Netflix’s adaptation of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series has become one of their most popular series. It’s got melodrama, drama drama, and people you can actually get heavily invested in. It sort of showed up out of nowhere, without all the lead-in and pomp and circumstance that Bridgerton has been getting since it was announced that Shondaland had acquired it. It helps that all they needed was some actors and a random town (or even just a few locations) in the wilds of Northern California (or honestly, wherever). So. Now that Netflix has seen what you can do with an interconnected romance novel series and a few costumes and sets, I have ideas for other series they can pick up.
Forbidden Hearts by Alisha Rai
This was the series that immediately came to mind when I thought “what can they make next?” as I sat reeling from the fact that there was no more Virgin River. It works very similarly to the re-envisioned world of the town of Virgin River. There are stories that can be laid atop each other and expanded upon. It’s set completely in this town, and therefore could be filmed essentially anywhere. And the melodrama, the drama drama, and the investment is all there for readers, so it would just be broadened in an ongoing series. And it has a set ending! What more can you ask for?
Off The Grid by Alyssa Cole
This one might need a little more as far as production goes, but it’s the perfect source material if Netflix is looking for post-apocalyptic-lite. And the first season would have super low production costs. As the story of a single family in the midst of the world suddenly being turned off—power, phones, access to the rest of the world—develops, the seasons can build and build, until we’ve gotten the answers we need. This one could go even further than the current series of books has gone, with the input of Alyssa herself, looking as what happens after.
The Connected Works of Rebekah Weatherspoon
The thing about Rebekah Weatherspoon’s contemporary self-published series is that they are all connected in some kind of way. So some of them take place in Los Angeles, while others take place in the wilds of Upstate New York. Others still take place in neither of those locations. But a lot of the characters have links to each other, and a few could be swung to make sure the series goes on forever with Weatherspoon-created characters. We’ll even get Treasure in there some kind of way. I would love to see all of the threads of So Sweet, Fit, Sanctuary, and Rafe (and the subsequent novels in each series) come together in one super-series, with a shelf life longer than Supernatural. A girl can dream, right?
The Love Sisters by Christina C. Jones
Out of the several book series Christina C. Jones has written, you might ask, why this one? CCJ has about 50 books to her name, with several series in that collection. But this is the one that I read first, so it’s stuck with me the hardest. Also, it’s hilarious, which isn’t always the case with her. The Love Sisters presents the opportunity for a romantic comedy series that can pull from a core source material and expand if necessary. Each sister has her own personality, and the series can even start with their relationships with each other before expanding into their love escapades. And there are some escapades.
Ravenswood by Talia Hibbert
Mix it up with some love across the pond! The people of Ravenswood, England, have great interconnected stories and interior lives that would make for a great series. The Kabbah twins are just the (amazing) beginning of Ravenswood, and it would be great to have both the Ravenswood-set stories and those that are in other remote locations (beach season, anyone?). The series Netflix already has featuring Black Brits have gotten good ratings, and are pretty well-watched, from what I’ve seen. This would be a great addition to that set.
The Winston Brothers by Penny Reid
Green Valley is a great place to establish an ongoing series, one brother at a time. Penny Reid did it, and now she’s sponsoring other people to write stories about side characters in the town. So there’s lots of source material, and it’s all hilarious and dramatic. How you’re going to find seven hot bearded men who look similar enough, I…wait, what am I saying. Half of them could be the same actors in the Rebekahverse.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for useable content for a good Netflix series, or even a movie or two. TJ Klune’s How to Be A Normal Person and How to Be a Movie Star would make for a great movie duo, maybe even featuring actors whose neuroatypicality match the protagonists in the story. Or Katrina Jackson’s Welcome to Sea Port books. Could you imagine the hotness that is From Scratch on film? Other authors who’ve written linked series, like Victoria Dahl or Ann Aguirre, could also do with some film adaptation.
And these are just the people who write easy contemporaries in places that don’t require city settings. If Netflix wanted to go all out with their budgets? Oh, do I have a list for them.
Seriously, Netflix. Call me.