The hot list: From Good Omens to Killing Eve - 2019's top TV shows based on books

Catch up on your reading before you watch these TV adaptations, all launching in 2019.

By Sophia Moir Published: 30 May 2019 - 5.00pm
Hot List Killing Eve

Good Omens

Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens

There’s no better talking point than debating with your friends whether a TV show or film is better than the book it's based on.

From Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones and The Handmaid's Tale, people always have an opinion about which version is best.

But if you’re one of those people that likes to read the book before watching the TV version, there’s a whole heap of new small-screen adaptations already available or about to launch.

We reveal our pick of the best adaptations that we are most excited about in 2019 – and they'll all be available on BT TV.

Good Omens

Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens

This highly-anticipated TV series - which launched in May 2019 - is based on the beloved fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Good Omens follows a fussy Angel (Michael Sheen) and a loose-living Demon (David Tennant) who've become overly fond of life on Earth and are forced to form an unlikely alliance when the end of the world is coming.

But when they lose the Antichrist - an 11-year-old boy unaware he's meant to bring about the end of days - they are forced to embark on an adventure to find him and save the world before it's too late.

Good Omens is on Prime Video.

Killing Eve season 2

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in series 2 of Killing Eve

Killing Eve is based on the Codename Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings, with the first series adapted for television by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Crashing).

Season 1 introduced viewers to Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a desk-bound MI5 security officer who’s bored in her job and yearns for a more exciting life when she meets the psychopathic assassin known as Villanelle (Jodie Comer).

No Tomorrow, the second book in Jennings’ series of novellas, begins where the first book and season 1 ended.

Although, there’s not much overlap between the series and the books in year 2, the two are entwined. The lead writing duties for series 2 - which came to the small screen in June 2019 - were handed over to Waller-Bridge's friend and fellow writer and actress, Emerald Fennell.

Killing Eve season 2 is on BBC iPlayer.

Green Eggs & Ham

Green Eggs & Ham on Netflix

The Dr Seuss classic is being made into an animated TV series on Netflix, with an all-star voice cast including Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton signed up to bring the story to life.

Described as a post-modern Planes, Trains and Automobiles, the series takes viewers on a journey through the whimsical world of Dr Seuss.

The story follows two friends, Guy and Sam, as they go on a cross-country road trip to save an endangered animal, learning to try new things like hope, friendship, and a certain delectable dish.

Green Eggs & Ham is launching on Netflix in autumn 2019.

His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials the TV series

His Dark Materials is based on Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy adventure novel series of the same name.

The book follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes.

The BBC adaptation stars Dafne Keen (Logan), Ruth Wilson (Luther), James McAvoy (Atonement), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns), and is directed by Tom Hooper (Oscar-winning director of The King’s Speech).

Filming on His Dark Materials wrapped in December 2018, with predicting a 2019 air date.

War of the Worlds

Eleanor Tomlinson and Rafe Spall in War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds is based on HG Wells’ 1989 novel of the same name, the original and arguably the best alien invasion story of all time.

Set in Edwardian England, this new adaptation of The War of the Worlds follows George (played by Rafe Spall) and his partner Amy (Eleanor Tomlinson) as they face the escalating terror of an alien invasion, fighting for their lives against an enemy beyond their comprehension. Robert Carlyle and Rupert Graves will also star.

War of the Worlds doesn’t have a release date yet, but it will air on BBC One in 2019.


George Clooney in the TV adaptation of Catch-22

Joseph Heller’s celebrated satirical novel is being made into a much-anticipated TV series featuring Hollywood star George Clooney.

Catch-22 is the story of the incomparable, artful dodger, Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), a US Air Force bombardier in World War II who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him.

But his real problem is not the enemy, but rather his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.

Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to avoid his military assignments, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule which specifies that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers which are real and immediate is the process of a rational mind.

Under the rule, a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but a request to be removed from duty is evidence of sanity and therefore makes him ineligible to be relieved from duty.

Catch-22 began on Channel 4 in June 2019.

You season 2

You series two

The first season of You on Netflix was based on Caroline Kepnes’ psychological thriller novel of the same name.

Season 2 has begun filming, and will be based on Kepnes’ sequel, Hidden Bodies.

In Hidden Bodies, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) ventured to Los Angeles to start afresh, to forget about what happened in New York (the premise of book one).

But in a darkened room in Soho House, everything suddenly changes...

You season 2 doesn’t have a release date on Netflix, but we expect it to land on Netflix in late 2019.


Claes Bang, star of BBC One's 2019 adaptation of Dracula

Dracula is the latest reimagining of the famous 1897 Gothic horror novel by author Bram Stoker.

Written and created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock), this TV adaptation will reintroduce the world to Dracula (played by Danish actor Claes Bang, above).

In Transylvania in 1897, the blood-drinking Count is drawing his plans against Victorian London.

As well as Bang, the series will also star Joanna Scanlan (The Thick Of It), Dolly Wells (Doll and Em, Jonathan Aris (Sherlock) and Clive Russell (Game Of Thrones).

A release date for Dracula has not been confirmed, but it’s thought to air on BBC One in late 2019.

The Expatriates

Nicole Kidman in The Expatriates

The Expatriates is a TV adaptation of the book by Janice Y. K. Lee, following three women in a close-knit expatriate community in Hong Kong.

It’s a compelling story that explores the strength of the women as they persevere through struggles with marriage, career, parenting and unimaginable loss.

Nicole Kidman’s production company Blossom Films (responsible for Big Little Lies) are making the original series for Amazon.

A release date for The Expatriates on Prime Video has not yet been announced.


Rose Williams in ITV's new adaptation of Sandition

Jane Austen’s unfinished final book, Sanditon is about to get the small screen treatment.

Adapted by period drama king Andrew Davies, who previously serialised Pride and Prejudice for the BBC, the story follows spirited, and unconventional heroine Charlotte Heywood and chronicles her spiky relationship with the charming but wild Sidney Parker.

When Charlotte, played by Rose Williams (Curfew), suffers an accident, she unexpectedly finds herself transported from her rural home of Willingden to the up-and-coming seaside town of Sanditon.

Downton Abbey’s Theo James joins Williams as Sidney, while Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) plays Lady Denham and Kris Marshall (Death in Paradise) stars as Tom Parker.

A release date for Sanditon has not yet been announced, but it’s thought to air on ITV in late 2019.