2 SFF Book-to-Series Adaptations That Are BETTER Than The Books

2 SFF Book-to-Series Adaptations That Are BETTER Than The Books
Photo by Aideal Hwa on Unsplash

Fan of science-fiction fantasy? Here are my top two.

As a book lover, the disappointment of coming across the movie adaptation of your favorite book is a familiar torture.

When 1000+ pages are squashed into a screenplay of 3 hours, some critical details are bound to be left out.

This leaves you with a sense of wanting. Of knowing readers and fans deserve better, but also knowing that’s all that’s technically possible for the directorial team to deliver.

But the case is different if your favorite book is being adapted into a web series.

And the cherry on the cake is if the series ends up being better than the books!

If that sounds impossible, then hear me out. In this post, I’ve listed two book-to-series adaptations that were just as good as, if not better, than the books. These stories are in the science fiction fantasy (sff) genre.

I’ve added a brief plot premise and my interpretation of which version I liked better. I hope it’s sufficient to spark enough curiosity to make you want to pick up a book or series (or both) immediately!

1. Lockwood & Co.

Image from Netflix

Release date: 27 January 2023

Based on the book

Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud.

Genre: Fantasy fiction (Young Adult)

The reading order of the book series is:

  1. The Screaming Staircase
  2. The Whispering Skull
  3. The Hollow Boy
  4. The Creeping Shadow
  5. The Empty Grave
Image from: Goodreads

What it’s about

In a world beset by ghosts whose touch and prolonged eye contact can be fatal, only people younger than 20 can see, hear or communicate with ghosts.

The adults are deaf and blind but just as susceptible.

The world is panicked, and a strict curfew is imposed, where everyone is expected to return home at night. The only ones out and about are the agents — teenage trained fighters who cleanse ghost infestations with rapier play and various weapons.

One such psychic agency is Lockwood & Co., run by 16-year-old Anthony Lockwood, who, along with his researcher George Cubbins (Karim, in the show) and “listener” Lucy Carlyle, has earned quite a reputation to be among London’s best agencies.

The story follows their adventures as they run from one ghost-infested Victorian villa to the next. One encounter draws them into a conspiracy that runs through centuries and might involve the reason ghosts started interfering with the living.

Where to watch


Fun tidbit

The 8-episode series consists of events of the first two books. It ends on an epic cliffhanger, as book two does.

Honestly, it’s so bad, I pity the people who are only going to watch the series and not read the books. The pain of wanting to know is so hard, it almost feels physical.

Is the series better than the books (no spoilers)

The Lockwood & Co. series is different from the book because the book characters are different from the series characters.

The events shape out differently, but both the climaxes make sense in the context of this new characterization.

I started reading this series after I heard a show was being made, and I haven’t regretted it. This is slowly turning out to be my favorite Young Adult fantasy fiction series (Yes, even better than Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.).

Verdict: The series is not better per se, but both have different flavors, and I loved both equally.

If you’re not much of a reader, definitely watch the show.

If you’re fond of reading fantasy, go for the books first. You’ll be able to appreciate and relish the subtle changes in scenes and characterization.

2. Brave New World

Image from Netflix

Release date: 15 July 2020

Based on the book

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Genre: Science fiction. Dystopian.

Image from: Goodreads

What it’s about

Humans have developed a way to produce new humans in the labs.

This is the brave new world where everything goes by the book, and no rules are ever broken.

A baby is assigned intelligence at birth and is given a purpose they must carry with them all their lives. This results in a utopian world where nobody rebels against authority, and everyone dutifully performs their assigned role.

In this perfect world, a stranger with no experience with this “living for the greater good” conditioning enters. The questions he asks and the actions he performs threaten to break the precarious balance of this brave new world apart.

As *happy* humans face their deepest, darkest, most shameful secrets, what can they do to stop their world from falling apart?

Where to watch


Fun tidbit

The book, only 310 pages long, has limited plot advancement and character development scope.

The show has eight episodes and enough time to explore in detail what Aldous Huxley could only hint at. The depths of human relationships in dystopian situations are measured, and the show raises questions that are harder to answer (even for the reader/watcher) compared to the book.

Is the series better than the books (no spoilers)

The series delves deeper into the schematics and changes in the psyche of humans in a world where sentimental attachments hold no value. The characters are given more space to grow, resulting in fascinating thought experiments that will leave you questioning everything you’d taken for granted.

The book is outstanding, and the author was a pioneer thinker of this time. But the show is genius on another level.

If you’re a fan of classic literature, you must have come across Huxley’s work and loved the unpredictable ending of this novel. But watch the series once, and you won’t be disappointed. The stakes are higher, the characters are pushed even more ruthlessly to their limits, and the climax is more satisfying on multiple levels.

Backed by some stellar performances by the cast, Brave New World on Netflix is truly a treat to watch and experience.

Verdict: The show is more nuanced, relatable, and engaging than the book.

Have you read or watched either of these books or shows? What are your opinions on them? Please share your insights in the comments.

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