Today Netflix announced plans to adapt the childhood classic Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events as a Netflix original series. Paramount took a crack at Unfortunate Events for the big screen back in 2004 with Jim Carrey, but since then the 13th and final installment of the book series has hit shelves, giving Netflix plenty of fresh material to work with. Considering that Netflix has a track record of knocking it out of the park with its originals, we’re pretty excited to see where this goes. Given that Netflix is currently in a position to make pretty much whatever it wants, the idea got us thinking: What other iconic young adult series would make for some binge worthy viewing? Here are five of our best ideas:
The Golden Compass
This is another series that’s already had a chance at the box office, but despite a lush adaptation that featured the voice of Liam Neeson and the frosty face of Nicole Kidman, the movie didn’t deliver the Harry Potter-like fandom that the studio was hoping for. Still, the story has the kind of epic scope and complex characters that today’s TV audiences go crazy for and a tough-but-brilliant female heroine sure to appeal to the “Katniss Everdeen generation.” Last year, a rumor circulated that Netflix was planning to adapt Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series as a sort of family-friendly Game of Thrones. Call me crazy but I’m pretty sure the continuing adventures of Lyra Belaqua could fill that niche perfectly. The Golden Compass is the first and most beloved book of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, meaning there’s plenty of story to work with. It’s set in a world that blends pieces of Victorian England with the modern day and includes just enough magic to keep things interesting without delving into full sword and sorcery territory. With a few tweaks it could be the next big thing on The CW but I think Netflix is the only place that could really do it justice.
Stop laughing this is actually an excellent idea. The long-running book series about kids who gain the power to morph into animals in order to fight off an alien invasion does feels a little bit ’90s. However, these days, a little bit of ’90s can take you pretty far (see Netflix’s mystifying Full House reboot). In 2015, the entertainment landscape is dominated by YA franchises about teenagers who have to fight back against an oppressive system, and in that respect, Animorphs is the OG of YA franchises. The Animorph kids had to face off against an invisible conspiracy organized by the alien Yerks, brain controlling slugs who are equal parts corny and terrifying. At the start of the books, the aliens have already co-opted many of the people in power creating a sort of invisible dystopia set in the present day. All this series needs is a bit of updating and an VFX budget big enough to turn those iconic morphing covers into a reality.
This has already been done, but I think Netflix could do it even better. With hundreds of books in the series and hundreds of stories from the genuinely scary to the hilariously corny, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series is just begging to be adapted as a Ryan Murphy-style horror anthology series. Think of it as Are You Afraid Of The Dark for the millennial generation. Each season will feature a cast of kids thrust into one of the franchise’s bone chilling stories, but since this is Netflix we can amp up the fear factor to 11. Given the amount of books in the series, a Goosebumps anthology could run for years without ever running out of material. Since it’s an anthology we can mix up the cast every season, giving the dozens of child actors churned out by Disney and Nickelodeon something to do with their late teens and early twenties (if they don’t feel like becoming pop stars).
A Wrinkle In Time
This one had a chance at being a movie as well, but the less said about that the better. Madeline L’engle’s A Wrinkle In Time has everything that a teen TV drama needs in 2015. Meg Murry is a smart but relatable outcast who’s inherited the natural curiosity and mathematical acumen of her mysteriously missing scientist father. You heard that right, folks. Strong, but relatable female protagonist: check, absentee parents allowing for maximum adventure with minimum consequences: check, a lead character whose main super power is STEM subjects: CHECK. Not only would A Wrinkle In Time make a great Netflix miniseries, it would probably be eligible for a government funding grant for it’s strong positive portrayal of woman (and witches) in mathematics and the sciences.
J.K. Rowling has basically refused to stop adding on to the Harry Potter universe. Since the original series wrapped, the iconic author has dropped a few supplemental stories and is currently working on Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them, a film starring Eddie Redmayne set in the Harry Potter universe. Why not let Rowling take a page from the Marvel handbook and launch a TV series on Netflix as well? She’s hinted on Twitter that there’s more to the wizarding world than we’ve seen on the page or on the screen, including an American wizarding community with its own heroes, villains, and institutes of higher learning. Let’s flash forward to 2015 and let Netflix show us what magic looks like across the pond in the land of iPhones and Big Macs.