The Best Video Game TV Adaptations, Ranked
The Best Video Game TV Adaptations, Ranked
Remember when movie adaptations of video games were universally terrible?
It’s a distant memory because, as a culture and collective, we seized on a solution: television broadcasts. Ever since a bright spark decided to stop turning 30-hour video games into a rigid three-act structure, classic video game adaptations have gone from strength to strength. Netflix, in particular, has had an amazing run, producing and airing some truly amazing TV shows based on the video games we all love.
The last of uscurrently airing on HBO, is a beneficiary of this transition and it looks like many more are on the way.
But, for now, here are some TV shows, based on video games, that you can watch right away.
I’ve talked about Cyberpunk: Edgerunners before, and I will again.
It was my favorite anime of 2022, and possibly my favorite show period. Visually there’s nothing quite like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and narratively it’s as tight as a drum. The short, frenetic pace of the 20-minute episodes puts you on a roller coaster almost immediately. You will finish this show without breathing and start watching it again.
We’re barely halfway through the first season of The Last of Us, but it’s already been a smash hit. Unopposed in the program, this perfectly realized adaptation of the Naughty Dog classic is all everyone wants to talk about – and with good reason.
Not as schlocky as The Walking Dead, but more accessible than Station Eleven, The Last of Us strikes a delicate balance. It’s probably our favorite live-action video game adaptation. already. Extremely good.
(I’m keeping this at number 2 for now. If he sticks the landing, I might push him up.)
Arcane is loosely based on the lore of League of Legends, a competitive online multiplayer MOBA obsessively played by millions. It’s probably the last game you’d expect to see made into a TV show, but here we are.
Because Arcane does not only exist, he reigns. It was arguably the best Netflix show released in 2021. It has a gorgeous and completely unique aesthetic that elevates everything. It’s beautiful to look at, and the story also delivers in spades.
But yeah, a quick trigger warning: Imagine Dragons features prominently in the soundtrack. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.
Technically, The Witcher is based on the novel series, which eventually became a critically acclaimed video game trilogy, but let’s be real here for a second: the TV show wouldn’t have happened without the runaway success of The Witcher. 3: Wild Hunt.
Anyway, so far the show is excellent. We have an interesting twist in the story with Henry Cavill leaving the show and being replaced by Liam Hemsworth, but even if that falls apart, there are still a few quality seasons of The Witcher left in the books. Try!
Netflix/Screenshot by Oscar Gonzalez
I love Castlevania the video game, but at this point I feel – in terms of cultural relevance – the Netflix TV show has completely overshadowed it.
It’s really crazy that a big-budget TV show, based on a somewhat overlooked video game series, could be such a hit, but it’s a testament to how good Castlevania is. The best part – it just keeps getting better. We’re into four seasons now, and there’s no drop in quality yet.
The Pokemon Company
It’s almost hard to think of Pokemon as a video game adaptation. After literally hundreds of episodes in dozens of TV shows and movies, I consider the series to be something separate from games.
Either way, considering the cultural impact of the Pokemon show, I’d be crazy to leave it off this list. So this is it !
Alright, hello. Let me cook.
Yes I understand. This new TV version of Halo is a radical departure from the relatively simple video game story. Yes, Master Chief takes off his helmet and it’s heartbreaking. But come on man… Halo was never The Last of Us. It was never going to hold up to a simple adaptation.
I think what we get, in the end, is a pretty solid sci-fi action show that I enjoyed watching. This one has been renewed for a second season on Paramount, so we’ll be seeing more Halo on our TV screens very soon.
Cuphead is weird. It’s a cartoon, based on a video game that is, in itself, a tribute to 1930s cartoons.
It doesn’t work 100%, but it’s very fun and beautiful to watch. The episodes are nice and short too.
The best TV and streaming shows of 2023 you can’t miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more
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