Fans Are Imagining What Their Favorite Books Would Look Like as Netflix Series

We’re living in an age of fantastic prestige TV, where the demand for original content has led to incredible opportunities for book adaptations. It used to be that word of a film adaptation led to cries of “I hope they don’t ruin the book!” But with the time that an eight to ten episode series affords writers, adaptations have yielded good — even great — genre stories that introduce huge audiences to our favorite books.

Even if a book hasn’t been adapted, one can’t but wonder what one’s book might look like on a streaming service’s page. Over the last week, fans and authors on Twitter have been working to figure that out, creating their own versions of what their books might look like on the front page of Netflix.

The process is both simple and deceptive. I first came across the meme when Alix E. Harrow shared screenshots of her debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January Netflix..ified:

I honestly did a double-take when I first saw that. It looked plausible: a Netflix title screen with a background image and episode screencaps as though someone had blown through the entire series. It had me wondering for a split second how I might have missed that not only was there a show based on one of my favorite books from last year, but that it was apparently now streaming?

Alas, neither were true, making the screenshots a moment of cruel wish-fulfillment.

One of the authors turning out the screencaps is Marshall Ryan Maresca, who’s been writing his Maradaine series since 2015. He explained to me that he was inspired by another Twitter user, @LovelyOwelsBooks, who created her own version for S.A. Chakraborty’s City of Brass.

“I saw the one for Shannon’s, and I thought it would be fun to do one of my own books, just as a lark. So I screenshot my own Netflix screen to build a template from and went to work on that, and the shot I took had the small icons of other shows in the same category.”

The result was his imagined version of what a Maradaine series might look on the streaming service.

To complete the effect, he added in other elements that you might see on Netflix: “I decided, ‘If I’m going to have those there, I’ll make those for other books.’ So I thought about recent books from friends that had easy aesthetics I could work with.” He added in other potential adaptations that might sit alongside his own fantasy series — Rowenna Miller’s Torn, Alexandra Rowland’s A Conspiracy of Truths, Fonda Lee’s Jade City, K.M. Szpara’s Docile, and Cass Morris’s From Unseen Fire.

He then went on to add in an episode page with tiny blurbs and thumbnails for each episode.

From there, he followed up with some other pages for those potential shows. “For the thumbnail for Rowenna Miller’s Torn, it’s inspired by the French Revolution,” he explained. “I found a shot from a French movie called One Nation, One King that had a great look.”

Others have since made their own imaginary shows, such as ones for V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Tasha Suri’s Empire of Sand, and Shelby Mahurin’s Serpent & Dove: 

Maresca notes that people have been extremely enthusiastic with the results, and that more than one person has thought that they were real shows. “Hopefully, that brought people some joy right now.”

I think it’s a combination of things working together. We want to see great shows based on the books we love, and the Netflix screen format is something we’re familiar with as a venue for strong adaptations. So I think it gives a strong sense of, “Wow, this is what it really could look like if it happened.”

It’s a fun meme to scroll through, imagining what one’s favorite books might look like not only as a TV show, but as a movie or streaming poster. Maybe, some of these will end up on the very platforms that their fans are imagining. In the meantime, it’s a cruel and unusual tantalization for those of us really hoping to see their favorite books adapted for TV.

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