There used to be this belief in Hollywood that video game adaptions were cursed due to their lack of critical acclaim or porous box office results. Films and series considered failures to support the curse theory include Super Mario Bros., Doom, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Assassin’s Creed, and House Of The Dead. However, the tide is changing in recent years as Sonic the Hedgehog, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Uncharted became huge hits. In television, the series that shattered the curse, proving video game adaptations should be taken more seriously, is The Last of Us.
Based on the video game franchise of the same name, The Last of Us follows Joel (The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal), a smuggler in a post-apocalyptic America tasked with transporting a teenage girl named Ellie (Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey) across the country as a mass fungal infection ravages the human population. Critics hailed The Last of Us as the greatest video game adaption of all time. Additionally, The Last of Us accumulated the biggest viewership for HBO since Game of Thrones.
Since Hollywood is a copycat town, most networks and streaming services are looking for their version of The Last of Us. Below is a list of five shows that could become the next big thing, like The Last of Us
Fallout could not be more appropriately titled as it depicts the fallout of a nuclear war between the U.S. and China that destroyed modern civilization. Though the timeline exists alternate future, Fallout draws inspiration from 1950s American literature and post-war WWII optimism. The beloved video game series debuted in 1997, and centers on the underground nuclear shelter Vault 13. Created by Interplay Entertainment and now owned by Bethesda Softworks, Fallout has spawned nine games between the main series and spinoffs.
Now, Prime Video is hoping for their video game hit with the upcoming Fallout television series. Westworld co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are behind Fallout, which will depict an original story inspired by the storylines in the game. Confirmed cast members include Walton Goggins (Justified), Ella Purnell (Yellowjackets), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), Xelia Mendes-Jones (Havoc), Aaron Moten (Emancipation), Mike Doyle (New Amsterdam), and Moisés Arias (Samaritan).
Fallout is expected to stream sometime in 2023 on Prime Video.
Unlike the other entries on this list, Tomb Raider has succeeded in the video game and movie industry. The first Tom Raider video game was released in 1996. It follows Lara Croft, the archaeologist-adventurer hired to find an artifact called the Scion of Atlantis. Since its debut, there have been 17 Tomb Raider games that have sold over 95 million units. Because of the game’s popularity, two Tomb Raider films were released in 2001 and 2003, starring Angelina Jolie (Those Who Wish Me Dead) as Croft. The films combined to gross over $430 million worldwide. A third film, a 2018 reboot starring Alicia Vikander (Irma Vep), grossed over $270 million worldwide.
Tomb Raider is now heading to television at Prime Video with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) attached to the project. Waller-Bridge will write and produce, but she will not star as Croft. With an acclaimed writer like Waller-Bridge and a well-known character like Croft, Tomb Raider has all the components for a successful adaptation.
Tomb Raider is currently in development.
The Walking Dead: Dead City
During the 2010s, The Walking Dead became a cable television phenomenon. Because the show dragged on for 11 seasons, it’s easy to forget its popularity as The Walking Dead was one of the highest-rated shows on cable television. The season 5 premiere registered 17.3 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show in cable television history. The Walking Dead revolutionized zombie adaptations and became a can’t-miss show during its peak because of its fearlessness in killing the main characters.
Future iterations of The Walking Dead will never reach those peak levels of viewership, but there’s a chance that a new story like The Walking Dead: Dead City will bring back some of the audience who left during the later seasons. In this spinoff, Maggie (Mile 22’s Lauren Cohan) travels to a post-apocalyptic Manhattan to look for her kidnapped son. Maggie turns for help in the most unlikely of places when Negan (The Boys’ Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the man who killed Maggie’s husband, agrees to aid in the rescue mission. The series has the potential to be a hit thanks to the odd couple dynamic between Maggie and Negan. Plus, when hasn’t post-apocalyptic Manhattan worked as a setting? Just look at Escape from New York and I Am Legend.
The Walking Dead: Dead City premieres on June 18 on AMC.
God of War
If there’s one Sony franchise that can compete with The Last of Us‘ popularity, it’s God of War. Debuting in 2005, God of War follows Kratos, a Spartan warrior who accidentally kills his wife and daughter after being tricked by Ares, the God of War. Kratos sets out on a path of vengeance as he searches for Pandora’s Box, the object that can defeat Ares. Sony has released 10 games in the series, and the most recent game, God of War Ragnarok, became Sony’s fastest-selling PlayStation exclusive ever.
An epic based on Greek mythology screams summer blockbuster, but the film adaption never materialized. Now, the franchise will finally be getting its long-awaited adaptation, but it will be on the small screen. In December 2022, Amazon gave a series order to a God of War, which will be made into a series for Amazon Prime. The duo of Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Iron Man) will write the series, and Rafe Judkins (The Wheel of Time) will serve as the showrunner. If done right, there’s no reason why God of War can’t lead to more seasons and spinoffs.
God of War is in development at Amazon.
True Detective: Night Country
In 2014, the first season of HBO’s True Detective captivated audiences with a mysterious crime drama told over two timelines. It wasn’t the first show to feature well-known actors, but having Woody Harrelson (Champions) and Matthew McConaughey (The Gentlemen) as the two leads ushered in the new era of peak television, where A-list movie stars jumped to TV. From the performances of the leads to the fantastic writing to the beautiful cinematography, True Detective season 1 found itself on many top 10 lists at the end of 2014.
Seasons 2 and 3 were less effective than season 1, but the upcoming fourth season has a chance to channel the magic of the first season. Titled True Detective: Night Country, the fourth season will be set in Ennis, Alaska, during the long winter night when darkness dominates the day. Eight men at the Tsalal Arctic Research Station mysteriously go missing. Detectives Liz Danvers (The Silence of the Lambs’ Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Catch the Fair One’s Kali Reis) are assigned to the case, but in typical True Detective form, the mystery opens up secrets from their past. With the HBO brand behind it, Night County could bring the True Detective anthology back to prominence.
True Detective: Night Country premieres sometime in 2023 on HBO and Max.
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