Game of Thrones will be returning to HBO on April 24, and will notably mark the first season in which the continuing source material, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, has not yet been written. While the show has often leap-frogged over the books, moving it into as-yet unpublished storylines gives the GoT showrunners room to maneuver even further outside of Martin’s intentions, and will also leave fans completely in the dark about what may happen next. I’m excited.
Television based on books isn’t exactly new, but it does give readers a chance to immerse themselves even further in a story they love. It can also, as with this upcoming season of Game of Thrones, allow viewers to take a continued look at a story in ways even the author hadn’t yet conceived. But if dragons and battles aren’t your bag, or if you just need something else to help occupy your time until April 24, there are plenty of other series based on written material that are ready and waiting for your binge-watch. Take a peek at five of the best:
Diana Gabaldon’s time-traveling series is about to begin its second season on STARZ network, and I doubt fans of the books will be disappointed by the small-screen translation. The Scottish Highlands, the worlds of both the twentieth and eighteenth century and, yep, Jamie Fraser, are rendered picture-perfectly. The story remains fairly true—and may even enjoy some small narrative improvements.
Jason Mott’s novel, The Returned, was the inspiration for this two-season series that ran until 2015. The show takes us to a small US town where long-dead residents are somehow returning to life and home, overturning the peace their families strove to find—and creating emotional chaos where they haven’t.
As with Game of Thrones, AMC’s ratings juggernaut moves continually through source material, though not always in linear fashion. Nevertheless, the tension, diversity of characters and pure depth of desolation, humanity—and terror—make this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comics a most worthwhile watch.
Jennifer Worth’s memoir-trilogy acts as the foundation for this BBC drama, which just wrapped up its fifth season. The period story of a group of nuns and midwives servicing the women of London’s impoverished East End is honest and heart-wrenching, and offers a fascinating, if sometimes disturbing, look at the evolution of women’s social, sexual and reproductive health in the years following World War II.
Vampires, werewolves, and fairies—oh my. True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris’s The Southern Vampire Mysteries series and her heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, has completed its run, so that means you can binge on all seven seasons now. The cast is beautiful, the characters are original and the scenery is the perfect rendition of deep South bayou-Gothic.
What series will you be binge-watching this season? Let us know in the comments below!