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Video Games that would make Great TV Series
In the ‘Golden Age’ of TV, we’ve already witnessed the unlikely fact that great movies can turn into gripping and potentially landmark TV series. Take for instance this year’s FX series, Fargo, which was based on the 1996 cult classic by the Coen brothers. Nobody expected that the Coens’ unique style and voice could be replicated so well on our small screens. So, that got me thinking: if you can adapt classic movies nowadays into memorable TV, why not video games?
If the golden age can push any further and really test the waters of creativity in the medium, then video games is surely next on the list. So, to test the waters, here are a potential five games that could make that big leap on to our small screens.
In no particular order:
1. Grand Theft Auto
As we all know, Grand Theft Auto is well known for its rather audacious violence, as the game allows players to potentially massacre millions of pedestrians in one murderer’s rampage; however, it does have a side which has a soft spot for satire, which could, in effect, make great TV.
As we saw in last year’s game (or this year’s, depending on what gen you’re buying it on) the game explored different sections of a fictional Los Angeles, as the player had the opportunity to control three protagonists from a rich, and unhappy bank robber (Michael), a small time crook from the ‘hood’ (Franklin) and, a gun running, drug dealing, armed robbery-loving psychopath (Trevor).
Imagine, though, having a TV series that could follow organised crime, similar to The Sopranos, but also delve into the high life, and controversy of Hollywood – maybe like Entourage. The series could follow these three protagonists (Michael, Franklin, and Trevor) as they explore the various neighbourhoods and cultural differences they face in everyday life.
The show could occasionally include crossovers between each of the characters, as their lives end up crossing paths. It means that each separate storyline for each individual character could affect another character’s storyline. There is plenty of great drama if that did happen, because as we watch one character’s life going smoothly, another character could be doing something that could be harming that other character’s life indirectly.
It could also be interesting to see someone like Michael, who’s always fantasizing about being in movies, live out his life as a real-life movie character, as his habit of pulling off major bank heists is something that he has to try and find the balance between in the show.
The series could have varying levels of tension as well; because of the show’s ability to be change genre, Trevor could have a more black comedy vibe, whereas Franklin, who lives in the ‘hood’ might have a more serious and dramatic tone.
As it is set all over Los Angeles, there could be room for plenty of famous faces to pop in and out as cameos, and don’t forget GTA’s famous 80s’/90s’ music too: something which the game is famous for.
2. Max Payne
Like Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne is made by Rockstar; however the games couldn’t be more different. Max Payne was first released in 2001, and followed Payne, a cop whose family had been slaughtered by doped up junkies, which led him to set out on a path of vengeance to hunt them down.
The game was unique though for its very eerie New York setting as the city was being tormented by a huge blizzard that gave the game a very detached and cold feeling that complemented the dark and grisly plot.
A TV series of this famous game could potentially be the Man on Fire of the TV world. It always seems that good old revenge stories are never out of fashion; however, its Max Payne’s other tropes that could make a potential series stand out.
The game had a kind of Noir feel that is back in fashion nowadays, especially after the success of this year’s Noir-saturated show, True Detective. So, a series of this game could keep that Noir tone and could chronicle Payne’s growth from family man, to violent anti-hero, as the show begins from when Max’s family was slaughtered, and goes on to reveal to us a seedy world of crime families and corrupt law officials that Max finds himself trapped in.
The series could also keep up to date with current affairs, like child abduction, drugs, and poverty, as each season could tackle a new case where Max is employed by different businesses or associates for a job that would take up one whole season to unfold.
The show could also have Max travel to new locations, like Max Payne 3 did with changing its location to Brazil, just so it freshens up the show and gives different perspectives on crime around the world.
It would be great to see a globetrotting series that’s both dark and gripping and uses a hard boiled voiceover from Max to ratchet up the tension each season, as each environment Max finds himself in could become more and more dangerous as he finds himself heavily outgunned and outnumbered.
Plus – who wouldn’t want to see a few classic Payne slow-mo gunfights, and gritty flashbacks?
We would, and besides, anything has got to be better than the film adaption … right?
3. Spec Ops: The Line
Many may not remember this little military shooter gem from 2012, but those who did will remember the game not for its action or gun fights, but for its thought-provoking message on violence in video games and real life war.
Spec Ops: The Line was unlike any other shooter because when the player reached the end, where usually a shooter like this would reward you with points or a happy ending when the story is complete, this game had other plans.
Spec Ops: The Line’s ending revealed that the character you were playing as to be a madman who killed millions of innocent people for no reason, other than he ‘thought’ he was doing the right thing: a message that was thrown at gamers to show that in-game choices in war simulators can never relate to the horrors of real warfare, and that you can sometimes forget why, or who exactly, you’re trying to kill.
