HBO’s The Last of Us is going bonkers in terms of viewership. Everyone loves the new show; many will agree it’s probably the most accurate video game adaptation to date in terms of nailing the game’s tone and story.
We’ll need to watch a few more episodes to arrive at an honest conclusion. Still, we’re digging this fungus-filled adventure, so much so that we decided to jot down a list of other video games we’d love to see on the small screen.
Hollywood has given us two Doom adaptations, including a 2005 adaptation starring the Rock and Karl Urban, and both sucked. It’s time to do id Software’s iconic first-person shooter series justice. Don’t overthink this: a TV show centered on the mysterious Doomslayer and his journey to Hell and back doesn’t need to be complicated. Give the guy some guns and a few thousand demons to battle, and let the good times roll!
Or, if a producer must get clever, give us something along The Dirty Dozen, drop a handful of violent criminals into Hell, and watch them fight their way to freedom through multiple seasons until only one remains. Of course, that’s a suggestion, but give us more than that terrible Doom: Annihilation that hit VOD in 2019.
Far Cry 3
I missed out on Far Cry 1 & 2. Still, I immediately fell in love with the third chapter within minutes of leaping into its wild world of cocaine-addicted pirates and ravenous animals. The story, while simple, would work in a TV series: a group of teens party a little too hard on a remote island and end up captives of local pirates. One of the kids, Jason, manages to escape, joins up with the local Rakyat tribe, and proceeds to locate his friends all the while evading Michael Mando’s batshit crazy Vaas Montenegro. Cue violence and destructive mayhem.
Producers could dig deeper into the series and adapt the remaining sequels as an anthology if all goes well. An entire franchise is right there, folks, just waiting to be mined.
Red Dead Redemption
Rocksteady’s epic western saga features colorful characters and a strong enough storyline to hold viewers’ attention in the same way as Deadwood or Yellowstone. The tricky part would be figuring out how to make Red Dead stand out from other westerns. Personally, I’d love to see John Marston in live action, followed by the tragic tale of Arthur Morgan. Bonus points if the showrunner includes the infamous drinking scene from Red Dead 2 or any of the game’s hysterical fails/glitches.
With Batman seemingly up in the air at Warner Bros., new DCU chief James Gunn should pitch an Arkham Knight-themed TV show that follows Rocksteady’s famous Arkham trilogy. For those unaware, the series follows Batman’s attempts to thwart the diabolical plots of iconic villains such as Joker, Hugo Strange, Ra’s al Ghul, and Scarecrow (among others) at Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and later Gotham. During his ordeal, Bats bumps shoulders with Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing. He uses an incredible arsenal of vehicles, weapons, and gadgets to get the job done.
While the game functions as one big story, side missions featuring the likes of Mr. Freeze and Two-Face, work as individual episodes that ultimately connect with the larger narrative. After seeing the Caped Crusader on the big screen over the years, maybe it’s time to bring him back to the boob tube, where we can really get a good look at his rogue’s gallery.
The Legend of Zelda
I’m surprised we haven’t seen Link in some shape or form on the big or small screen. After The Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer, I think an animated Link adventure could be done well enough to cater to the popular video game franchise’s general audiences and diehard fans.
Admittedly, the last Zelda game I played was N64’s The Ocarina of Time way back in the late 90s, but I vividly recall my experience. With nearly 30 games to choose from, any showrunner with the cajones to tackle this vast franchise won’t long for content, and it is prime for an anthology series given that the games use multiple different Links and Zeldas from vastly different time periods in Hyrule. It doesn’t have to get all dark and brooding, either. Make Zelda in the same vein as Mario — fun and cute, but intense when the situation calls for more violence.
Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto V sold millions of copies upon its release in 2013. Clearly, there’s a built-in audience clamoring for more misadventures with Michael Townley, Trevor Philips, and Brad Snider. Why not give them what they want: an entire series worth of violence, sex, drugs, and mayhem set in the fictional city of Los Santos? Think The Sopranos, albeit in a world where everything is a tad more exaggerated, villains run rampant, and only the strong live long enough to rise to the top of the food chain. There would have to be one episode designed around a character’s plan to run along the top of a 747 — does anyone have Tom Cruise’s number?
Last year saw the release of Reuben Fleischer’s long-in-development Uncharted. While the film has its moments and certainly captures the feel of the popular video game series, the bizarre casting choices — ahem, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg? — left a lot to be desired. On top of that, the film pivots from the game’s story in favor of a prequel that explains Nathan Drake’s origins. Why? As The Last of Us series has shown, it’s possible to stick closely to the plot of a video game and still draw millions of viewers.
In this case, any Uncharted series needs to bring back creator Amy Hennig, whose sharp writing brought Drake and Co. to vivid life in 2007. Nate could fill the void vacated by old-fashioned action heroes like Indiana Jones, people. He needs someone with the vision and wherewithal to bring him to life. I suspect a TV adaptation would better serve his sprawling adventures, where a writing team could flesh out his story in greater detail without the pressures of the worldwide box office.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty remains one of the most enduring video game franchises of all time. Hell, for a good decade or so, it was must-purchase entertainment. Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, for example, stand as two of my all-time favorite gaming experiences. I would love to see their epic stories brought to life in a globe-trotting, Jack Ryan-esque series. Introduce Soap MacTavish and his special forces unit and follow their endeavors to bring down the likes of Vladimir Makarov and Khaled Al-Asad.
Imagine a high-octane series punctuated by incredible action; rip-roaring set pieces, and explosive fun. And yes, I expect an entire episode devoted to the Overwatch mission.
It’s been nearly two decades since Half-Life 2 (and Portal, for that matter), but seeing what HBO accomplished with The Last of Us makes me believe the time is right for a TV series chronicling the adventures of Gordon Freeman. Sure, the content is akin to The Last of Us — Earth is overrun by something called the Combine — but there’s a lot more to the story than running and gunning. Imagine seeing those weird ass alien dog things brought to life? Epic storytelling at its finest, folks, and it’s right there waiting for someone with a unique vision to raise it from the dead.
Finally, Little Nightmares is another game that could make for an exciting TV series — so long as it’s done in the same creepy stop-motion style as Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio. This dark, stylish nightmare would terrify as an episodic series as we follow Six through the strange world of Maw, filled with bizarre creatures presided over by the Lady. The story would need a bit more padding. Still, the nonstop weirdness would likely be enough to hold viewers’ attention through multiple seasons.