There’s not a lot of connective tissue between Netflix’s deceptively named 2022 television adaptation of Resident Evil and Capcom’s games. A shady pharmaceutical company named Umbrella takes centre stage, and part of the action is staged in a dystopian South African town named New Raccoon City – but so far, that’s where the comparisons begin and end. Albert Wesker, played by Lance Reddick, plays a key role – but his camp villainous vibes have been exchanged for a parenthood plot, as he struggles to balance his scientific workload with looking after his tearaway twin children, Billie and Jade.
Jade, played by both Ella Balinska and Tamara Smart in two connected timelines, is the star of the eight episode series so far. The plot segues between present day New Raccoon City in 2022 and future London in 2036, creating plenty of compelling intrigue. While apocalypse storylines are dime-a-dozen – and there doesn’t appear to be anything especially innovative here, as Umbrella puts profits before public safety – the disconnect between the clinical colours of the present day and the grimy end-of-days aftermath holds your attention well.
In its opening couple of episodes, Resident Evil feels a little like a teen drama, with Jade and Billie (Siena Agudong) establishing their roles quickly and confidently. Billie is particularly compelling as the sensitive sister, and she feels a little more layered than Jade, who plays the hard-knock teenage tearaway with Daddy issues. With the show splitting its time between the present day and the future, however, Balinska is able to bring depth to the character, and even though her scenes are predominantly reduced to action thus far, there are subtle hints that there’s more from her role to come.
Said action is pretty entertaining, to be fair. The zombies, stumbling through a post-apocalyptic London – complete with distinctive Underground iconography just to make the city’s streets feels familiar to foreigners – are largely cast as cannon fodder, although the plot hints at some kind of mutation which could make them an even greater threat to human life. One scene, which feels a little random but was clearly a big source of the show’s budget, involves a giant caterpillar-style monster – and the CGI effects are impressive.
But the show doesn’t suffocate you with set-pieces, and even in the apocalypse it leaves some room for character-led moments. One scene in the second episode sees Jade searching for a contact who can help her to reach Calais in France, and introduces a creepy “cat lady” which takes a sinister twist. There’s an earnestness to the script which allows the actors to play their roles a little tongue-in-cheek: things are f*cked up but thems the breaks, we’re afraid.
Still, it’s the present day plot that carries much of the weight in these early exchanges. The show leans into every teenage cliché imaginable: of course the twins listen to Billie Eilish and tell anyone who’ll listen about their veganism. But as the storyline unravels, it’s engaging to observe the chain of events that lead to the apocalypse – and the Weskers’ role in it. As Umbrella’s insidious side is slowly exposed, we begin to learn more about Albert, who plays the reluctant scientist seemingly indebted to the corporation due to a mystery disease that we imagine will be elaborated upon in later episodes.
It’s undeniably entertaining stuff, then – it’s got that algorithm-like binge-worthy quality to it that Netflix seems to have mastered. But it’s not Resident Evil. Yes, some of the names will be familiar to you, but that’s about all. Whether that matters to you is up for debate; the recent Welcome to Raccoon City movie was heavily inspired by the original game and failed to connect with fans, too. The bottom-line is that it’s dumb fun, and has held our attention thus far. We’ll bring you a full review of all eight episodes in the near-future.
What are your thoughts on Netflix’s Resident Evil so far? Are you enjoying this new direction for Capcom’s famous horror franchise, or do you think this series deviates deceptively from the source material? Keep your spoilers to a minimum in the comments section below.
Haven't watched it personally I don't have any interest and it didn't look very good so I don't think I'll waste time on it. After the Anderson tripe and the POS Welcome To Raccoon City I'm just done with live action RE adaptations no one clearly has any idea what they're doing. Not to mention that these live action series aren't even needed games don't need to be validated by some live action movie or TV show especially a series as big, iconic and legendary as Resident Evil.
Tried watching it last night and I think it's very aware that Billie Wesker looks like Billie Eilish and also was named... Billie. There was even a Billie Eilish song in the intro. I thought at was cheesy or weird or whatever.
I don't think I'll be able to get into the series to be honest. There's too much teen drama and frankly it's weird seeing it deviate so much. It's like an alternate reality or bad dream. The effects and art direction though are really a sight to behold; top notch. I just don't think I need all this in my life right now. For those who want it, you'll enjoy it.
I watched it all and enjoyed it. Took its own spin and went with it. Definitely won't be for everyone, but it had a lot of callbacks to the first three games and resident evil 5.
Love Resident Evil, but this just isn’t for me at all.
