RESIDENT EVIL TV Series Canceled At Netflix Following Disappointing Performance

Netflix has canceled Resident Evil, a live-action television show based on the popular video game series after its dwindling performance.

The Resident Evil franchise made the jump to live-action television with Netflix's Resident Evil. The show took place in two different time periods—2022 and 2036. The former dealt with the growing threat of the T-virus, while the latter was set in a post-apocalyptic environment where the virus decimated most of the world's population. Released on July 14, 2022, the series' first season consisted of eight episodes. Resident Evil was not received well critically—it earned 55% Tomatometer and 26% Audience scores—but its story was left open-ended in hopes of a continuation. Now, however, it's been revealed that the live-action adaptation is no more, as it's been canceled by Netflix.

Per DeadlineResident Evil scored promising viewership numbers in its first week, debuting at Number 2 in Netflix's Top 10 ranking (behind Stranger Things' fourth season) with 72.7 million hours watched globally, according to Netflix. Nielsen, on the other hand, tallied 14.3 hours watched in the United States. By its second week, though, the show had dropped to Number 3 with Netflix's reported 73.2 million hours worldwide and Nielsen's 12.8 million in the U.S. This was followed by it being taken off the Top 10 ranking altogether following a 62% drop in viewership (via The Hollywood Reporter)—this after only its third week of release.

The news came around the time that Netflix's success metrics were discussed on social media. As Death on the Nile and Jungle Cruise writer Michael Green revealed on Twitter, the streamer does not really count a viewer consuming a show over a period longer than 28 days (The Sandman writer Neil Gaiman similarly estimated that number to be between 28 and 30):

Admittedly, Netflix's mentality regarding content popularity may not have necessarily played a factor in canceling the series, as Resident Evil did fall out of the Top 10 rankings shortly after its release. It is, however, a possibility given the fact that the show was released only a little over a month ago, which is only slightly longer than the time frame Green revealed Netflix used to measure a project's success. 

The Ambitious Potential Future Of Resident Evil

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The series' showrunner, Andrew Dabb (Supernatural), had an ambitious plan in mind for Resident Evil's future chapters. As he explained to Comicbook.com, the show was set within the canon of the Resident Evil video games, and its creative team was going to gradually pull from their mythology as the seasons progressed: 

"The games are our backstory. Everything that happened in the games exists in this world. So, the village is there. We might not get there till Season 5, but it is in our world, we can play with those [as] we're now moving ahead. [...] The village is a resource we draw on. [...] [Everything] in the games is the backstory for the show. [But] we're doling it out in pieces. We're not being like, episode three, 'Meet the Redfields,' episode four, 'Here's Leon.' And I'm sure there's a certain part of the fan base that [would] be like, 'Please do that version.' But for us, it was more important [to take] you on this journey. And then, as the journey goes on and on, we will touch on different quarters and aspects of the mythology."

Dabb also explained in an interview with Polygon that he was looking forward to introducing characters like Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village into the series, but that he planned to do so over a long span of time: "Over the course of the series, I want to bring everything in. [...] Left to my own devices, I want Lady [Dimitrescu], I want the plant monster, I want it all. I want everything, but judiciously [and] responsibly over time."

The franchise's live-action future now remains uncertain. The 2021 film Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City premiered to not-ideal box office and critical results, earning $38 million worldwide against a reported $25 million budget, and garnering a 30% Tomatometer score. Actor Tom Hopper, who played Albert Wesker in the movie, told Screen Rant in June 2022 that the chances of a sequel were optimistic given its on-demand popularity.

Considering there have been no subsequent announcements on the project and Resident Evil's Netflix cancelation, though, it seems that the franchise's live-action efforts are being paused for the time being.

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