Whether you read the graphic novels first or not, these adaptations are must-watch. From 1900s bandits to ’80s murderers and the modern apocalypse, graphic novel adaptations make for some great shows.
The Umbrella Academy
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Is anyone even still sleeping on this? I actually did read the graphic novels, and though they’re good, the medium REALLY elevates the show. The actors are great. The sound track SLAPS. And who doesn’t love a dysfunctional family who love each other but are truly terrible at it? Also, they’ve got to stop the apocalypse. Super powers, time travel, trauma, and genuine hilarity, there’s nothing not to like. It’s so heartfelt, and everything manages to feel both surprising and inevitable.
Fun fact: When I pointed out the soundtrack to my mother she described it as being made by ‘some music guy’ according to my sister, and my soul left my body. It was written by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance.
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Expect old west flare, electric banter, a family curse, and a lot of heart. Family, both born and found, is central to this violent demon fighting quest, and the characters are so flawed and so likable. Wynonna returns to her home town for a funeral, and stays to avenge herself on the demons who killed her big sister, and maybe even break the curse that’s taken generations to early graves. Things are rarely so simple though, and the surviving Earps have to navigate demonic politics, secretive government agencies, and the night their family was taken. Violent, heartwarming, and surprising, you’ll love everything from the one liners to the mortal peril.
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This is definitely the most stylish on the list, and doesn’t shy away from its graphic novel roots. Set in the ’80s at a school for teenage assassins, the line between friendship and feuds is razor thin, especially when the politics of their killer families intrude. Good action, an ’80s playlist I want to listen to forever, and characters who are both killers and complicated people, trapped by blood lust or circumstance in a place just as dangerous as they are.
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Lucifer plays out like a police procedural, with a heavy supernatural twist – local nightclub owner Lucifer Morningstar is the actual devil. He’s not shy about it, but it’s LA, so no one finds the persona that weird. Bored of hell, but still interested in punishing wrongdoers, he insinuates himself into the life off the detective investigating his friend’s murder. Catching criminals, supernatural intrigue, and the surprising humanity even of the denizens of hell, this show is fun and silly and moving.
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This is such a weird wonderful show. The Doom gang aren’t exactly heroes, or even that super, but they are a family, and they’ve got each other’s backs. Robots, possessions, fractured psyches, and just a little bit of melting all pose challenges for these timeless shut-ins, but when they’re needed, they’re willing to get out there and do their best, like saving their savior from inside a preternatural donkey.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
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It’s hard to be a teenager, especially when you’re a half witch and Satan himself is obsessed with you. I confess I was leery of how the new, darker tone would play, but it pulls it off with irony and self awareness, and even the sillier situations still seem dire. Sabrina is likable, standing up for herself and her friends, calling out when witch culture is terrible, and facing down witches and devils fearlessly for what she believes in, fighting for her own freedom and the right thing.
Featured image via Slash Film