7 of the Worst Book-to-TV Adaptations

This one just plain fun.

Oh, and amazingly accurate. Our hats (well, our hoodies) are off to Kirsten Klahn and the Wall Street Cheat Sheet:

tvviewingby Kirsten Klahn

We’ve all been there. You find out your favorite book is getting turned into a TV show, and you anxiously await its small screen debut. But that day arrives, only for you to find out that the show isn’t what you thought it would be. It happens a lot. There are plenty of book-to-small screen flops, and these seven series are leading the pack. These TV shows earned their worst book-to-TV rankings based on theirMetascore ratings, compiled by curating critics’ reviews.

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 1. Hidden Hills

This show truly is hidden; there is hardly anything out there on the series, further justifying its position as the worst book-to-TV adaptation. This TV show ran on NBC from 2002 to 2003 and was based on the book Surviving Suburbia: The Best of the Guy Chronicles by Chris Erskine. It focused on a suburban couple living in a gated community. According to IMDb, the show’s tagline was, “It’s like your life, only funnier.” That turned out not to be the case at all. Hidden Hills was awarded an unfavorable Metascore of 29, and received harsh comments from critics everywhere.

What do you think?

“Sometimes the suburban jokes work – – every little girl seems to be named Caitlin — but Hidden Hillsis mostly still foraging for the hidden jokes that will make it more original,” a SFGate review writes.

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The book, on the other hand, is definitely worth checking out. It was written by Erskine, of the Los Angeles Times, and it’s filled with humorous family anecdotes that are sure to appeal to anyone who has children (or is living in a gated community of their own).

2. Murphy’s Law

Metascore gave this ABC flop a 31. The TV show ran from 1988 to 1989, and was based on the Traceseries by Warren Murphy. George Segal starred as an insurance investigator and recovering alcoholic, who lives with a much younger model, Kimiko Fannuchi, played by Maggie Han. The show’s opening story, which was written and directed by Lee David Zlotoff, centered on the murder of a woman in a cult, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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The most exciting thing to occur? Segal is beaten up by two thugs, who then decide to cover him in alcohol. Strange? Yes. Compelling? No. “This is one of those series in which plot is relatively unimportant, however. What is important is the Murphy/Fannuchi relationship, which is only partially platonic, but fully unbelievable. If the relationship doesn’t work, the series doesn’t work,” per the Los Angeles Times.

What do you think?

Unfortunately, the show just missed the mark and wasn’t able to capture the humor and wit that shine through in Murphy’s books. The first book in the series, Trace, introduces Devlin Tracy, an insurance investigator who lives on the Las Vegas Strip. His first case? A patient at a private clinic died shortly after making his doctor the beneficiary of his insurance policy. It’s Tracy’s job to figure out what happened. If you’re looking for a good mystery read, this series is definitely worth checking out.

Read it all – including video clips from the shows