25 Best Netflix TV Shows Based on Books As Rated by IMDB

Reading a book can be stimulating but watching actors depict the characters and bring them to life in a TV show is even more invigorating. Looking at a list of some of the best Netflix TV shows based on books, it is easy to conclude that books are getting more attention than ever and inspiring new projects in the film industry. While Netflix TV shows based on books are nothing new, this list focuses on the ones with the best ratings from authorities like IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and TV.com.

These Are 25 Best Netflix TV Shows Based on Books

Different genres from action to comedy, romance, horror, and even real-life stories are available for everyone.

1. Anne With An E

  • IMDb: 8.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
  • Google users: 98%

Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote 9 books under the Anne of Green Gables book series and this is the second one to be adapted into a TV show. Most of the books were written in the early 1900s with the last one finished in 1942 before the passing of the author but published in 2009. Anne with an E, in particular, was originally written in 1908, and on March 19, 2017, it premiered on TV, first on CBC before Netflix snagged it in May. The TV series follows elderly siblings who live together as they never got married. They decide to adopt a boy from the orphanage but when the child arrives, it was a young girl named Anne instead.

The Netflix series was widely received upon its premiere and won many awards, including a Canadian Screen Award for Best Dramatic Series. Issues like child abandonment, gender inequality, racism, and other societal issues are tackled in the TV series. The show was concluded in the third season which was released in 2019.

2. The Crown

  • IMDB: 8.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
  • TV.com: 8.5/10

Despite some historical anomalies within the TV program, The Crown is a blend of history and fiction lauded for the impeccable acting and overall making of the series. Peter Morgan takes credit for creating and writing the series with inspiration from his 2006 drama film The Queen and award-winning play The Audience.

The Netflix-original drama follows the life of Queen Elizabeth from when she married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 before she ascended the throne following the death of her father King George VI. Four seasons of the series have been released and the fifth and sixth instalments are underway before it’s a wrap for The Crown. Despite the criticism that came with the fourth season, the TV series has bagged many awards and received rave reviews as well. At the Primetime Emmy Awards alone, The Crown has recorded thirty-nine nominations.

3. The Haunting of Hill House

  • IMDB: 8.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
  • TV.com: 8.9/10
Netflix TV shows based on books
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A 1959 horror novel written by Shirley Jackson inspired this Netflix series of the same name. The book swept positive ratings from critics and replicated the feat on the TV series which Netflix first aired on October 12, 2018. Not entirely following the story from the novel, The Haunting of Hill House adopted the characters to tell the story of a family of seven living in a mansion in a bid to renovate and sell it but along the line, paranormal occurrences cause them to flee after recording a tragic loss.

The supernatural drama TV series was created by Mike Flanagan who also directed it. Flanagan is creating an anthology series named The Haunting and The Haunting of Hill House is the first entry.

4. Mindhunter

  • IMDB:  8.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
  • TV.com: 8.7/10

The non-fiction crime book “Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit” authored by retired FBI agent John E. Douglas and his writing collaborator Mark Olshaker inspired this Netflix project. Indeed a true-crime-centric thriller, Mindhunter follows the activities of FBI agents in the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit. Agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench are tasked with invading the minds of serial killers in the bid to solve crimes by understanding how they think.

The first season of the series was released on 13 October 2017 while the last one, which is the second season, dropped on 16 August 2019. In January 2020, Netflix pressed the pause button on the production indefinitely.

5. The Queen’s Gambit

  • IMDB: 8.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
  • Google users: 97%
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Adapted from Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel of the same name, The Queen’s Gambit is set in the 1950s/1960s United States and follows a young orphan Beth Harmon who’s obsessed with the game of chess. She achieves success as a chess prodigy but the prominence came with a big price. Scott Frank wrote and directed the TV series and teamed up with Allan Scott to create it.

The first episode of The Queen’s Gambit dropped on October 23, 2020, and hit the ground running. It attracted awards and recognition from different levels with Netflix mapping it out as the network’s biggest limited series so far. In just four weeks following its premiere, The Queen’s Gambit became the most-watched scripted miniseries on Netflix. It also bagged two Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie. The series is still in the first season with seven episodes.

