10 TV Shows That Improved Upon The Source Material

These TV shows outdid what came before.

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No matter how good an adaptation of a novel, movie, or existing TV show might be, it's incredibly rare for said adaptation to clearly surpass the material that inspired it.

More often than not, the original novel contains more depth and detail, or the adaptation simply bungles an aspect of the translation that rubs fans of the source the wrong way.

Yet there are always exceptions to the rule, and in the world of TV, there are just a handful of series which managed to categorically exceed the achievements of their inspiration.

These 10 TV series, all adapted from existing novel franchises, movies, and prior TV shows themselves, managed to outdo them through their storytelling excellence, stunning technical craft, and incredible ensemble casts.

It's extremely tricky to maintain a level of creative superiority over multiple seasons with so many moving parts in the fray, and while none of these shows are literally perfect, they all at least offered a superior experience to the material that inspired their creation in the first place.

For all but the most ardent source purists, it was basically a no contest...

10. Dexter

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Jeff Lindsay's Dexter book series laid firm foundations for Showtime's Michael C. Hall-starring TV show, and while the adaptation ultimately went off the rails in its original run, on the law of averages it still eclipses Lindsay's oft-unwieldy source material.

For starters, Michael C. Hall brings a humanity to Dexter that's not nearly as pronounced in the more detached novels, and the expanded canvas allows us to become better acquainted with the stacked deck of supporting characters - several of whom die much earlier in the books.

The novels also massively shot themselves in the foot when the third book, Dexter in the Dark, revealed that Dexter's "Dark Passenger" was a metaphysical entity, most likely the offspring of an ancient god called Moloch.

The twist was near-universally despised by critics and fans, enough that Lindsay himself even admitted it was a mistake and abandoned it for future novels. For many, though, the damage had been done.

For as poorly as Dexter's original TV run ended, and as silly as it got leading up to that infamous finale, it had the sense to never even consider introducing unambiguously supernatural elements.

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.