Why the 'Discworld' Novels Deserve a TV Adaptation

I think that 'Discworld' deserves the full television treatment; 'Discworld' should be an anthology series.

In terms of popular culture, it's never been a better time to be a #SciFi and #Fantasy fan. Growing up, the ever-expanding world of books was a refuge from the world, where I could disappear into fantastical lands or the far future. These days, while there are still brilliant sci-fi and fantasy novels being written and published every day, there are other options, too.

Cinema has always been a place to go for escapism, and the success of movies like Arrival, and the excitement for the upcoming Alien: Covenant shows that there is still a market for science fiction movies peddling big ideas. But, perhaps more so than the cinema, television is the place to go for the really interesting stuff.

#GameOfThrones, an adaptation of George R. R. Martin's ever-popular Song Of Ice And Fire fantasy saga, has shown that fantasy - if done right - can be much more than hokey swords-and-sandals silliness.

After Game Of Thrones caught fire, I was always hopeful that it would prompt more companies to look to bring some fantasy classics to the screen. And that seems to be happening.

One of the main beneficiaries of the trend right now seems to be Neil Gaiman. His epic American Gods has been adapted for TV by the Starz network (and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime video for non-Americans).

Not only that, but the author will also be adapting some of his own work for the small screen. #GoodOmens, a comic fantasy novel that he co-wrote with his friend, the late, great, Terry Pratchett. That, too, will be broadcast via Amazon Prime Video, and then later by the BBC in 2018.

It's great that all this is happening, and I will be glued to the screen when American Gods debuts this year, and then again next year when Good Omens is on. But with all these big fantasy adaptations getting the green light, I have one burning question: why is no one adapting the #Discworld #novels for TV?

I know that there have been some. In the UK, Sky One produced three "made for TV movies", adapting The Colour Of Magic (with elements from The Light Fantastic also included), Hogfather and Going Postal. These one-off specials certainly had their good points and charm, but I think the Discworld deserves the full television treatment: the Discworld should be an anthology series.

What is the Discworld?

OK, so maybe I have got ahead of myself. Maybe you're thinking "what the hell is the Discworld, and why should I care?". The Discworld series was written by Terry Pratchett until his untimely death in 2015. There are 41 in all. Though the series began its life as a straight-up parody of the fantasy genre, but over time evolved into a razor sharp satire of...well, pretty much everything.

The flat world is carried atop four elephants, who are in turn stood on the shell of the turtle Great A'Tuin as he slowly swims through space. Many of the stories within the Discworld are set in the city of Ankh-Morpork, a bustling, crumbling metropolis modeled partly on London, New York, Prague and Florence.

How would a Discworld series work?

Pratchett's novels are both laugh-out-loud funny and whip-smart, with amazingly detailed character and a mythology and science all of their own. I think it would work as an anthology series simply because there are so many stories to tell that trying to cram them all into a series centred around one main character would be redundant.

Instead, spread the stories out. Some seasons could follow the Ankh-Morpork City Watch and fan favourite character Sam Vimes. With eight novels stretching from Guards! Guards! (1989) to Snuff (2011), there would be plenty to cover. Likewise, we could follow Rincewind and the wizards of the Unseen University, detailing our reluctant hero running away from heroism from The Colour Of Magic (1983) right through to the invention of soccer (football) in 2009's Unseen Academicals.

How would a Discworld series work?

The sheer volume of stories means that the showrunners could go anywhere. Burnt out on the City Watch? Spend a season with the vampires, werewolves and dwarves of Uberwald. Or with the witches, or maybe some time with Death and his horse, Binky. The possibilities are almost endless. It could be the next big fantasy series. Let's just hope someone makes it happen.

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Why the 'Discworld' Novels Deserve a TV Adaptation
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