Over the years, Stephen King has produced hit book, after hit book. The author has become the number one name in horror fiction, and his stories have been enjoyed by millions of readers for generations.
Even if you haven’t read a single Stephen King book, it’s likely that you still know exactly who the man is. That notoriety is well-earned, and it’s due, in large part, to the success of the films that his works have created.
The Shining, It, Carrie, Cujo, The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, and countless other King-penned properties were turned into blockbuster films. There haven’t been as many in recent years, but that’s because the work of Mr. King has taken a shift into the ever-expanding world of television.
Under The Dome and 11.22.63 began the King TV trend over the last couple of years. However, looking ahead, there is so much more set to come. The Mist TV series is debuting on Spike this summer, Mr. Mercedes is being developed for Audience Network, and Hulu is currently producing Castle Rock. Even King’s son, Joe Hill, is developing one of his famous works to television, as Hulu has ordered a pilot episode of Locke And Key.
We’re entering into a world of Stephen King TV shows, and in no way is that a bad thing.
With an entire library of solid stories to choose from, it’s a bit surprising that there aren’t more of his books being made into television.
Let’s take a look at five such novels, and why they’d be perfect for today’s television landscape.
Along with The Shining, Misery was one of King’s most introspectively horrifying works. Instead of a big mystery to be solved, an odd-ball monster on the loose, or some kind of other dimension interfering with the world as we know it, Misery kept things very familiar.
The book tells the story of a writer who has an obsessive fan. While he believes the woman, who seems simple enough, is as innocent as can be, she turns out to be a kidnapping psychopath. Kathy Bates and James Caan starred as the two characters in the film adaptation of Misery in 1990.
The story of the interaction between these two characters is short, and wouldn’t exactly warrant en entire series. However, let’s take the Bates Motel approach with this one.
A&E greenlit Bates Motel as a prequel to Psycho, telling the story of Norman Bates grew to become, well, a psycho. The series gave the source material much more depth, and used the horror of the original film to add to the suspense of the new narrative.
With this concept, the characters of Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes could be explored on a much deeper level. Audiences could see how Annie became as obsessed as she did, and Paul’s rise to fame in the world of fiction.
If you’re looking for a character study, this would be the way to go.
The Dead Zone
Audiences love a good mystery, and The Dead Zone definitely provides one.
The book tells the story of a man who, after waking up from a 5-year-long coma, experiences slight precognition. He needs to use his choppy visions to try and stop a major crime before it happens.
The mystery surrounding an apparent assassination attempt would draw fans in, but the questions revolving around how the character got these powers could keep them around for multiple seasons.
11.22.63 worked so well because it left an enormous question mark in each episode. The Dead Zone could easily replicate that success, and give audiences a period drama for the ages.
The Stand
Post-apocalyptic stories are all the rage in Hollywood nowadays, so The Stand already makes for an interesting series. However, when you add in the horror and fantasy elements that the novel provides, there could be a hit series hidden within.
The Stand tells the story of the supposed end of the world, and how mankind must fight together to stop it. Biological warfare rules the land, and it’s only a matter of time before everything crumbles across the globe.
Think about taking the darkness and inevitability of The Walking Dead, and combining it with the heart-pounding action of 24 or Daredevil.
This is the kind of magic that a story like The Stand could provide.
Salem’s Lot
With Twilight, Vampire Diaries, and True Blood in the rear-view mirror, it seems like the blood-sucking sub-genre has faded away. However, Salem’s Lot could break the vampire mold, and corner a fairly empty market.
The book was King’s second published novel, and was released in 1975. it tells the story of a man named Ben Mears, who returns to his childhood home to find that everyone residing there is actually a vampire.
It’s kind of like October Road meets The Lost Boys, with a little bit of The World’s End thrown in the mix.
This kind of genre-defying masterpiece is exactly what works on television. It’s bold, it’s unique, and it’s the kind of show that no one could be ready for.
Doctor Sleep
We started things off with a prequel series, so we thought it would be nice to bookend this list with a sequel. Enter: Doctor Sleep.
The Shining is one of King’s most talked-about works, and Doctor Sleep is the follow-up to the tale. It follows Danny as an adult, and shows how the events of his childhood have effected his life. As you would expect, he inherited a lot of the terrible qualities from his father. Anger and alcohol abuse ran rampant through Danny’s veins.
Just as Sons of Anarchy did a couple of years ago, Doctor Sleep could really play on the “sins of the father” ideology. What goes around, comes back around, and all that.
People would immediately be invested in a Doctor Sleep series just by hearing that it’s a Shining sequel. And the story is so compelling that they’ll stay in the door once they’ve arrived.