For a while now we have been without a great war drama to sink our teeth into, with shows like Band of Brothers, and Generation Kill standing out above the rest; it’s time for a new type of war drama to surface: a dystopian-set war drama.
I’m not talking about big new guns, or aliens, or anything like that, I’m talking about having each season chronicle new characters in new settings that are familiar to everyday folk, like Spec Ops’ Dubai, but having the environments becoming a war scarred landscape which makes these settings familiar but unrecognisable at the same time.
The show will take a group of marines through a ‘Heart of Darkness’ (the novel by Conrad was the inspiration for the game) that will test these characters’ mental strength, and give them an arc, where they start out as regular marines on a mission to save someone important from a crumbling city, or town, but as they get closer to their objective, the line between what they’re doing and why they’re doing it becomes severely blurred, and then the show transforms into an intense look into the characters’ psychological condition.
At the end of each season a twist or big revelation could occur, that reveals all the mysteries of the plot which could be a recurring motif of the series as it pays faith to the game’s twists and turns.
The show would work as a kind of war drama/psychological horror, which includes dream sequences from each character’s point of view (to reveal their mental state) that grow increasingly darker as their journey gets more intense and devastating.
Potential Network: FX, because of their love for gritty storytelling and anthology series.
Fallout, the much heralded survival role-playing game that had us rooted on our seats for hours on end as we explored a post apocalyptic Earth, which had been destroyed by a nuclear war and now carried the threat of bandits, democracies, tribes, and mutants.
This could be a show that delves into that low-fi/sci-fi genre that came about from alternate history tales of World War II and Cold War paranoia. The TV series could be similar to the The Walking Dead in which diverse characters are thrown together to face many varying threats, both human and non-human. However, a Fallout series could be a lot different from The Walking Dead, as it could have an alternate reality where World War II went nuclear and society fled inside vaults to survive from the bombs, like the game did.
Having this type of apocalypse start in the 50s allows the characters to have views on the apocalypse that would be different from what we would have today; because of them being in the 1950s, technology won’t be as advanced as today’s is. We could watch as these groups of survivors adapt and create their own technology, weapons, and philosophies to try and make their way in this nuclear ravaged wasteland. The series could account the time spent trying to get civilisation back to some kind of normality from the 1950s to the game’s timeline of 2161 and beyond (even though it will have to take quite a few seasons to make the time shifts not too jarring for the viewer).
We know as well though that it won’t be easy for these characters, as the world of Fallout is a very cut throat world so characters could be killed off at any point – similar to The Walking Dead and the other serial killing series, Game of Thrones.
The show could be a big hit with all Science Fiction fans around the world, as there are plenty of sci-fi elements from the game that could be included into the show, like the game’s creepy vaults that each have their own style, as each group of survivors have their own philosophy on how to survive. It might also have plenty of weird, deformed creatures that appeared in the game, even though it would need very good special effects artists and a healthy budget.
Plus, Fallout would be relevant even in today’s times, because the threat of nuclear war at the moment is an existent possibility.
Possible Network: AMC, because of their fondness for apocalyptic shows like The Walking Dead and its soon-to-be spin-off series.
5. Assassins Creed
This is probably the most versatile potential TV series on the list, as anyone who plays the video game series, knows that Assassins Creed has a pretty huge scope in terms of plot and setting. The first video game allowed you to play as a bartender named Desmond Miles who is kidnapped by a corporation called Abstergo Industries, who want Desmond (a trained assassin who chose a normal live instead) to recover certain artefacts using the time machine called ‘ancestral memories’; however, it won’t be an easy ride for Desmond, because he lands in the middle of a war between two secret societies, the Assassins and the Knights Templar.
As years went by the plot and characters changed to suit the huge timelines that the game developers wanted to explore.
It’s the time travelling which follows a single character that could make great TV though. A TV series could take some of the ingredients from the first game, like an everyday guy or girl gets kidnapped and they have to go on some kind of mission for a corporation that requires them to jump in time to varies stages of history, although, as they try to complete their mission, they are unknowingly changing certain events in history, as every other timeline they travel to is subsequently affected by the main character’s actions.
It could be that the main character does warn the corporation when they arrive back to the modern day, but the corporation do not believe him, and as the series goes on, the modern day starts to get affected to. So then the corporation have to try and somehow fix this, while still trying to get what they originally wanted.
It could be an espionage thriller with cool near future sci-fi elements that has the potential to last many a season.
So, be sure to let me know below if you would watch the television adaptations, or whether you would put a different spin on them yourself.