Whether it’s Greek gods or gore, you may have noticed a pattern: Some of the most talked-about new TV series for fall 2023 are based on novels and other published works.
Upcoming TV series include Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher, creator Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories with a modern twist (it involves a very guilty pharmaceutical giant), and the latest installment of FX’s American Horror Story anthology. The newest chapter, subtitled Delicate and starring Emma Roberts and Kim Kardashian, is based on the recently released Danielle Valentine novel Delicate Condition about a woman convinced something sinister is keeping her from becoming pregnant.
Other series adaptations include the Disney+ version of the young adult favorites Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Starring Walker Scobell as the titular teen demigod accused by Zeus of stealing his thunderbolt, the cast also includes Megan Mullally, Jay Duplass and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
There’s also room for nonfiction on this list. The Jesse L. Martin–starring NBC procedural The Irrational is rooted in Dan Ariely’s behavioral economics bestseller, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. It’s about a behavioral scientist who helps governments, law enforcement, and corporations with high-stakes cases.
So far this year, a flurry of series adapted from novels launched Certified Fresh new seasons, including the second seasons of shows based on The Lincoln Lawyer, adapted by David E. Kelley from Michael Connelly’s books; science fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s Foundation; Robert Jordan’s fantasy novels The Wheel of Time; Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books as Netflix’s Shadow and Bone; and Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things was adapted for a limited series on Hulu; Apple TV+ premiered season 1 of sci-fi drama Silo, created by Graham Yost based on Hugh Howey’s book series; The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, based on the book by Australian author Holly Ringland, debuted on Prime Video; and Matthew Quirk’s The Night Agent launched on Netflix. Fantasy series The Witcher, which debuted its third season on Netflix in June, is also an adaptation, based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s novel series; though some fans took issue on how far its Certified Fresh season 3 had strayed from its source material.
So what will the next hit be? We’ve rounded up a list of book adaptations that have the potential to become the next big Certified Fresh thing. So get reading…
The Other Black Girl: Season 1
Premiere Date: September 13, 2023
Based On: Zakiya Dalila Harris’ 2021 novel of the same name.
The Fanbase: Those who want a workplace-set psycho-thriller about the complexities of female dynamics a la Single White Female or Black Swan.
Everything We Know So Far: Sinclair Daniel plays Nella Rogers, an editorial assistant at a book publishing company and its only Black female employee. She’s excited when the company hires another Black woman, Ashleigh Murray’s Hazel-May McCall, and they become friends. But she soon discovers that Hazel’s motives might not be pure.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: With executive producers including Rashida Jones and based on Harris’ own experiences in the workplace, this show could be a timely thriller.
Premiere Date: September 15, 2023
Based On: B.E. Jones’ 2019 revenge fantasy.
The Fanbase: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. So it’s better that they live out their anger via this work of fiction.
Everything We Know So Far: Jenna Coleman plays Liv, a devoted wife who gives up her life in England to move with her husband Will (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) to New York. She soon discovers he’s cheating on her with his coworker, Cara (Ashley Benson). But that doesn’t stop her from agreeing to go with him on a long road trip. He doesn’t know she plans to make it their last as a couple — and his last trip ever.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: The show uses the Taylor Swift banger “Look What You Made Me Do” as its title song, suggesting it could appeal to those who want a smart, dark comedy with want something sickly sweet.
American Horror Story: Delicate
Premiere Date: September 20, 2023
Based On: Danielle Valentine’s conception-focused 2023 novel Delicate Condition
The Fanbase: The AHS fanbase may get some added oomph this season. New cast members include big names like Kim Kardashian, Cara Delevingne, and Michaela Jaé Rodrigue.
Everything We Know So Far: Where the series goes remains to be seen, but the book has a Rosemary’s Baby–like vibe. It follows an actress who is convinced an evil spirit is keeping her from becoming pregnant.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: The long-running franchise hasn’t been Certified Fresh since its 2019 slasher season, 1984. Can these new cast members help create a conceivable hit?
The Irrational: Season 1
Premiere Date: September 25, 2023
Based On: Dan Ariely’s behavioral economics bestseller, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.
The Fanbase: Despite its somewhat dense premise, this show could pull in fans of smarter procedurals like Person of Interest, Evil, and Blindspot.
Everything We Know So Far: Jesse L. Martin stars as Alec Mercer. A leader in behavioral science, he lends his expertise to an array of high-stakes cases involving governments, law enforcement, and corporations.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: The rational is that, while not a critical hit, this could be a solid performer.
The Fall of the House of Usher: Limited Series
Premiere Date: October 12, 2023
Based On: The 1839 Edgar Allan Poe short story, as well as some of his other works.
