It looks as if Fantasy series have become the new Pokemon, for TV execs at least, as Wheel of Time has been picked up for the adaptation treatment. I assume that whoever is producing it have a long haul plan in mind, given the length of the late Robert Jordan's opus. With Game of Thrones, Shannara, and now Wheel of Time resplendent on the small screen, it really does feel as if everyone is scrambling to pick up this sort of thing.
Given that's the case it thought I 'd throw out some of the series I'd like to see adapted for the screen, and say why I think they'd work.
Split Worlds: Emma Newman's tale of love, duty, and faerie set in the Nether, a backstage area of reality that lies between the human world and the alien world of Faerie. Here, human families pledged to Faerie Princes live long lives, perhaps overly long, and the world of yesteryear with its prejudices and paranoia flourishes. Despite the nature of the setting, the story is about women's role in society, as well as the price of power, and how that can turn toxic if people are repressed. It feels very 'now', and beautifully sets off the nature of Faerie; Newman draws from the same interpretation as Susanna Clarke in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It's one of the more interesting urban fantasy worlds because it actually explores the impact that the Nether dwellers have in the real world, and the ways that they use it for an escape from the pressures of their highly formal society.
I would love to see the BBC pick up the series, and weave their magic with it. Partly I confess that that's because of the costumes, it feels very much like they would have the resources ready to hand to make this work, but it also feels very like Auntie Beeb's cup of tea, and I think they'd do a good job with it.
The Merchant Princes: A tale of multiverses, dark futures, and greed, the Merchant Princes is actually SF but its nature is close enough to Fantasy that it was originally missold as such by Tor. Following Miriam, a tech journalist who has just been fired for making a scoop that's a bit too close to home for her employer, and who discovers a talent for crossing between different Earths, the series delves into an almost Game of Thrones style darkness as family politics proves to be bloody and the widening gyre of events grows ever darker. the drawback may be the large cast, with various families, governments, agencies etc to consider.
I can see HBO making this a must watch series, revelling in the stolen backpack nukes, the draconian other worlds, and the family bickering of the world-walkers.It feels right for them, the sort of thing they'd do extremely well.
Last Call: Tim Powers' tale of gambling and magic in Las Vegas, Last Call would make a great miniseries as it delves into the hidden world of backstage America. It's rich and wonderful, and though the actual narrative conforms to the three act story, there's enough going on to make it a good read that would translate well to the screen.
The Assassin's Trilogy: Perhaps the series I feel most likely to be adapted, and the one that I'm surprised hasn't already made the jump given how close Robin Hobb and George RR Martin are reputed to be. The Assassin's trilogy follows the bastard son of a royal house in the Six Duchies as he grows, becomes an assassin and then sees his world fall apart as the kingdom suffers a coup. It's pacily written, well conceived and Hobb has a natural gift for writing dialogue and her characters sing on the page. It would work very well on screen, and with Game of Thrones so established, it would not be hard to sell to the public.
Earthsea: Another series where I wonder why it hasn't been given the proper treatment. There have been two adaptations, though both were disappointing and both seemed to miss the point of the series,e ven if the Studio Ghibli one was visually stunning. I'd like to see a proper adaptation, where the people of the Earthsea archipelago are most definitely not white. Think of Idris Elba as Ogion the Silent and you're on the right track. Ursula le Guin specifically wrote the characters as black, or red; basically anything but white (aside from the Kargish people of the northeast, who are backwards in comparison to everyone else). I think a film trilogy would be brilliant, and would allow black actors to really shine. It would be wonderful to see a faithful adaptation that didn't skimp or dodge around the issue.
That's the five I'd go for, what are yours?