On the Small Screen: Our Books in Fall TV, Streaming Series and Films

By Kelly Roberts | October 2 2017 | Adult

This year’s fall television and streaming season brings a number of new shows, series and films based on Penguin Random House Books. The following viewers and readers guide shines the spotlight on this diverse selection:


Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour PBS-TV documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most controversial events in American history. THE VIETNAM WAR: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns is the expansive, richly illustrated Knopf book based on the series.  Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. Rather than taking sides, the book and series seek to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy.

Airing throughout September on PBS television stations, the series is also streaming on PBS apps.



The third season of the highly-rated Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s multi-million-bestselling Outlander series focuses primarily on the third book, VOYAGER (Dell), continuing the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser.  Two decades before, Claire had traveled back in time and into the arms of Jamie, a gallant eighteenth-century Scot. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her. When Claire discovers that Jamie has survived, she is torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era.

The third season premiered on Starz September 10, with new episodes airing weekly into the fall.



The Netflix adaptation of Ken Haruf’s novel, OUR SOULS AT NIGHT (Knopf/Vintage), reunites Oscar-winners Robert Redford and Jane Fonda for the fourth time.  Addie (Fonda) and Louis (Redford), long-widowed, empty nesters, come to know each other better and discover a second chance at love in the small community of Holt, Colorado. The film is also enjoying a concurrent brief run in select theaters.

Premieres on Netflix, September 29



Aaron Mahnke’s THE WORLD OF LORE: Monstrous Creatures  (Del Rey) is the basis for a new Amazon horror anthology.  Spread across six episodes, the series explores the disturbing history behind a number of horror-tinged myths. In his book, Mahnke, the host of the hit podcast Lore,  serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of terrifying creatures. In a world of “emotional vampires” and “zombie malls,” the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche.

Premieres on Amazon Prime, October 13


“JOAN DIDION: The Center Will Not Hold”


This upcoming documentary, JOAN DIDION: The Center Will Not Hold, directed by Didion’s nephew Griffin Dunne, is primarily based on SOUTH AND WEST: From a Notebook (Knopf). Dunne’s documentary intersperses archival footage alongside his interviews with his Joan, delving into her extraordinary body of work and its impact on our cultural landscape. Look for footage of Didion partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers in the ‘60s; hanging out in a recording studio with Jim Morrison of The Doors; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s followers for a magazine story.

Debuts at The New York Film Festival, with screenings on October 11, 12 and 14; and then premieres on Netflix, October 27



On the heels of the success of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, winner of six Emmy Awards, expectations are high for Netflix’s adaptation of Atwood’s ALIAS GRACE: A Novel (Anchor). It is 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the field of mental illness listens to her story while bringing her closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories?  Produced by Netflix and Canada’s CBC, the six-part series delves deeply into this twisty tale.

Premieres on Netflix, November 3



Based on ABC News reporter and author Martha Raddatz’s searing nonfiction book, THE LONG ROAD HOME: A Story of War and Family (Berkley), this National Geographic series recounts the harrowing story of The First Cavalry Division, which suffered a surprise attack on the streets of Sadr City, a district of Baghdad, on April 4, 2004. The eight-part series, like the book, will chronicle the events of the attack through the eyes of the soldiers who lived it.

Premieres on the National Geographic Channel, November 7



Season two of Netflix’s critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning series The Crown, will to wade into darker territory.  There will be more emphasis on the complexities of Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) marriage to Prince Philip (Matt Smith), and on Philip’s own extraordinary and tragic backstory.  THE CROWN: The Official Companion, Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955) (Crown Archetype) was written by the show’s historical consultant and royal biographer, Robert Lacey. The book features beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills, adding expert and in-depth detail to the events of the series.  A wonderful holiday gift for THE CROWN fan in your life.

Premieres on Netflix, December 8

Please see local listings for international premier dates.