A recap of the year so far, plus what’s in store this month

2021 is already off to a good start – well, on screen, anyway!

With the pandemic closing our cinemas, many of us have turned more and more to online streaming services like Netflix, Disney +, Apple TV and Amazon Prime to get our fix of the big screen.

And demand for these services isn’t the only thing that’s increased during the pandemic – many of us have turned to books, and the eight year high in book sales is testament to how many of us have grabbed a novel for that fix of escapism.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that book to screen adaptations are set to soar this year, with everything from period dramas to thrillers, fantasy, horror and drama.

We’ve rounded up some of this year’s best page to screen adaptations so far, as well as a few we’re looking forward to for this month. 

– January –

Bridgerton

Bridgerton was technically released over Christmas, but Bridgerton mania hit HARD in January. Think Jane Austen meets Fifty Shades of Grey and you’ll get a feel for why this show based on the Julia Quinn book series had so many viewers hooked and swooning. However, it’s not all scandal and afternoon tea – in fact, our very own Juliette here at Screen Bunny vouches for the show’s ability to touch on important issues. Plus, spearheaded by Shonda Rimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder), the show is not led by the standard period drama cast of all-white faces – it’s got a diverse cast that’s a welcome difference to many shows in the same genre.

Where to watch: Netflix

WandaVision

There’s no doubt you’ll have heard about WandaVision by now. Whilst the storyline in the Disney+ series is a new imagining of Wanda and Vision’s domestic bliss, the comics also saw the two settle down in suburbia way back in the 70s. Without saying too much, the show follows Wanda Maximoff and Vision post-Thanos/Endgame as they lead seemingly normal lives in West View, New Jersey. However, in true Marvel style, there’s a lot bubbling away beneath the surface and each episode leaves a piece to slot into the overall puzzle of a show full of dark twists and turns, references and cameos. Despite what it may look like from the outside, it’s not a simple superhero sitcom – it’s an emotional insight into the origin and character arc of one of the most powerful Avengers.

Where to watch: Disney+ 

Lupin

Bridgerton isn’t the only show throwing it back for its inspiration – Lupin is led by Omar Sy as Assane Diop, a character inspired by gentleman thief and detective Arsène Lupin from Maurice Leblanc’s 1900s stories. Often dubbed France’s Sherlock Holmes, Arsène Lupin is a beloved figure in France, so show creators George Kay (Killing Eve) and François Uzan (Family Business) cleverly had the leading man influenced by the famous Lupin as opposed to trying to recreate him in the 21st century. Assane’s father dies after being framed for a crime, and 25 years on, Assane is determined to avenge him. Using a book of Lupin stories given to him by his father as his inspiration, Assane sets out to expose the man who set up his father using thievery, subterfuge, disguise, and of course, a healthy side of charisma from leading man Omar Sy.

Where to watch: Netflix

White Tiger

Based on the book by Aravind Adiga, the story follows an ambitious driver to a rich Indian family as he uses his wit and entrepreneurial spirit to escape the confines of poverty – with some unusual methods! The film is said to be an attack on India’s rigid caste system, and uses dark comedy to shed light on a system designed to keep the wealthy rich and privileged and the poor reliant on a life of servitude. Directed by Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, Fahrenheit 451) and executive produced by Ava DuVernay (13th, Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, newcomer and leading man Adarsh Gourav has garnered positive reviews for his performance.

Where to watch: Netflix

– February –

The Luminaries

Based on the Man Booker prize winning book by Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries follows Anna Wetherell as she travels from the UK to New Zealand in the height of the 1860s gold rush. Catton herself has said the screen adaptation is very different to the book, but either way, it’s said to be a tale of murder, magic, love and revenge.

Where to watch: BBC iPlayer

Firefly Lane

Based on the novel of the same name by Kristin Hannah, Firefly Lane sees Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke as best friends Tully and Kate, from teenagers in the 70s all the way to adulthood. The show follows the two women through over three decades of ups and downs. From what we’ve heard, it’s one to bring on a sense of nostalgia, initiate that warm fuzzy feeling and get you on the phone to your bestie.

Where to watch: Netflix

Behind Her Eyes

Based on the 2017 novel by Sarah Pinborough, this Netflix series follows single mum Louise, who works in a psychiatrist’s office. She begins an affair with her married boss David, while secretly befriending his mysterious wife. However, as love triangles often do, it takes a turn for the worse and Louise finds herself ensnared in a web of twisted secrets where nothing is what it appears to be.

Where to watch: Netflix

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

If you need something a little more saccharine, Netflix has also delivered the third installment in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series. The third and final movie in the series sees Lara Jean spend her summer away from Peter on a family holiday in South Korea and, as senior year progresses, sees her consider what her future looks like. With university looming, Lara Jean begins to evaluate how her adult life may shape up – and will it be with or without Peter?

Where to watch: Netflix

– March –

Cherry 

The Russo brothers may not be directing Marvel movies lately, but they’ve grabbed Spiderman actor Tom Holland for Cherry, a film that’s a far cry from the adventures of the boyish web-slinging superhero. Cherry is based on the novel of the same name by Nico Walker, and in a nutshell, follows an army medic with PTSD who begins robbing banks to fund his opioid addiction. Speaking to GQ about the role, Holland said: “This role took me to some of the darkest places I have ever been, emotionally, physically, anythingly…I would never go back there again, not for anyone. I am pleased I did it, but that door is now closed and locked.” 

Where to watch: Apple TV

Shadow and Bone

Based on the hugely popular Grishaverse trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, this fantasy series is led by orphan Alina Starkov, who joins an elite army of magical soldiers known as the Grisha in an attempt to set her war-torn country free. As Alina struggles to hone her power, she discovers nothing is what it seems. The series will also include characters from Six of Crows, a hugely popular book in the same universe, so we can expect to see The Dregs, a gang of thieves led by the cunning Kaz Brekker.

Where to watch: Netflix

Chaos Walking

If you’re a fan of Tom Holland, March is the month for you as he’ll also star in Chaos Walking opposite Daisy Ridley and accompanied by Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas and David Oyelowo. Chaos Walking, based on Patrick Ness’s dystopian sci-fi series of the same name, is set in a world where men are affected “the Noise”, a force that puts their thoughts on display. The name comes from a line in the first book: “The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.” In this world, there are no women as they have been wiped out by a biological warfare disease – that is, until Viola crash-lands onto Todd’s planet. In her new reality, Viola’s life is threatened and Todd vows to protect her. To do this, he must discover his own inner power as well as the dark secrets of his planet.

Where to watch: available to stream 2 April 2021

Which book to screen releases have you enjoyed so far this year, and which are you looking forward to for the rest of the year? Let us know!

 

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