Historically, there have been two ways to approach a Resident Evil adaptation: attempt to directly emulate the games as seen recently in the impressive Welcome to Raccoon City, or largely ignore much of the lore created by the source like in the Paul W. S. Anderson franchise. Netflix, along with showrunner Andrew Dabb, has opted for a third option, a series that exists within the same convoluted universe as the games yet extends into the future while telling a whole new story.
Set across two timelines the show follows sisters Jade and Billie Wesker as they slowly discover who or what they really are in pre-outbreak 2022, and 14 years later trying to survive in a world overrun by humans and creatures infected by the Umbrella Corporation’s T-virus.
Of course, there’s a load of other stuff going on too, but the key question is does it work as a Resident Evil series? While your enjoyment will be largely influenced by how invested you are in the previous games and films, the real answer to that question is a disappointing no. If you remove all the Resident Evil references, little within this incarnation would fundamentally change. You would still have an impressive, occasionally scary and effectively made post-apocalyptic zombie series, but we also have a show intent upon working through a Resident Evil checklist: Umbrella conspiracy… tick, giant crocodile…absolutely, another game character cameo…why not?
This is an entertaining, interesting action-horror series – albeit one with the most annoyingly misjudged and distracting soundtrack – and one that rather bluntly sets up what could be intriguing future seasons.
But a true Resident Evil adaptation? Sadly not.Resident Evil is streaming on Netflix.