Bookmark these TV series based on books and comics

'The Outsider' starring Cynthia Erivo is based on Stephen King’s 2018 novel of the same name. Photo: HBO

If reading a book, a graphic novel or whatever gets a little too much as we enter another week of movement control order, then here are six TV shows based on various written works, that you can watch instead.

The Outsider

Based on Stephen King’s 2018 novel, this creepy 10-episode murder mystery stars Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo and Jason Bateman.

The story starts out like a procedural, with an intriguing police investigation into the killing of a child.

Although the “killer” is quickly apprehended, as he never tried to hide his identity, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Never mind the killer is one of the town’s most upstanding citizens, but he claims he was out of town on the day of the murder. Was it his doppelganger?

Since this is from King’s mind, nothing is simple or predictable on this show.

Besides brilliant performances from the cast, the music adds another layer of tension to the already suspenseful premise.

Available on HBO Go.

Itaewon Class

Any project with actor Park Seo-joon is worth checking out, because he sure knows how to pick winners. Here, he brings to life another memorable character – Park Saeroyi.

Based on the webtoon by Jo Gwang-jin (who also wrote the 16-episode K-drama), it tells of a young man who is not willing to compromise his principles and beliefs.

In the first episode, we see him defending a classmate from being bullied. This action leads him to being expelled from the school as the bully is the son of a powerful man.

His refusal to turn a blind eye to an injustice leads him down an extremely challenging path.

Along the way, he makes new friends and allies who are willing to follow his lead. This includes an enigmatic, albeit somewhat psychopathic, young woman Jo Yi-seo (a remarkable Kim Da-mi) who becomes his right-hand (wo)man.

There is also revenge and romance, as well as twists and turns, thrown into the mix.

The series also expands the K-drama scope a little by featuring a number of unique supporting characters like a transgender and an African actor.

Available on Netflix.

His Dark Materials

A drama series based on Philip Pullman’s excellent trilogy of fantasy novels that’s set in another universe.

The TV adaptation’s first season has eight episodes and a second season, consisting of another eight episodes, has been ordered.

Thankfully, the series does a far, far, better job with Pullman’s rather complicated world and characters than the big-budget 2007 film, The Golden Compass, ever did.

His Dark Materials centres on an orphan girl named Lyra (Dafne Keen), who finds herself in the midst of a great adventure when she goes in search of a missing friend.

On this adventure, she makes plenty of new pals (including one fearsome and awesome polar bear by the name of Iorek Byrnison), as well as enemies (the biggest being the cruel corporation called the Magisterium).

Available on HBO Go.

The Boys

This show is based on the comics by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, who serve as the series’ co-producers.

The Boys’ first season came out in the middle of last year, and the second season is scheduled to be out this year.

It is set in a world where people with super powers behave really badly and get away with it.

Luckily, a group of vigilantes wants to put a stop to this absurd behaviour.

The fun in watching The Boys does not only lie in figuring out which Bizarro version of Marvel and DC superheroes are featured here, but also in watching the non-powered individuals do their thing.

Available on Amazon Prime Video.


OK, if you want to get technical, this nine-episode series should not be on this list as it is not a direct adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel, which was set in the year 1985.

This 2019 TV show is actually a sequel: It takes place 34 years after the events at the end of that 12-issue comic book, placing it firmly in the present day.

Why is it on this list then?

Well, because both revolve around masked vigilantes, and like Moore’s novel – which takes place at the height of the Cold War – this story set in 2019 tackles the themes of nuclear annihilation and discrimination.

Plus, the series is so good and features the talents of Regina King, Jeremy Irons and Jean Smart.

Available on HBO Go.


This Joseon zombie K-drama is based on the webtoon Land Of The Gods, written by Kim Eun-hee who also serves as the show’s writer.

Starring Ju Ji-hoon, Bae Doo-na and Kim Sung-kyu, the series is already into its second season (six episodes per season) and the story is definitely something you'd want to, erm, bite into.

In the first season, a zombie outbreak happens in a kingdom that is already suffering from famine.

But not only are those in power unwilling to help out, they actually make matters worse. In the second season, Kingdom shifts its focus from the great divide between the rich and the poor to more pressing matters, such as feeding the hungry, ensuring the safety of everyone, and taking down the bad guys.

The series’ biggest appeal is, of course, the game of thrones, as everybody wants to rule this kingdom.

Also if you want your zombies to move at a manic pace and like eye-popping action sequences, definitely check Kingdom out.

Available on Netflix.

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the outsider , itaewon class , kingdom , watchmen


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