Resident Evil Cancellation Shows TV Still Struggles to Adapt Video Games

Well, goodbye to you resident Evil. We barely knew you because you had just started a series. What we learned was quite disappointing, although there was a glimmer of hope that you might be able to learn from the lessons of failure and turn them into something new. Alas, it was not to be like you met an early death from which there is no return.

In a late Friday afternoon newscast, always the time you have positive news to share, streaming service Netflix announced that the show won’t be getting a second season. While this news wasn’t entirely surprising after the series received almost universally negative critical reviews and a largely ambivalent response from audiences, there was still a sense that it was a missed opportunity. With plenty of time to delve into the story and build the world, a TV series like this would have been well suited to continue in exciting new directions where many other previous adaptations failed. If every show that was still trying to find its way was canceled after one season, there would be a lot of good stories that we wouldn’t have. This series even had a more interesting narrative framing that jumped back and forth between two timelines, which could have easily been used for a narrative reset in an additional season. Unfortunately, any potential second wind for the show is unlikely and all positives will now be thrown away.

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The first of these was the acclaimed actor Lance Reddick going out of its way to provide, let’s just say, many different takes on series mainstay Dr. Albert Wesker. Unfortunately, the story and her character did a disservice with where it got them. By the time it all got to the final episode, for those who even got to get that far, any residual narrative engagement had become rather tenuous. Without spoiling it for those of you who haven’t seen it but would still like to experience a series that isn’t going anywhere, it ended in a cliffhanger that will now be on hold for the rest of time. To offer a tentative defense of the show aspects, it showed promise in certain components like Reddick’s performance and a few streaks that will now be cut short. It remains open question whether the story will consider this to be one of the most mediocre adaptations to date, as there is fierce competition for this illustrious title. Still, it’s unfortunate that the series now joins one of the many that are abandoned by the platform in the graveyard of abandoned stories that is growing at a fairly rapid pace in the unforgiving world of streaming.


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What this cancellation provides is an opportunity to discuss what adaptations keep getting wrong when trying to support the story. Even for those who were able to appreciate all the wild action of the many Milla Jovovich-focused films, which never really seemed to care too much about the source material, there were increasingly diminishing returns. Before this series, one of the other recent attempts that was actually pretty solid was in the movie Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City. It may be a controversial take, but the basics of the actual storytelling were far superior to anything so far. For the seventh live-action film, which was essentially a soft reboot, being one of the better incarnations came as a complete, albeit welcome, surprise. It wasn’t a masterpiece by any means, but it definitely felt like there was something dynamic going on that allowed you to become more invested in the experience as it unfolded. was taking place. While it received praise for the way it replicated the experience of the games, there was also a more authentic craftsmanship in horror that underpinned what was happening. It might be overwhelming with low praise, but there’s not much to take away when it comes to resident Evil adaptations, which makes this one more than stand out from the crowd.


While not entirely successful, this film could be potentially instructive for what future adaptations of the series can be if they take inspiration from it. Even if you haven’t tuned into it, there’s something to admire in just taking a simpler, stripped-down story. While this most recent series has certainly attempted to cover more, there’s a lot to enjoy going back to basics and focusing on creating a strong foundation for your story. There will never be enough time to cover everything, although you may want to add as many references as possible, so it’s better to do a few things right than a lot of things wrong.

This explains how the biggest problem is when adaptations try to please everyone instead of just charting their own path. If you devote your attention to getting fans of the game’s story while trying to achieve broad appeal, you’ll get neither, as the series has recently demonstrated. Fan service without any narrative substance or craftsmanship will always feel hollow to anyone watching. Even when they are able to grasp what is being referenced, these symbols are superficial if they have no meaning or interesting story to them.


Above all else, one of the most definitive ways to ensure that the video game never gets an adaptation that conveys the same sense of joy will be to pull the plug early. For all the many faults of Paul W.S. Anderson, it’s not like he hasn’t had plenty of opportunity to experiment and explore with each new adaptation. Part of the reason this new series was intriguing was because of how it represented a chance for a new take with a new creative team. Of course, the answer was definitely not what Netflix was looking for. However, rather than bailing out something you’ve at least already invested in, why not use a follow-up season to try something new? At least there could be new life for the story.

Even if there’s the prevailing feeling that maybe these are games that just can’t be fully adapted, that’s no reason not to adopt a different tact and try again. What will guarantee that history will continue to be untouchable is to give up. While we like to praise shows that feel immediately spectacular from the jump, there’s something to be said for going on and mitigating the difficulties. If things always get axed at the first sign of trouble, then we will lose the bold approaches that take time to develop and hopefully thrive.