6. Sacred Games

  • IMDB: 8.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
  • Google users: 95%

Netflix travelled down to Asia to bring this original Indian crime thriller, the first on the network. The web series is based on the novel of the same name written by Vikram Chandra in 2006 and follows the story of police officer Sartaj Singh as he combs through Mumbai in search of criminal overlord Ganesh Gaitonde. Being dropped from the case officially didn’t stop Singh from unveiling some secrets of the underworld and working hard to save his city of Mumbai.

The series was produced and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap. With the original language being Hindi, Netflix released the first season on July 5, 2018, with subtitles in more than 20 languages. The second and last season premiered on August 15, 2019, and like the first, received positive reviews from critics.

7. Outlander

  • IMDb: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
  • TV.com: 8.9/10

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If you love the idea of time travel, Outlander will take you back centuries ago as a World War II combat nurse is sent to 1743 in Scotland where she juggles keeping herself alive and navigating through time. The Netflix project mixes romance, danger, adventure, and drama in this historical drama. The story is an adaptation of one of Diana Gabaldon’s novel series of the same title. Starring Caitriona Balfe in the main role as Claire Randall, the first season of the show was taken from the first novel of the book series and premiered on August 9, 2014, with 16 episodes. The second novel titled Dragonfly in Amber is what the 13 episodes of the second season are based on and it aired in 2016. The series has been renewed for a sixth instalment based on A Breath of Snow and Ashes, one of the novels from the book series.

8. The Last Kingdom

  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
  • TV.com: 8.8/10

Adapted from the novel series known as The Saxon Stories by British author Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom premiered in 2015, first on BBC America and BBC Two, before Netflix acquired it in 2018. The British historical fiction TV series is set during the ninth and tenth centuries around the birth of England. The story revolves around Uhtred of Bebbanburg who is captured by a Danish warlord during an invasion of England. The young successor of Saxon earldom was thus raised by the Danes and years later, his loyalty is put to the test.

The series was originally released on 10th October 2015 and now has four seasons and 36 episodes in general. The Last Kingdom has also been renewed for a fifth season.

9. Unbelievable

  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
  • Google users: 91%
Netflix TV shows based on books
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The series is adapted from a real-life crime story of a teenage girl, Marie Adler, who was raped in her home by a masked man. The 18-year-old Washington State resident faces re-victimization by detectives who think she is making up the story. Created by Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman, and Michael Chabon, the Netflix miniseries is based on a 2015 news article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” and a 2018 book “A False Report” written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong.

A Netflix original, Unbelievable, was released to critical acclaim on September 13, 2019. The book on the true-crime story was published on 6 February 2018.

10. Babylon Berlin

  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Google users: 93%
Netflix series based on books
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Babylon Berlin is an adaptation of novels by German author Volker Kutscher which chronicles events that took place during the Weimar Republic. The series is set in Berlin from 1929 and focuses on Police Inspector Gereon Rath who is on a mission against Berlin’s biggest pornography rings.

Sky 1 entertainment channel premiered it in Germany on 13th October 2017 with sixteen episodes – eight for season one and the other half for season two. The first two seasons were later released in the United States, Australia, and Canada by Netflix. Season three premiered on Sky 1 on 24 January 2020, with the fourth season announced for 2021.

11. Kingdom

  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
  • Google users: 95%
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Kingdom is Netflix’s first original Korean series. The series is based on the webcomic series “The Kingdom of the Gods” authored by Kim Eun-hee and drawn by Yang Kyung-il. It follows a prince who has to fight off enemies to protect his people. Written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kin Seong-hun, the Netflix original series premiered on January 25, 2019.

Following a critically acclaimed first outing, the second season of Kingdom was released on March 13, 2020. A sidequel of the series titled Kingdom: Ashin of the North is expected in 2021. The sidequel will focus on Jun Ji-Hyun’s character Ashin.

12. The Witcher

  • IMDb: 8.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
  • Google users: 95%

Henry Cavill shows he can still fight evil without his Superman suit in his role as Geralt of Rivia on The Witcher TV series. The TV show is based on a book series of the same name written by a Polish author named Andrzej Sapkowski. Its setting is that of a fictional region known as “the Continent” where the legend of Geralt of Rivivia and princess Ciri is explored.

