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Netflix cancels Resident Evil after just one season

SIENA AGUDON as YOUNG BILLIE, TAMARA SMART as YOUNG JADE, looking horrified in Netflix's Resident Evil
(Image credit: Netflix)

Just 44 days after making its Netflix debut, Resident Evil — the drama based on the long-running videogame zombie franchise — has been cancelled after eight episodes, Deadline (opens in new tab) reports.

As Netflix cancellations go, this one shouldn’t come as an enormous surprise, as the show failed both to get critical acclaim or dominate the most streamed list. As Deadline explains, a decent start quickly fizzled out, with the show dropping out of the platform’s top ten by its third week.

Nor did the reviews show signs of a sleeper hit in the making. While the critics at Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) were pretty evenly divided with 55% finding it ‘fresh’, the audience score is far more clear: a damning 27% rating from nearly 3,000 reviews.

For what it’s worth, our own senior editor Henry T. Casey was one of the positive voices, describing it as “like a Fast & Furious movie, in a good way,” praising the “entertaining storytelling” and “utter hilariousness of the dialogue.” 

Kayla Cobb at Decider (opens in new tab) was also a fan. “Packed with humor, heart, and some of the coolest action scenes of the year, it’s a show that will leave you alternatively screaming at and cheering for your television,” she wrote.

But others were harsher. “It’s a show that’s “light on action and gore, and heavy on cliches,” according to The Daily Beast (opens in new tab). “Consider this another failed Umbrella experiment,” writes Brian Tallerico at RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab).

Part of the problem is the challenge of making a much-loved gaming franchise both authentic for existing fans, and accessible to those who have never even picked up a gamepad in their lives. “For those unfamiliar with the fabled video game series, this will feel like little more than a muddled, and somewhat tacky, zombie serial, saddled with the baggage of pre-existing lore,” laments Nick Hilton at The Independent (opens in new tab).

The show was split between the start of the apocalypse in 2022 and the 2036 present where the consequences are felt. It followed Jade Wesker (Ella Balinska) as she fought for survival in the new world, dogged by both her father’s connections to the shady Umbrella Corporation and her twin sister’s fate. 

With two distinct plotlines separated by 14 years, it means that the show ends with not one, but two different sets of cliffhangers unsettled. Unfortunately, with Netflix cancellations for 2022 well into double figures, this is just an occupational hazard of starting any new show: there’s a good chance you’ll never get the satisfying resolution you want.

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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.