hear “Moonlight on the River” by Mac DeMarco, I’m reminded of the ups and downs of Daisy Jones. It throws me back to summer. Windows open, warm breezes, pages asking to be read.
The best part about reading is how you can visualize the written words as if they were a show. What’s better than when books are adapted for the screen? When they’re adapted and actually do justice to the novels that inspire the jump from page to screen.
This is true for the “Daisy Jones and the Six” adaptation created by Amazon Prime. It was released this March and has only 10 episodes. I would’ve fallen down a binge-watch spiral if the episodes weren’t released weekly. It lived up to the standards set by the book.
Watching the series almost a year after reading the book, I was still able to remember specific scenes. It also helps that the chosen cast matched the characters very well.
I’ll admit, there are a million different book adaptations that almost ruin the title for good. Yet, there remain some exceptions. Titles that live and exceed expectations, both on the page and on the screen. There are new adaptations every year, but many of them can be more of a miss than a hit, like “The Hating Game” or “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”
For my book lovers, and even those who just enjoy a good series, I have five page-to-screen adaptations that are worth a watch.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Genre: Tragedy; Dystopia
Streaming platform: Hulu
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a story set in a dystopian society where women are treated as property and lose all human autonomy in a totalitarian society. The best-selling novel was written by Margaret Atwood and was adapted into this series with executive producers, including Elizabeth Moss, Margaret Atwood and Bruce Miller, to name a few.
The series brings the gruesome scenes of the novel to life with a few changes. It roughly stays on the same timeline, but the theme always remains the same: oppression, rebellion and religious fanaticism. It stars Elizabeth Moss as June Osborne, Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford and Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” series plays into the political dystopia that can easily be connected to some realities we have seen come to light in recent years, such as the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The series only accentuates the outspoken and bold themes from the novel and has added its own twists to the storyline.
Streaming platform: Hulu
Originally on the Oprah Winfrey Network, the “Queen Sugar” series now streams on Hulu. The story follows a New Orleans family as they navigate a tragedy. Based on the book “Queen Sugar,” written by Natalie Baszile, the series holds true to the main story of Charley Bordelon moving back to New Orleans to be with her estranged siblings after a family tragedy that forces them to claim their inheritance of their father’s sugarcane farm. Both feature themes of family responsibility and relationships, hard work and racial inequalities.
However, many of the characters’ personalities differ from their book personality, and as the series progresses more is added that isn’t written in the book, like completely new characters or new conflicts.
The series is full of drama, suspense and emotion. Featuring Dawn-Lyen Gardner as Charley Bordelon, Kofi Siriboe as Ralph Angel Bordelon and Rutina Wesley as Nova Bordelon, all playing the Bordelon siblings, this isn’t an adaptation you’ll want to miss.
Band of Brothers
Genre: War drama
Streaming platform: HBO Max
This mini-series is a dramatized adaptation of the non-fiction book “Band of Brothers,” written by Stephen E. Ambrose. The book includes interviews with members of the E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. It’s a gripping tale following these soldiers’ time during World War II. The series highlights the bravery and fear that comes along with such a story.
Created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, this mini-series has had its share of praise, very much deserved. It reveals the raw emotions and realities that come with the horrors of war.
With stars Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston and Michael Fassbender, who truly bring the written words to life, the “Band of Brothers” series has been awarded a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries and an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries. If you’re somewhat of a history or war buff, this adaptation will be right up your alley.
Genre: Drama; Romance
Streaming platform: Hulu
This series has reached a larger audience over the past few years, especially on TikTok. And rightfully so. The novel, “Normal People,” was written by Sally Rooney and adapted into a mini-series as a Hulu original. Two people find love early, only to let it slip away until a later date.
“Normal People” portrays the familiar story of how relationships and friendships can be complicated, but how they can also change your life. It does not stray too much from the book’s contents, but it also adds its own touches here and there.
It stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell, with both their characters portraying average high school students, college students and young adults figuring out their lives. The story follows them from high school to adulthood, through trials and tribulations like young love and the complications of forming romantic connections.
Many twenty-somethings find the characters easy to relate to, especially in regard to their romantic connection. Set in northwest Ireland, it’s filled with amazing Irish accents and amazing views. It’s a short watch, but one that will leave you emotionally connected to the story of Marianne and Connell.
Friday Night Lights
Genre: Sports; Teen drama
Streaming platform(s): Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock
A favorite among millions of people, this series was adapted from the novel “Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream,” written by Buzz Bissinger. It’s a non-fiction novel about the 1998 Permian High School Panthers giving their all for a shot at the Texas state championship. The series draws inspiration from this story and still showcases the ups and downs of Texas football.
“Friday Night Lights” stars Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor, Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen, Connie Britton as Tami Taylor and many more exceptional actors. It highlights the struggles of playing as a team, family issues, high school drama and the spirit of competition. The series shows the conflict that happens when you’re a student-athlete, and it simply shows the realities many face in high school.
The cast has won multiple Primetime Emmys, and it remains highly rated among audiences. If you haven’t already seen it, this series is definitely worth watching. Even a repeat watch wouldn’t hurt.
Georgia Whiting is the managing editor and photo editor for the Express.