Movies & TV / Columns

Which Stephen King Book Should Get a Television Adaptation?

January 30, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Eyes of the Dragon

Stephen King’s new novel is called Billy Summers and will be published by Scribner on August 3rd. That’s great news for his fans and book enthusiasts in general. The book tells the story of a killer for hire who is the best in the business. His one rule is he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. But now Billy wants out so of course he has to do one last hit. Billy, one of the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done, finds out just what could go wrong in this scenario. Everything.

Per the book’s publisher Scriber, Billy Summers is “part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.”

Any fan of King’s work knows he has a plethora of properties that are ripe for the picking. Not only that, he has a number of properties that are in some form of production or another. Then you have everything he’s already done and could use a reboot or fresh take like The Running Man,  which could be rebooted for TV. 

Or take The Eyes of the Dragon. You might be a little confused at this one as it’s not the standard King novel. In the theme of medieval fantasy, The Eyes of the Dragon is more about magic and good vs evil on a bigger scale. While this book has been rumored to be in development several times, nothing has materialized. I’m thinking this is ripe for HBO to get involved and give it the treatment it deserves.

If you’re looking for something on a smaller scale, King’s 1994 Insomnia could translate well. Focusing on a widower who’s suffering from insomnia and starts to see things that others aren’t, it plays to a number of familiar King themes. The book itself is 800 pages so there’s plenty of meat on the bone for writers to pick from. This would be ideal for a television series, as it has plenty of layers for exploration.

If I had to pick one King property to bring to life on the small screen, it would be his first novel (under the pseudonym Richard Bachman), Rage. While this book came out in 1977, it could very well be written today. Rage takes a look at a school shooting and does so in vivid and raw ways. King himself has interesting thoughts on the book and doubts about how it would be received. I think it would be a huge step at looking at real issues in a “King” sort of way.

Last on my list is King’s The Long Walk. If you’re a fan of The Man in the High Castle, you’ll see why this would do well. It’s an alternate history piece that explores what happens when the Germans have all but won World War II. I believe Frank Darabont has acquired the rights but has done nothing with them. Alternative history is a slice that’s ready to be explored in movies and TV so this one is a relatively safe bet.

Which King property would you like to see on the small screen?

article topics :

Stephen King, Steve Gustafson