Stephen King TV Adaptations

08 March 2016
Take a look at Stephen King books adapted for TV.

Horror. Science fiction. Fantasy. Stephen King, as the prolific writer he is, has done them all. The result of his fervent imagination is countless novels, novellas and short stories, many of which have landed on screens both big and small.

Carrie and The Shining are two renowned feature film examples, but we’ve decided to focus on a handful of his TV adaptations instead. That’s because 11.22.63, a brand new mini-series based on King's novel of the same name, is starting on M-Net. With that in mind, here is a prime collection of his TV series, mini-series and TV movies.

1. Salem’s Lot (1979)

While Carrie was the first book to big screen adaptation for King, Salem’s Lot was the first of his books to make it to the small screen. Based on the novel of the same name, it’s classic King – filled with horror, suspense…and vampires. In 2004, a second adaptation was made, which moved the action from the ‘70s to the noughties.

2. It (1990)

Perhaps one of the most renowned adaptations, it features an unforgettable performance by Tim Curry as the frightening clown, Pennywise. 

3. Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

Based on King’s short story, it’s a disturbing ghost story that will make you reluctant to go to school – whether you’re a student or a teacher! The made-for-TV movie produced two straight-to-video sequels, amusingly titled Sometimes They Come Back…Again and Sometimes They Come Back…For More.

4. The Tommyknockers (1993)

Before she started solving crimes on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Marg Helgenberger was solving mysteries as the lead character in this mini-series based on King’s 1987 novel.

5. The Stand (1994)

Things got apocalyptically paranoid in this well-received mini-series starring Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe. King made a cameo in the adaptation of his work as well - something he’d been doing since 1982’s Creepshow, a comedy horror film for which he wrote the screenplay.

6. The Shining  (1997)

Who can forget Jack Nicholson’s ax-wielding madness in the 1980 film adaptation? However, the 1997 mini-series was also acclaimed, and this time round King was in the adaptation. The main character, Jack Torrance, is one of King’s most renowned, but far from being the only main character whose profession is the same as its creator.

7. Rose Red (2002)

King also dabbles in screenwriting, not only adapting his books for the screen, but creating original screenplays as well. Naturally, these are usually in the vein of horror. Rose Red is a great example, involving a curse, a psychic and a haunted house.

8. Desperation (2006)

This TV movie is based on King’s novel from 1996, and stars Ron Perlman as a possessed sheriff. Four years later, King would appear in Sons of Anarchy, the popular TV drama of which Perlman was a part for five years.

9. Children of the Corn  (2009)

No ones does creepy like King – and it doesn’t get much creepier than killer kids. The TV movie was the third time King’s short story of the same name had been adapted. The first screen incarnation was a 1983 short film, followed by a feature film in 1984 that spawned eight sequels. The second sequel, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest, was Charlize Theron’s film debut. 

10. Under the Dome (2013 – 2015)

M-Net Edge viewers will remember this show about a small town mysteriously trapped under a dome, cutting them off from the world. The sci-fi series was one of few King TV adaptations that ran over several seasons, instead of being made into a TV movie or mini-series.

Next in line is 11.22.63, based on King’s time-travelling tome about a teacher who travels to the 1960s in the hopes of preventing JFK’s assassination. With J.J. Abrams on board as executive producer and James Franco in the lead role, you won’t want to miss the latest of King’s adaptations.  Watch the first two episodes of 11.22.63 on Tuesday 8 March from 20:30 on M-Net.