10 Dystopian Fiction Stories That Should Come to TV

With The Handmaid’s Tale hitting Hulu today and an HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 on the way, there’s never been a better time to be a fan of dystopian fiction. As we hurtle towards an uncertain future, it’s perhaps best to look at the authors among us who managed to predict things yet to come, and realize how easily we can tip over into a new world.

There are tons of great stories that have never been adapted, and in this golden age of TV we live in, it’s entirely possible to get some great shows or mini-series out of them. Sit…and let the events of the world happen as we gaze into our televisions. Sit. And consume.

Judge-Dredd-America

Judge Dredd

Everyone knows that Judge Dredd is one of the future’s finest “street judges”, a role that combines the positions of cop and judge and allows Dredd to sentence criminals to years of prison (or even death) for the slightest infractions. But if you haven’t read the original Judge Dredd comic, you have no idea how much of a brilliant and scathing political satire it was, a brutal takedown of the British government of the 1980s. As you’d expect from the imposing main character, it’s hardly subtle – the fascist nature of the judges and the over-the-top characters didn’t leave much wiggle room for interpretation – but somehow, the two movie adaptations have eschewed this to bring us more straight-up action movies. This has always been the wrong approach, as the scariest part of Judge Dredd was when you realized he was just a cog in the wheel of a scary, authoritative future.

This is where a TV show could correct things. With over 40 years of stories to draw from, the show could be a police procedural like few others, lampooning our society and casting a new light on all of our modern issues (police brutality, immigration, social movements of every type) with ease. They just gotta find someone with the right chin.

Transmetropolitan- Spider Jerusalem

Transmetropolitan

If “unfilmable” comics like Preacher can get TV adaptations, there’s no excuse for Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s finest creation to lack one.

Best described as the story of a futuristic Hunter S. Thompson, main protagonist Spider Jerusalem uses his formidable powers of gonzo journalism to fight corrupt politicians. We meet him as he’s about to return to the megacity known only as “The City” after a five-year defection to the mountains. The City has lost any sense of shame or decency – child prostitution is legal, Jeffrey Dahmer is the mascot of a chain restaurant bearing his name, and the police crack down on anything outside the approved normalcy. The series starts as a bunch of one-off stories following him writing his new column, but the overarching story features him facing a corrupt president, just as his inspiration did.

Best of all, it is angry. Spider Jerusalem wields the truth like bullets and never hesitates to fire them at any and all atrocities he sees being submitted. This show would be catharsis in its purest form.

Brave New World

Brave New World 

1984 gets all the respect, but it’s Brave New World that’s fast becoming our future…if it isn’t already our present.

Take a look back at the two books and it’s obvious which is most in danger of happening, at least in the United States. While Orwell dreamed of an authoritative government stripping us of pleasures, Huxley imagined a world in which we were inundated with all sorts of garbage noise that would make us forget our way, being controlled by pleasure over pain. Think of how many times you check your phone a day and how much you worry about buying and doing things that means absolutely nothing. Think of the amount of drugs we are pumping into our population… and then realize that Huxley predicted this ninety years ago. The few things that haven’t come to pass in the book feel like they could slip in at any moment. This would make for a compelling, if depressing, miniseries.

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