From Books to TV Miniseries: 10 Must-See Adaptations

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Your hectic life barely allows for an hour-long TV drama, much less a full-length feature film. You want your viewing in shorter, chapter-like scenes. Well, good news busy life-doers: TV writers are listening and developing many beloved books into made-for-TV miniseries. Described as longer than six hours and shown in two or more parts, miniseries are a shorter version of a standard 22-episode TV series, according to Zap2it. These miniseries’ are often adaptations of novels, a quality that appeals to many readers.

“Miniseries, an astounding number of which seem to be based on books, take our favorite stories and fit them into more comfortable time slots. Instead of mercilessly slashing away at Great Expectations to shove it between TNT or FX-ready timeframes, we get 300 minutes of uninterrupted storytime. Don’t discount the miniseries, friends, because they aren’t counting the minutes and seconds,” per The Airship. Many great novels have already graced the small screen as miniseries, while others are still in the works. Here’s a look at a few of the popular miniseries that have already premiered, as well as a few you still have to look forward to.

1. Roots

Considered the greatest American miniseries of all time, the show was based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, according to The Airship. The series, which aired in 1977, follows Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton), who is born in the Gambia in 1750. Kinte is enslaved and brought to America, and the series delves into the true horrors that occurred on slave ships, in addition to the brutal mistreatment of slaves. The Guardian writes that, “The series jumps through history to examine the physical and mental torment of slavery. Roots landed a slew of awards, but its lasting legacy is in bringing its unflinching portrayal of American slavery into a nation’s living rooms.”

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