It's so incredibly awful, it's a poorly (over)acted CW drama filled with obvious political messaging and teen angst, Lance Reddick actually seemed like a good choice for Wesker but this Wesker is made to be a dull character and wastes the one good casting choice
I’ve only seen the first episode so far and wasn’t exactly engaged with it. The scene in the headmaster’s office was about the only time I was engrossed by it. I’ll probably see where it goes at some point but I don’t feel any strong desire to carry on with it at the moment.
I’ll watch the whole season and see how it turns out. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got cancelled after this season though.
I finished one and a half episodes last night. So far so good. Although the young jade character/actor is annoying.
All these recent Resident Evil iterations are starting to make Resident Evil 2002 look like a masterpiece…
I'm glad I stuck with it, because it actually provides good plot explanation as to why Wesker doesn't look or act like the famous VG villain, and how he's even there at all post-RE 5. It has campy bits and scenes that make little sense, but overall this is my favorite live action representation to date.
@colt3211 Man you got through it quick!
@get2sammyb Yeah, i binged it lol. Had nothing else to do yesterday. Thursdays are my wind down day, so resident evil filled the time.
Could not get past through the first couple of episodes. This is not for me honestly.
It’s not a good RE show sadly. It’s not even a good zombie show.
I’m all for the diverse casting but it does feel like the decision to cast mostly people of colour is the only thing the show has going for it. Replace the entire cast with white actors and this show would have been torn to shreds (deservedly). Its just plain bad.
I only wish they had put more effort into writing a better plot with stronger, (more) interesting characters. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to get it right?
I can’t see this show getting many repeat viewings or having a passionate fanbase, so what’s the point of it?
A waste of an opportunity, money and resources 👎
Hated every moment of it with every fiber of my soul.
Show is trash. Horrible writing. Just let it die and join the pile of other Netflix cancelled disasters.
I'm glad this site just sticks to game reviews. The series is absolutely awful, one of the worst I've seen this year.
To be frank here, it is just a show that has the RE name in value that is it. It all comes together by 4-5ep and RE lore really shows up. By then, you wont care(I didn't) because the show has mediocre writing, half the characters in show dont matter or you wont care, and there's alot of cheese and some are cringey.
Is it entertaining, yes.
Is it background noise, yes
Could it have been better? Yes
Ella Balinska is great but the series is really bad. Typical Netflix...
well i know not to watch it now
Welcome to Raccoon City was a huge disappointment for me. The director talked it up saying how he's a big fan of the games and it would be a faithful adaptation, just to attempt to cram the first two games into a 107 minute film. Not sure why it's so hard to JUST focus on the first game with the Arklay Forest murders, Spencer Mansion, and underground lab.
@pyrrhic_victory I think if Welcome to Raccoon City had been an 8-part tv show rather than a 107 minute movie, it would have been perfect. Really enjoyed parts of that movie and thought they captured the look and feel of RE games pretty well. It was just too rushed, like you say. And the pacing was a bit off.
Angry unlikable characters being angry and unlikable while making breathtakingly stupid decisions and then responding in an angry and unlikable way to their consequences. Plus zombies.
I've watched the first few episodes and I've had enough. It is horrible. I tried to give it a fair shake but nah, it ain't worth it.
Ohhh this show really sucks as well. Barely got through one episode during lunch. Will not continue it myself, but more power to the people enjoying it.
Halfway through episode 3, it's absolutely terrible. I was hoping maybe it would improve as the story progressed...nope.
Yeah no, I rather watch kingdom or any others korea zombie series rather than this. Just watch valley of the dead on netflix recently, it's pretty good, it's a zombie movie in the spanish civil war era.
I watched the first episode last night. The show is pure dirt squared. This is from a massive Resident Evil fan and frequent binge watcher of many TV shows and film series. There is much better stuff to watch on Netflix so dont waste your time with this garbage.
3.4 on IMDB. Lol.
Only watched the first episode and it told me everything I needed to know. It's not for me. But im sure there is a audience for it somewhere..
@BobbyDG Same plan here, I also won't be judging it based on popular reviews/opinions too.
This is as good an adaptation of Resident Evil as the Halo tv series is of that IP. Which is to say it absolutely sucks.
Seriously, where is Ada Wong ?
I'm sad to say that I couldn't even finish the first episode. Was really looking forward to it. The Zoomer teen drama is just so misplaced.
@KidBoruto I thought it was an OK show. It was a little far fetched at times but I enjoyed watching it. Some of the acting wasn’t that great in my opinion. I loved the few nods to the games that those who have played all the games will catch. I’ll watch a season 2 if there is one.
@BobbyDG Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'll probably think the same after watching but will see it anyways.
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