‘Looking for Alaska,’ ‘Nancy Drew’ & More Fall Shows Based on Books (PHOTOS)

arrow - left
arrow - right
Books TV
ABC/Craig Sjodin; Alfonso Bresciani/Hulu; Robert Falconer/The CW
Books TV Stumptown
ABC/Craig Sjodin


Stumptown may be a comic book adaptation, but there’s nary a superhero or demon in sight. The detective drama’s hero, Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders), is a Portland, Oregon, private eye and former military intelligence officer suffering from PTSD and a gambling addiction. “She’s scrappy, funny, and fallible,” says showrunner Jason Richman, who adds that she’s also a magnet for danger: “Trouble seems to find her, and she seems to find trouble.”

Parios juggles caring for her brother Ansel (Cole Sibus), who has Down syndrome, while taking on cases that often put her at odds with local law enforcement. “The police may think someone is guilty,” says Richman, “and that person may hire Dex to prove they’re innocent.”

Ileane Rudolph

Series Premiere, Wednesday, September 25, 10/9c, ABC

Books TV Dublin Murders

Dublin Murders

The past is present in Dublin Murders, a psychological mystery that combines two Tana French bestsellers — In the Woods and The Likeness — in which a pair of Irish detectives face cases that stir up eerie memories.

When the body of a young girl is found, smart, troubled Rob Reilly (Killian Scott) must return to the nearby site of a horrifying childhood experience involving two friends (Ellie O’Halloran, center, and Niall Jordan, right, with Michael D’Arcy, who plays young Rob). His colleague Cassie Maddox (Sarah Greene) reflects on her own painful history when, elsewhere, the corpse of a woman who looks just like her is found.

The books “put a shiver through my blood,” says executive producer Sarah Phelps, who aimed to keep the novels’ page-turner feel when she adapted them: “You’re coming on a journey with me, whether you like it or not!”

Kate Hahn

Series Premiere, November, Starz

Books TV The Cry
Lachlan Moore/Sundance Now

The Cry

Victoria’s Jenna Coleman delivers a tour de force as young mother Joanna, whose life and mental state are shattered when her infant son disappears during a trip Down Under with her husband, Alistair (Ewan Leslie, above, with Coleman). The story, adapted from Helen FitzGerald’s novel, “is imbued with unbearable tension,” exec producer Claire Mundell says.

Over four twisty episodes, suspicion shifts from Alistair’s Australia-based ex-wife, Alexandra (Asher Keddie), to Joanna herself, and it becomes clear she and Alistair know more than they’re telling police. Hints Mundell, “Joanna’s character arc is among the most extreme I’ve ever read.”

—John Russell

Series Premiere, Wednesday, October 23, 11/10c, SundanceTV

Books TV Nancy Drew
Robert Falconer/The CW

Nancy Drew

The folks behind Gossip Girl give the classic teen mysteries a makeover with a macabre twist: Here, Nancy (Kennedy McMann, above), an 18-year-old sleuth struggling with the death of her mother and her own fading interest in any gumshoe action, becomes a key suspect in a murder. “When I was a kid, getting a Nancy Drew book was like Christmas,” says Stephanie Savage, who executive produces along with Josh Schwartz, “so being able to figure out the modern version was exciting.”

Nods to the 175-title series (written by multiple authors) include Nancy’s address (she lives on a street called River Heights, which was her town in the books) and a mention of The Hidden Staircase as one of her first forays into crime solving. But the show also conjures up ghostly elements. As Schwartz hints, “The supernatural is always lurking.”

—Damian Holbrook

Series Premiere, Wednesday, October 9, 9/8c, The CW

Books TV Looking for Alaska
Alfonso Bresciani/Hulu

Looking for Alaska

Quirky teen Miles Halter (Charlie Plummer) — who is obsessed with memorizing the final words of historic figures like JFK — enrolls at Alabama boarding school Culver Creek Academy and quickly befriends his roommate, Chip “The Colonel” Martin (Denny Love), social butterfly Takumi Hikohito (Jay Lee) and enigmatic Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth, above, with Plummer). “These kids are facing all sorts of firsts — first friendship, first love, but also first loss,” explains showrunner Josh Schwartz.

Indeed, on this eight-episode series — which exec producer Stephanie Savage says “honors” the source material, John Green’s YA novel — a tragic event deeply affects all the main characters. Says Schwartz, “We didn’t shy away from any of the dark stuff.”

—Emily Aslanian

Series Premiere, Friday, October 18, Hulu

1 of

If you’re a fan of TV, books, and especially TV shows based on books, then you’re in luck this fall.

There are several adaptations of novels, including a classic detective series, coming to the small screen in the upcoming months. From a series that brings a comic book character — but not a masked superhero — to life to a series that combines two bestsellers from one author, you won’t want to miss these upcoming dramas.

Click through the gallery above for must-watch shows for TV and book lovers alike.