The Fanbase: The series has bonafide horror cred (it’s from Midnight Mass creator Mike Flanagan)…
Everything We Know So Far: …but the premise also has a modern twist. It’s about a pharmaceutical CEO who has to question his shady history when his kids start dying. The cast includes Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Zach Gilford, Mary McDonnell, and Willa Fitzgerald.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: If this show works, it could be a telltale sign of more modern-day Poe adaptations. If it fails? Nevermore?
Lessons in Chemistry: Season 1
Premiere Date: October 13, 2023
Network: Apple TV+
Based On: Bonnie Garmus’ 2022 novel.
The Fanbase: Those who want a feminist take on midcentury culture (think The Astronaut Wives Club or the movie Hidden Figures).
Everything We Know So Far: Brie Larson plays Elizabeth Zott, a scientist who is fired from her lab, but snags a job hosting a daytime cooking show. Making lemonade out of the situation, Elizabeth uses her screen time to teach viewers about science. Lewis Pullman, Aja Naomi King, and Stephanie Koenig also star.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Does an Oscar winner + social message = the right formula for critical success?
Fellow Travelers: Season 1
Premiere Date: October 27, 2023
Based On: Thomas Mallon’s 2008 novel.
The Fanbase: Those who enjoy LGBTQ+ love stories and American history.
Everything We Know So Far: Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey star as gay men who meet Washington, D.C., in the 1950s (a time when being out and proud was not a guaranteed safe option). The couple’s volatile romance will span the Vietnam War, disco, and the AIDS crisis.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: This project is prestige TV awards bait. This does not guarantee that it will be good.
Black Cake: Season 1
Premiere Date: November 1, 2023
Based On: Charmaine Wilkerson’s 2022 novel.
The Fanbase: Those still struggling to understand their parents. And, also, their parents.
Everything We Know So Far: After their mother dies of cancer, siblings find a flash drive with untold stories of her travels from the Caribbean to America; stories that will challenge what they know about their family’s origin. Adapted by Women of the Movement creator Marissa Jo Cerar, Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films is one of the production companies attached.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Coming out right before the holidays, it could appeal to critics and audiences in need of some familial bonding.
All the Light We Cannot See: Limited Series
Premiere Date: November 2, 2023
Based On: Anthony Doerr’s 2014 war novel.
The Fanbase: Those who like historical dramas, spies, potential hidden treasures and conflicted Nazis.
Everything We Know So Far: Written by Steven Knight and directed by Shawn Levy, the flashy project follows a blind French girl (Aria Mia Loberti’s Marie-Laure LeBlanc) and her relationship with a German boy forced into the Nazi party (Louis Hofmann’s Werner Pfennig). Other cast members include Mark Ruffalo as Marie-Laure’s father and Hugh Laurie as her reclusive great-uncle.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Another prestige project vying for awards consideration, the question really will be how many people want to sit through four episodes of a war-set epic. There are only five reviews at the time of publication — we’re eager to see how the score fares once more reviews are posted.
Premiere Date: November 8, 2023
Based On: An unfinished Edith Wharton novel.
The Fanbase: Downton Abbey fans still wondering what a weekend is.
Everything We Know So Far: Not to be confused with the BBC miniseries adaptation from the 1990s that starred Carla Gugino, Alison Elliott, and Mira Sorvino, the story follows 19th century American socialites who come to London to find husbands. Culture clashes ensue. Kristine Froseth, Alisha Boe and Josie Totah star.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Having its debut a week and a half after HBO’s The Gilded Age premieres its second season, the battling period dramas could be the talk of prestige TV society.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Season 1
Premiere Date: December 20, 2023
Based On: Rick Riordan’s young adult book series
The Fanbase: Those who loved/love the books as well as anyone who has a connection to the huge cast of famous and funny people (Lin-Manuel Miranda as Greek god Hermes! Jay Duplass as Hades, the god of the Underworld! Megan Mullally as Percy’s strict math teacher/Hades servant Mrs. Dodds!).
Everything We Know So Far: Walker Scobell plays Percy Jackson, the son of the human Sally Jackson and the Greek god Poseidon. His adventures include modern-day run-ins with some of mythology’s most well-known gods and goddesses but he comes into Zeus’ crossfire when he’s accused of stealing the god’s thunderbolt.
Chances It Will Be a Certified Fresh Hit: A movie version of the Percy Jackson universe failed spectacularly. Fans will raise hell if this one isn’t better. But at least Disney+ proved it could handle beloved adaptations when it made American Born Chinese, season 1 of which premiered in May and is Certified Fresh.