Review: Resident Evil (Netflix Series)
Despite the recent cancellation of the show after one season, how does the series hold up with QTB's Resident Evil superfan?
Recent news dawned on us with the ever so unsurprising reveal that Netflix has canceled its Resident Evil series after just one season. This news comes to us as no surprise at all! If there was one word that describes this show, I think it'd have to be abominable. I had high hopes for this show, but it didn't deliver. In fact, the delivery of this show was so far off the packages I recently ordered never made it to my house. If you're a regular here at Quit The Build, then you know I am a massive fan of the Resident Evil/Biohazard (as it's known in Japan) series. Let's look at why this series was, essentially, a shortcoming.
Throughout Resident Evil's lifespan, there have not been many successful interpretations of this series when discussing its adaptations. The CGI films are decent to some extent, but more recently, with entries like Infinite Darkness (2021), they, too, fall short of being a success. The original live-action movies don't do the games justice, as fans like me will complain, as they have almost no relation to the games; though they are somewhat successful at the box office, they at least make sense in their own world. As we quickly move forward to the modern day without touching on past successes/failures of individual films and series, we land on Netflix's Resident Evil.
"I honestly couldn't be more uninterested in these characters."
This hyped-up series that Netflix announced back in 2020 was recently aired on July 14, 2022. Not two months after it was released, Netflix has pulled the rug out from under this live-action series, saving us from what would be no doubt a continuing train wreck as Birkin latches on, dragging us down with the train. Why though? Why does this keep happening to not just Resident Evil but multiple game genres throughout history? If you ask me, it's all about intellectual properties (IPs).
Intellectual properties are killing what could be good ideas for movies or shows. I don't mean IPs are killing these series, but the process of some directors or big companies like Netflix buying rights and slapping a popular IP on a new series/movie is causing this. What needs to happen is to stop making shows, adding a few assets from said IP, and calling it <insert popular game IP>. This is sometimes even relevant with some game sequels in modern-day AAA titles.
From left to right: Lance Reddick as Alan Wesker, Sienna Agudong as Billie Wesker, and Ella Balinska as Jade Wesker.
Let's look at Netflix's Resident Evil series. This show was as far from Resident Evil as it could be. In Netflix's eye, Resident Evil was a robust angsty teen drama that switched back and forth between pre-apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic world settings. The cliff notes of this series are the latter mentioned with our main characters, Jade and Billie, moving to a new town with their dad, Wesker, going to a new school, and trying to create a new life. Jade is an outgoing individual that is blunt and not afraid to speak her mind, while her sister, Billie, is the polar opposite. Billie is shy, quiet, doesn't make friends as quickly, and is the target of bullying at school. I honestly couldn't be more uninterested in these characters and could care less as poorly as it's executed. I'm not criticizing the actresses who portray these characters, but the poor writing and dialogue provided.
Truthfully, this show's only saving grace was Lance Reddick as Albert Wesker. He did what he could with what was provided but casting him as Albert Wesker was a poor choice for what they were "going for" (if anything). The writers of this show had a heaping collection of burning garbage that they used to pull out plots and forwarding devices with character arches that made no sense. Wesker was no different. I feel not one person who wrote for this show played any of the games nor understood who Albert Wekser was. They honestly had no clue what was going on with this character, and the scene showcasing him with essentially his Marvel's Blade clone proves it. Again, Reddick is a fantastic actor, and he did well, but he just isn't Albert, especially in this unfortunate vision.
Moving on, as mentioned, the dialogue for this series is dull, uninteresting, unrelatable, and abysmal. The show itself doesn't seem to know which audience it's targeting too. If you like generic zombie movies, you'll be bored with the constant flashbacks of angsty teen-drama school fight scenes and vice versa. The only thing remotely resembling Resident Evil in this series is that you have Albert Wesker, Cerberus (zombie dog), giant mutated creatures like spiders, alligators, iconic Licker, and Tyrant. This brings me back to my original statement. These companies or directors who gain rights to series like Resident Evil, who know very little about them, create these convoluted stories which show little or no relation to the source material.
Bad dog, no season 2.
What they create makes no sense based on these pre-existing stories and, essentially, simply toss in assets from the source and call it said series. This is the problem with these series/movies. In all honesty, the Resident Evil series on Netflix MAY have been somewhat successful if it wasn't labeled Resident Evil. These writers and directors take all this time to devise a story/plot around a pre-existing successful and popular franchise but completely change everything about it, only to keep its identity by shoving familiar scenes, items, monsters, or whatever into their story. Stop doing this. Originality could be revived in these so-called adaptations that would cease to change everything about a game series that so many love.
With the Netflix Resident Evil series, remove all game-related assets, change Wesker's name, and generate a new IP to use on your plot/story rather than slapping Resident Evil's IP on your work. If this was done, I guarantee it would have been viewed differently and, as said, may have had some success. Instead, were given another half-assed attempt at bringing a video game series to real life that makes zero sense and is a mockery of Resident Evil. If anyone in Hollywood ever reads this, please heed my words. If you are Hell-bent on continuing the trend of creating game adaptations, I highly advise getting gamers to work alongside you to tell you the right direction to go. We may not be directors or writers per se, but we can tell when something is going to be amiss and smell when a series is going to drop a big one.
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