Netflix dropped all eight episodes of the first season on December 20th in 2019 with the next instalment coming in 2021. The first two seasons are based on a collection of short stories – The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny which come before the main Witcher stories. This means the first and second seasons of The Witcher are just the tip of the iceberg.

13. Orange Is the New Black

  • IMDb: 8.1/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
  • Google users: 95%

When Orange Is the New Black dropped its first episode on the 11th of July 2013, it did not just attract favourable reviews from critics and audiences, the Netflix original show also received massive attention at the awards and has been on the winning streak since then. The American comedy-drama was created by Jenji Kohan for Netflix, based on the memoir “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” by Piper Kerman.

For the first season, the TV series swept 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning three. Four more Emmy nominations followed the second season with other award bodies like Golden Globe and Peabody Award giving it recognition. So far, Orange Is the New Black is Netflix’s longest-running original series and the most-watched TV show on the network.

14. Unorthodox

  • IMDB: 8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
  • Google users: 95%
Netflix series based on books
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Aside from setting a record as the first series on the network with Yiddish as the main language, Unorthodox is an adaptation of Deborah Feldman’s autobiography titled “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots”. It follows the story of a Jewish young woman who seeks a new beginning in a foreign land after escaping an arranged marriage. The characters are different from the ones in the book but the story remains the same.

A Netflix original series, the miniseries made a first appearance on Netflix on March 26, 2020, sweeping eight Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won one for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series (Maria Schrader).

15. The Umbrella Academy

  • IMDB: 8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
  • TV.com: 8.3/10

In the American superhero streaming television series, wealthy industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven out of 43 children born to different women who were not pregnant a day before their mysterious births which took place in one day. The billionaire creates The Umbrella Academy where the children are trained to save the world but circumstances cause them to go their separate ways only to reconvene after their father passed on.

The TV series is based on Gerard Way’s comic book series of the same title but was created for Netflix by Steve Blackman and developed by Jeremy Slater. The network released the first season on February 15, 2019, attracting over 45 million viewers in one month. The second season was released on July 31, 2020, to critical acclaim and the series was renewed for a third season in November 2020.

16. Altered Carbon

  • IMDB: 8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
  • TV.com: 8.6

A cyberpunk noir novel of the same title by Richard K. Morgan is what this futuristic American television series is based on and it takes us very deep into the future. Ever wondered what the world would look like 300 years from now? Altered Carbon has the answers, suggesting that death will no longer be permanent and human beings can be switched to different bodies at will. The series revolves around Takeshi Kovacs, a soldier who survives an uprising but has to pay a price to live again.

The series was cancelled after two seasons despite being well received by audiences. The first season was released on February 2, 2018, while the last part of the science-fiction drama was released on February 27, 2020. An anime film also came out of the series on March 19, 2020, but it was set before the first season.

17. Jessica Jones

  • IMDB: 7.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
  • TV.com: 8.5/10

A Netflix original, Marvel’s Jessica Jones follows the life of the mysterious title character who is one of the dark Marvel characters. However, Jessica’s time as a superhero was brief and she tries to settle down in a new life as the owner of a detective agency. Melissa Rosenberg created it for Netflix as a spin-off of Marvel’s Luke Cage, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Rosenberg had developed another version of the TV series for ABC in 2010 but the network didn’t pick it up. Now a Netflix property, the entirety of the first season was was released in one day on November 20, 2015, to rave reviews. A second season was released on March 8, 2018, and with the third season which dropped on June 14, 2019, Netflix decided to cancel the series.

18. Alias Grace

  • IMDB: 7.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
  • TV.com: 7.3/10
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Margaret Atwood’s historical novel Alias Grace provided the storyline for this Netflix, CBS Television series. Alias Grace is actually based on the true story of Grace Marks who was sentenced to life in prison following her conviction in a murder case involving her employee. The young Irish immigrant worked as a servant in Upper Canada where she was later accused of murdering her employer in 1843. The stablehand James McDermott was hanged as an accomplice to the murder.

Alias Grace is one of the few TV series with a real-life murder story and was directed and written by Mary Harron and Sarah Polley respectively. Margaret Atwood also authoured The Handmaid’s Tale.

