Netflix has changed the way fans view TV show adaptations of video games. The streaming service has released some of the most well-received video game adaptations on the market, bringing forth a renaissance of video game TV shows. Here are our picks for the best video game TV shows of all time, all of which you can find on Netflix.
Related: Every League of Legends champion in Arcane
Usually, the format of TV works better for a video game than a movie. Video games generally have elaborate lore and lots of characters, which makes it difficult to translate into a two-hour narrative. Shows allow writers to expand on video game worlds that movies just can’t dig into as well. After decades of mediocrity, television writers have cracked the case of making engaging video game television shows that fans love, and here are the five best that you can watch right now.
5) The Witcher
While Witcher technically began as a book series, The Witcher show is based on the iconography from games. The Witcher is equal parts gritty and campy. The monster designs and fight choreography are great, and Henry Cavill excels as the lead character Geralt. The storyline for Witcher contains action, adventure, and romance that make it appealing to all types of people. The show has some major flaws, primarily for its confusing timeline in its first season and the slow second season. Yet, if you are a fan of swords, monsters, and magic, the live-action Witcher is for you.
4) The Cuphead Show!
The Cuphead game is famous for its golden-age-inspired animation and aesthetics. The game truly felt like a cartoon show that aired back in the 1930s or 40s. The Cuphead Show kept that same animation style, delivering a cartoon series that’s beautiful and charming. The show is a love letter to old-school animation, celebrating the classics while putting its own spin on things. The Cuphead Show is a great show to view with young kids because of its energetic animation and playful tone.
3) Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
Edgerunners may be the only example on this list where the adaptation is better than the game. Cyberpunk 2077 had a problematic launch and needed patches to make it playable. Cyberpunk is a fine game now, but Edgerunners accomplishes everything that the game failed to. Edgerunners makes the world of Cyberpunk more lived in, and the animation from Studio Trigger is excellent. The story of the game is fun and full of action and romance, making the show accessible to a large demographic. The show has received raves from critics and fans, painting a bright future for the Cyberpunk franchise.
Castlevania changed everything for video game adaptations. Not many expected an animated show based on the beloved Castlevania games to end up being a masterpiece, yet it exceeded everyone’s expectations. The show doesn’t pull any punches when depicting the dirty and violent world of Castlevania. The monsters are horrifying, the action is gory, and innocents die all the time. The dialogue is equal parts poetic and crass, with characters often speaking soliloquies that vacillate between poignant and vulgar. Castlevania proved how successful an animated series can be to an older audience.
League of Legends is more known for its prominent esports presence and toxic fan community rather than its deep storylines. It was up to the writers of Arcane to recontextualize the characters of League to produce a series that not only elevates the material but also presents it to a wider audience that isn’t familiar with it. Arcane not only succeeds at elevating the League of Legends story, but it ends up becoming one of the smartest and most beautiful series ever produced. The show effortlessly juggles multiple themes dealing with familial love, mental illness, and the class divide between the rich and the poor. The show is ultimately a tragedy about how people’s unwillingness to connect will bring our downfall, ending the first season on an incredibly grim note. Arcane accomplishes more with its first nine episodes than most other shows have been able to do with multiple seasons.
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