Netflix announced today that it is working to create a live action “Legend of Zelda” series, and I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Netflix has been on the front lines of making geek culture mainstream for a while. They saw us ditching traditional cable for online viewing and offered us streaming services. They recognized their viewing demographic and regularly added content to entice and excite us.
They’re also top of their game when it comes to international content: foreign films, kung fu movies, anime series. Before Netflix these were not only extremely difficult to find, but when you did they were extremely expensive. Now we have an instant library, full of titles we’ve never heard of, right at the tip of our XBox controller for just $8.99 a month.
I’m also not discounting their proven ability to create quality original content. “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” are both compelling, critically acclaimed, and award-winning series. Nielsen may not have a way of concretely monitoring the ratings for original content from streaming services, but I don’t know a single person who doesn’t watch at least one of these shows. They are unique and fun to watch, with well developed story arcs and fully fleshed-out human characters. Their upcoming “Daredevil” and “A.K.A. Jessica Jones” have both generated buzz around the internet and seem to be highly anticipated.
The Zelda games have become one of the most beloved franchises in the gaming universe, and their characters are among the most loved and most recognizable.
I still remember playing the original “Legend of Zelda” game on my NES as a kid, and “Ocarina of Time” is largely considered to be one of the best games ever made. Those are awfully large shoes to fill, and Netflix isn’t just trying to fill them. Netflix is trying to stretch them. They want it to be the “Game of Thrones” for family viewing.
So which world will they go with? Not every Zelda game takes place in the same universe. They don’t even all have the same Link. Will they pick one game to base the series off of, or will they create their own amalgamated universe to better suit their needs? Will they go with the original Link? Will he have to play an Ocarina? All of these questions must be answered, and with Zelda it’s not really multiple choice. If they pick the wrong answers Netflix will face the wrath of gamers, geeks, and retro-game-loving-hipsters from all over the world.
With two new Marvel shows and their already popular original series, I’m hesitant to be excited about this new Zelda series. Whether they’re working closely with Nintendo or not, it seems like Netflix might be biting off more than they can chew this season. That’s why the only live action I want with my Zelda right now is Ash making up her own lyrics.