19. A Series of Unfortunate Events

  • IMDB: 7.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
  • TV.com: 7.5/10

The thirteen children’s novel series written by American author Daniel Handler (pen name Lemony Snicket) became a TV series when Netflix released the first episode on 13 January 2017. The American black comedy-drama follows three orphans Violet, Sunny, and Klaus Baudelaire who are faced with challenges and tragedies while investigating the death of their parents.

The TV series follows the same storyline from the book series as developed by
Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld. The debut season of the show premiered on January 13, 2017, with eight episodes adapted from the first four books. The next five books were factored into the second season which was released on March 30, 2018, with ten episodes. The remaining four books make up the third season which was released on January 1, 2019, with seven episodes.

20. You

  • IMDb: 7.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
  • TV.com: 7.9/10

Penn Badgley portrays the charming bookstore manager Joe Goldberg who hides his dangerously obsessive personality underneath his innocent looks. He goes to any length possible, including murder, to possess the women he likes and would kill to cover up his tracks.

The Psychological thriller is taken from the crime novel by Caroline Kepnes which has the same title as the TV series. The author has similar works like “Hidden Bodies” and “You Love Me: A You Novel” to her credit. The first season of You was released in 2018 while the second instalment followed in 2019. A third season has also been hinted to be underway. So far, many murders have been committed by the innocent-looking Joe Goldberg and one of them was his first obsession. Thus, the excitement builds up among viewers as season three promises to be more thrilling.

21. The Liberator

  • IMDB: 7.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
  • Google users: 88%
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Based on Alex Kershaw’s book “The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey”, this Netflix original television series follows Maverick U.S. Army officer Felix “Shotgun” Sparks and his infantry unit as they fight for over 500 days for the liberation of Europe. It was originally released on November 11, 2020, to critical acclaim.

The American adult animated war drama miniseries has four episodes in one season and was created and written by Jeb Stuart while Greg Jonkajtys served as the director.

22. Dash and Lily

  • IMDB: 7.5/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  • Google users: 94%
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David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s “Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares” inspired this Netflix original TV series. The American romantic comedy series was created by Joe Tracz and follows two teens – the title characters, who meet during the Christmas holidays and nurture mutual romantic feelings as they keep in touch through a red notebook. A few differences might be noticed between the book and the TV series, particularly the ending.

The network has only churned out one season of Dash and Lily; the first one was released on November 10, 2020, with eight episodes. Since the show is adapted from a book series, more seasons are expected to be made from the list.

23. The Baby-Sitters Club

  • IMDB: 7.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
  • Google users: 91%

With just one season and 10 episodes out, audiences are already loving this Netflix production adapted from a children’s novel series of the same name. Rachel Shukert created the comedy-drama series for Netflix based on “The Baby-Sitters Club” by Ann M. Martin. The plot follows five middle-schoolers in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, as they go through the fun of friendship and adventure while building their own babysitting business.

Netflix released the first season on July 3, 2020, while the announcement for a second season came in October the same year.

24. Bridgerton

  • IMDB: 7.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
  • Google users: 96%

The series follows the Bridgerton siblings as they juggle the intricacies of lust, love, wealth, and betrayal around the Regency era in England. The period drama is based on the novel series of the same name by Julia Quinn. Bridgerton was created by Chris Van Dusen for Netflix.

Netflix premiered the series on December 25, 2020, to positive reception, leading to a renewal for a second season in January 2021. The first season also broke a record with its viewership of 82 million, standing out as the most-watched series on the network.

25. Daybreak

  • IMDB: 6.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
  • Google users: 89%

Combing through a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and gangs, 17-year-old Canadian high school outcast Josh Wheeler searches for his missing girlfriend with help from some misfits. Daybreak is based on the comic series of the same name by American alternative cartoonist Brian Ralph.

Created by Brad Peyton and Aron Eli Coleite for Netflix, the series premiered on October 24, 2019. By December 17, 2019, Netflix announced the cancellation of the series just after the first season.

Chux Dezman
Chux has been writing and editing for several major websites and publications for over 16 years, when he is not crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, you might catch him at home watching his favourite TV shows


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