Mods, please give this thread the title ME Paragon Lost and let's discuss that since it's almost out.
Or you could just make a new thread, no?
The time spent on characters is why it'd arguably work better as a television series, I've seen people convincingly make the argument that ME2 in particular feels arced like a good season of television.
I must be a bit too old school, because I just can't see video games as a true story telling medium.
And yet you liked Mass Effect enough to want it get its own film adaptation, and called the story 'gripping.' However one feels about the gameplay of the series (which I found improved markedly with ME2 after some missed calls with ME1, while ME3's multiplayer was largely frustrating) that it places so much emphasis on player choices - right from your character's gender and appearance on to their history and etics - is a major part of that story's appeal, and in itself
is a good example of how 'gaming' can tell meaningful and interesting stories. (Telltale Games' surprisingly excellent Walking Dead adventure game is another example of same.)
I hadn't considered a TV show and you're right, from a pacing standpoint it would be a better fit. Still, I stand by my dislike for a retelling of Shepard's story. Since you mentioned 'The Walking Dead', I think right there is an excellent example of an existing IP being adapted into a different medium--two, in point of fact--and being able to remain faithful to the source while telling a unique story. More so with the game, but even the TV show has already gone it's own way on numerous occasions and so far all for the good.
Like just about any good IP, there's ample room in the Mass Effect universe for any number of new stories not directly tied to the central plot of the games. Take Star Wars for example, the game with the highest regard among fans is KotOR, which has *nothing* whatsoever to do with the plot of any of the films. Opinions vary of coruse, but from what I can tell the X-Wing novels are also considered the best of the medium and again, aside from the odd cameo and the presence of a three time background character, nothing to do with the films beyond the setting.