well goodbye to you demonic resident. We barely knew you since you had just started as a series. What we did learn was pretty disappointing, although there was a glimmer of hope that maybe you could take the lessons from where you failed and turn them into something new. Unfortunately, that was not to be, as you met an early death from which there is no return.
In a late-afternoon news dump on Friday, always the moment it has positive information to share, streaming service Netflix announced that the show would not be getting a second season. While this news wasn’t entirely surprising after the series received near-universal negative reviews and largely ambivalent audience response, there was still a sense that an opportunity had been missed. With all the time to delve into the story and build the world, a TV series like this would have been well suited to continue in new and interesting directions where many of the other previous adaptations fell short. If all the shows that are still trying to find their way were canceled after one season, there would be a lot of good stories that we wouldn’t get. This series even had a more interesting narrative framework that jumped back and forth between two timelines, which could easily have been used for a narrative reboot in an additional season. Unfortunately, any potential second chance for the show is unlikely and all the positives will now be thrown out the window.
The most important of them was the acclaimed actor lance reddick going all out to provide, shall we say, many different versions of the series’ mainstay, Dr. Albert Wesker. Unfortunately, his story and character were marred by where it took them. By the time it all got to the final episode, for those who were able to make it this far, any residual narrative engagement had become quite tenuous. Without spoiling it for those of you maniacs who haven’t seen it but still want to watch a series that’s going nowhere, it ended with a cliffhanger that will now hang you for the rest of time. To offer a tentative defense of aspects of the show, it showed promise in some components like Reddick’s performance and some sequences that will now be cut. Whether history will deem this to be one of the poorest adaptations to date is an open question, as there is stiff competition for that illustrious title. Still, it’s unfortunate that the series now joins the many the platform is abandoning in the graveyard of discarded stories that is growing at a fairly rapid rate in the cutthroat world of streaming.
What this cancellation provides is an opportunity to discuss what the adaptations keep failing to do in trying to take on the story. Even for those who were able to appreciate all the wild action of the many Jovovich mileIn focused movies, 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 on film. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. This may be a controversial version, but the basics of the actual storytelling were far superior to anything that has been done so far. For the seventh live-action movie, which was basically a soft reboot, being one of the better incarnations was a total surprise, albeit a welcome one. It was by no means a masterpiece, but it actually felt like there was something dynamic going on that kept you more invested in the experience as it unfolded. While it received some praise for the way it replicated the gaming experience, there was also more genuine craftsmanship in the horror that underpinned what was going on. Maybe this is damning with weak praise, but there’s not much to hold on to when it comes to demonic resident adaptations, which makes this one stand out from the rest.
While not entirely successful, this film could potentially be instructive on future adaptations of the series if they are based on it. Even if you didn’t connect with it, there’s something to admire about just taking on a more straightforward, stripped-down story. While this most recent series certainly tried to cover more, there’s a lot to appreciate about going back to basics and focusing on creating a solid foundation for your story. There’s never going to be enough time to cover everything, even if you want to include as many references as possible, so it’s better to get a few things right than a lot of things wrong.
This plays into how the biggest problem is when adaptations try to please everyone instead of just charting their own path. If you dedicate attention to engaging fans of the game’s story while also trying to get broad appeal, you’ll end up getting none, as the series recently demonstrated. Fanservice without any narrative substance and craftsmanship will always feel empty to all who watch. Even when they can figure out what is being referenced, these symbols are shallow if they don’t have any meaning or an interesting story to them.
Above all, 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 unplug it early. For all the many flaws of Paul W. S. Anderson‘s, it wasn’t like I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to experiment and explore with each new adaptation. Part of the reason this new series was intriguing was because of how it represented an opportunity for a new take with a new creative team. Sure, the answer certainly wasn’t the one Netflix was looking for. However, instead of abandoning something you had already at least somewhat invested in, why not use a follow-up season to try something new? At least then there could be a new life for the story.
While the feeling prevails that these may be games that just can’t be fully adapted, that’s not a reason not to change tactics and try again. Surrender is what will ensure that history remains untouchable. While we like to praise shows that immediately feel spectacular from the start, there’s something to be said for moving on and smoothing out the rough patches. If things are always cut at the first sign of trouble, we will miss out on bold approaches that are slow to grow and hopefully flourish.