Lockdown in the U.K. is set to start easing in the coming months. But with many of us still spending most of our time at home, I’ve been coping with the challenges of quarantine and working from home by not only reading but by spending an inordinate amount of binge-worthy hours streaming Netflix TV shows. Unsurprisingly, I’m not the only one.
According to the Daily Mail newspaper, Netflix users watched on average a whopping 6 billion hours per month in 2020. In the last year, Netflix has gained far more subscribers and revenue than any other streaming platform, including leading competitors such as Now TV and Disney+.
As well as attempting to incorporate more health conscious activities into my daily routine, I can often be found perusing the many-layered shelves of Netflix recommendations, eager to see what awaits me along the Based on Books aisle. Some of the TV shows and films I have watched from this collection have been entertaining enough to make me want to read the source material, which is an uncommon approach for me. I would normally read the book first so that I can watch the adaptation with a bookworm’s the-book-was-better pre-bias, but in the case of the following shows/movies, I made a few exceptions. Here are the books I want to read because of Netflix.
Caution: The following shows are not suitable for younger viewers.
Shadow And Bone (2021, 1 Season)
Fans of Leigh Bardugo’s epic Grishaverse trilogy were thrilled at the news of an upcoming Netflix adaptation, especially considering their plans to include everyone’s favourite Barrel rats, Kaz, Jesper and Inej from the much beloved duology Six of Crows. Shadow And Bone was recently released in April of this year and received widespread acclaim.
Shadow And Bone is set in a high fantasy land where enhanced beings known a Grisha have the power to control earth’s elements, such as wind, fire or even a person’s heart. Alina Starkov (played by Jessie Mei Li) is a humble orphan from the politically divided country Ravka. She grows up to join the Ravkan first army as part of the cartography unit and whilst on a dangerous mission across the Shadowfold, her immense power of summoning the sun suddenly awakens. As well as drawing the attention of Aleksander Kirigan (Ben Barnes), General of the second army, word of Alina’s existence travels as far as the Isle of Kerch, where criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) and his gang take on a job to capture her.
This is a short 8-episode series that was brimming with iconic moments and exciting new developments. The casting as well as the acting was perfection, especially Jesper (Kit Young) and I await the release of the second season with barely contained anticipation!
To read my review of the Six of Crows duology, click here.
And to see my full review of the Netflix show, check out the video below!
Behind Her Eyes (2021, 1 Season)
Behind Her Eyes is a psychological thriller about a single-mum, Louise Barnsley (played by Simona Brown) who works in a psychiatry practise. She starts having an affair with her boss, Dr. David Ferguson (played by Tom Bateman) and after a surprise encounter, unwittingly becomes friends with his wife, Adele (played by Eve Hewson) in whom Louise confides about her night terrors. I found this show to be full of surprising twists and turns, mind-bending and racy. Behind Her Eyes has a total of 6 episodes, all just about 50 minutes long.
It is based on the 2017 book of the same name by Sarah Pinborough which was published by HarperCollins.
The White Tiger (2021)
Set in India, The White Tiger is a film about the life of Balram Halwai (played by Adarsh Gourav), a fiercely ambitious man who was born into poverty but manages to change his fortunes, by becoming a chauffeur for a rich Indian family and eventually going on to become a successful entrepreneur. The White Tiger was released this year in 2021 and has a running time of 2 hours 5 minutes. It has received an acclaimed response, such that it picked up an Oscar nomination for Best adapted screenplay. I loved the raw honesty of this film. It starkly depicts the negative effects of classist structures and caste-based discrimination, rampant in India. There is also an uncomfortable sense of dread throughout this movie. I was tense with anticipation whilst watching it.
The White Tiger is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Aravind Adiga which was published in 2008 by Atlantic Books (UK) and won the Man Booker prize in the same year.
Alice In Borderland (2020, 1 Season)
Alice in Borderland is about a hardcore gamer called Ryōhei Arisu (played by Kento Yamazaki) who together with his best friends, Daikichi (Keita Machida) and Chōta (Yūki Morinaga) find themselves transported into a completely deserted Tōkyō. In this dystopian ‘Borderland’ they are forced to participate in deadly games in order to survive. I was completely entranced by the bizarreness of this show. It has a suspenseful, nightmarish edge where the stakes are high and no one is safe. Fans of other popular death game films and TV shows (anime) such as The Hunger Games or Battle Royale will enjoy the adrenaline-pumping energy of this show.
Alice in Borderland was adapted from the Japanese manga Imawa no kuni no Alice (今際の国のアリス) which was written and illustrated by Haro Aso. It was initially released in 2010 in Shounen Sunday Super (週刊少年サンデーS) monthly magazine. The Netflix adaptation is 8 episodes long and due to a widely positive reception, Netflix has confirmed that a second season will be released this year. YES!
Bitten (2016, 3 Seasons)
Bitten is a supernatural crime thriller about the double life of Elena Michaels (played by Laura Vandervoort). She is a young photographer from Toronto, Canada who lives with her successful and gorgeous boyfriend, Philip McAdams (Paul Greene). But she has a secret, one she is desperately trying to escape from. Elena is a werewolf and the only female one in existence at that. When a string of gruesome murders occur near Stonehaven, the home of her fellow wolves, Elena must embody all of her true self in order to defend her pack. Bitten is full of titillating mystery and suspense. This bingeable show will appeal to fans of the sexy supernatural as it has all the fanservice you could possibly want.
Bitten is based on the book of the same name that was written by Kelley Armstrong. It was originally published in 2001 but many newer editions has since been released. Bitten is the first book in Armstrong’s Women Of The Otherworld series. The Netflix adaptation currently has 3 seasons to watch, all 10 episodes long.
So, the moral of the story is; wear a mask, hydrate and watch more Netflix. But seriously jokes aside, let me know what you think about book-to-movie/TV adaptations in general and please take the time to vote in the above poll before you leave. If the poll doesn’t come up on your screen, try accessing it from a desktop browser.