Throughout the first decade of the 21st-century television and film were flooded with vampire infused young-adult dramas. True Blood, Twilight, Moonlight, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer all skewed towards younger viewers and featured hot vampire love interests for young, human women. A few also featured other aspects of the supernatural such a demons, werewolves, and witches. Now, more than a decade later, the fans of these franchises have grown up, and so have their tastes. If you have taken a look at Amazon e-book bestsellers lately or browsed the Kindle Unlimited subscription service offering, you have noticed the skyrocketing popularity of the paranormal romance genre. Dominated by women authors, paranormal romance and urban fantasy series often feature complex, powerful female characters, kick-ass action sequences, detailed world-building, and scintillating romantic relationships that are not limited by societal norms. In other words, exactly what we want to see on television.
Gone are the days when vampires and werewolves are a human girl's only paranormal romantic choices. Modern paranormal romance novels feature demons, angels, griffins, chimeras, and any kind of animal shifter you can imagine. The Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter, a dark, romantic look at sin, heaven, pain, and punishment set in modern-day Europe would make a riveting replacement for Game of Thrones. Like zombies and ghosts? K.F. Breene's Demigods of San Francisco series is an urban fantasy made for a television show, undead visitors and all. As an added bonus, the setting is San Francisco, saving millions on set design. For those who like to get their animal shifter on, how about an adaptation of the Pheonix and Mercury Pack series' by Suzanne Wright? Instead of limiting ourselves to wolves, we could have bears, margays, cheetahs, ravens, and even snake shifters!
Additionally, paranormal romance and urban fantasy series provide tens of thousands of pages of source material that feature homosexual, bisexual, and polyamorous relationships. I would love nothing more in this life than to see a television adaptation of Gail Carriger's Parasolverse. Carriger's fictional steampunk Victorian London is inhabited by gay vampires, bisexual werewolves, lesbian inventors, and soulless harridans turning gender norms on their ears. Carriger also writes the San Andreas Shifters series about a pack of gay werewolves – and a merman – in San Francisco.
Several series, such as the Talon Pack by Carrie Ann Ryan, feature what is known in the genre as "triads," polyamorous relationships between three people. These rich, deep, touching romances have extra heat and extra drama that would translate well to the small screen. And, for those who always hate that young heroines have to choose between multiple possible love interests, there is the reverse harem sub-genre. In these books, the woman gets all the guys, sometimes simultaneously. The Evelyn Maynard series by Kaydence Snow would be a slow-burn, intriguing way to engage television audiences in the genre.
Right now, it seems like television is all about the reboot. Fans are getting new seasons of old favorites. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is being rebooted fifteen years after the original series ended. But new shows rehashing old material is not what television needs. The silver screen needs new blood, new, diverse viewpoints, and new source material. All of these things can be found by mining the paranormal romance and urban fantasy book genres. Adapting material from women, gay, and minority authors in the genre would expose television writer's rooms and television viewers to different points of view, something they desperately need. The Buffy fans of the early 2000s have grown up, and they are ready for real paranormal romance on television. But is television ready?