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Old April 3 2012, 04:08 PM   #1
jefferiestubes8
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What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

There was some mention in 2011 of a feature film development deal for Bioware with the Mass Effect franchise.
What if they decided to go with a TV series instead. An article on Kotaku today got me thinking.
It wasn't so much the story, the characters, or the gameplay that put it over the top—it was the TV show-like structure.
More than the games that preceded and followed it, Mass Effect 2 felt like playing a season of a really good Sci-Fi TV show.
Story-wise & plot
Both the first and third games were framed as a race against the clock—Saren was planning a Reaper attack of the Citadel in Mass Effect and in Mass Effect 3,
Mass Effect 2 felt more like a TV show than a movie. Most of the game felt like a series of discrete episodes broken up by the occasional "A-Plot" episode that deals with the season-long story, what Buffy The Vampire Slayer coined the "Big Bad." In Mass Effect 2, the Collectors were the Big Bad.
Shepard's death and rebirth were the season premiere. The initial crew recruitments and adventures made up episodes 2-10. The assault on the abandoned Collector ship was the type of mid-season episode that would've aired during sweeps. The back-half of the season contained the later recruitments, the crew's abduction being the penultimate episode, with the suicide mission as a two-part season finale. It's just about an exact structural match.
I become convinced that an episodic BioWare (or BioWare-style) game could be terrific. A series of ten or twenty episodes spread out over six months, downloaded to your console or PC and broken up by smaller side missions… it could make for a highly enjoyable experience.
Why Mass Effect 2 Was My Favorite Mass Effect
Okay so we are talking about a TV series here not an episodic videogame.

Since the Mass Effect franchise has already spawned 3 successful videogames, a handful of comic book series and created an amazing universe let's discuss the possibility of turning this into a TV series set in that universe rather than an action-sci-fi feature film.
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Old April 3 2012, 04:49 PM   #2
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Even with green screen and CGI used up the wazoo, wouldn't the cost of live action be enormous? An animated series would probably be more viable.
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Old April 3 2012, 05:42 PM   #3
23skidoo
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
Even with green screen and CGI used up the wazoo, wouldn't the cost of live action be enormous?
No more so than any other series with an ensemble cast.

If I were making a Mass Effect TV series, though, I'd set it up to be a one-off mini-series (not a 4-hour one, but one of the old Shogun-style 10-hour jobs). Unless it's got "Star Trek" in the title, space-based TV series generally have a very short life expectancy. (nuBSG being an anomaly; Doctor Who doesn't count because it's earth-based primarily these days which is probably why it's still on the air). If the first mini-series is a success, then more can be made. Basically the British model (like UK viewers saw in the 1960s with the four or five Pathfinders mini-series and A for Andromeda and Quatermass and their sequels).

Alex
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Old April 3 2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Nah, they're better off making it a wholly CGI cartoon along the lines of the Green Lantern show that's on or the upcoming Cyborg 009 reboot/adaptation. Considering how some of the designs in the 2D ME anime turned out, going all CGI would be a good way to maintain consistency with the look established in the games.

The only problems are figuring out who'd want to do this now, in the aftermath of the ME3 ending, and figuring out a way to ensure that whoever ended up broadcasting it would actually advertise the damn thing. Cartoon Network has a bad habit of not advertising shows they air for some retarded reason.
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Old April 3 2012, 08:07 PM   #5
Temis the Vorta
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

I don't know anything about Mass Effect, so I consider myself a good stand-in for the audience this show will need to win over in order to be successful.

So from what I gather we have is: outer space, warfare, two sides fighting - why are they fighting? Who are the main characters and why do we care if they win or lose? And can you summarize that convincingly in a 30 second ad?
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Old April 3 2012, 08:13 PM   #6
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
So from what I gather we have is: outer space, warfare, two sides fighting - why are they fighting? Who are the main characters and why do we care if they win or lose? And can you summarize that convincingly in a 30 second ad?
Those questions depend on when in the ME timeline the story takes place. Bioware created a fairly extensive background universe for Mass Effect, so a show could easily take place at any time before the events of the final game.
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Old April 3 2012, 08:36 PM   #7
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
I don't know anything about Mass Effect, so I consider myself a good stand-in for the audience this show will need to win over in order to be successful.

So from what I gather we have is: outer space, warfare, two sides fighting - why are they fighting? Who are the main characters and why do we care if they win or lose? And can you summarize that convincingly in a 30 second ad?
I think thios guy did a good job of doing it in a two and a half minute video a least in the area of who the bad guys are and why they should be stoped.

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Old April 3 2012, 08:53 PM   #8
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

I'm not really getting the bad guys' motivation. Is it really only because they don't like carbon-based life forms?

Is the Mass Effect universe more interesting and diverse than the Halo universe, and why would it be likely to attract higher ratings over its lifetime?
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Old April 3 2012, 08:55 PM   #9
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Yeah, I haven't played Mass Effect... But I have seen most trailers, and read about it. And I fail to see why it proclaimed as such a great Sci-Fi universe.
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Old April 3 2012, 09:00 PM   #10
Temis the Vorta
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

That's an intriguing video, but all I get from it is "bad guys on their way to kill all of ya's, so fight back." Basically, Blood & Chrome, right?

If SyFy didn't greenlight Blood & Chrome, then why would anyone greenlight Mass Effect? What I'm looking for is some twist to the story that elevates it above the usual us-vs-them, even if it's only hinted at in the preview.

nuBSG did this by telling us the Cylons "have a Plan." They weren't just faceless villains but rather creatures whose rationale we would come to understand, maybe even sympathize with. Okay, that turned out to be a fraud, but it did its job at the time.
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Old April 3 2012, 09:02 PM   #11
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

I'm currently in the middle of yet another ME2 playthrough and that Kotaku article pretty much 100% mirrors my feelings about the game. I love the game's leisurely pace and episodic nature. It's nice to be able to cruise around the galaxy during a time of relative peace and not feel pressured by Reapers blowing shit up everywhere. That peacetime setting also lends a much greater variety to the missions compared to ME3's WAR!!!!! theme. Aside from Horizon and the Collector ship, you're free to do stuff whenever you want in whatever order you choose. And because the missions are all fairly short, I always feel compelled to do just ONE more before going to bed each night.
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Old April 3 2012, 09:05 PM   #12
Temis the Vorta
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

What you're describing is fun when you're playing a game and actively participating. That's very different from what's fun when you're only an observer and not a participant. There needs to be "hooks" to a story to keep a passive audience engaged, stuff like "so what's the deal with the Cylons?"
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Old April 3 2012, 09:12 PM   #13
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
What you're describing is fun when you're playing a game and actively participating. That's very different from what's fun when you're only an observer and not a participant. There needs to be "hooks" to a story to keep a passive audience engaged, stuff like "so what's the deal with the Cylons?"
That's why I see any Mass Effect series being set during one of the other conflicts in the lead up to the game trilogy. That way there's a clear focus for how the story would unfold and there could be all sorts of commentary. The Rachni War/Krogan Rebellion would be good fodder for that, since there's a lot of politics involved and room for morally ambiguous material.
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Old April 3 2012, 09:15 PM   #14
Temis the Vorta
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

What's interesting about the The Rachni War/Krogan Rebellion? If it's like DS9's Dominion War, that's a point in its favor.
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Old April 3 2012, 09:22 PM   #15
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: What if a 'Mass Effect' TV series were made?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
What's interesting about the The Rachni War/Krogan Rebellion? If it's like DS9's Dominion War, that's a point in its favor.
Krogan rebellions - however, I'm not much the wiser for reading that nor am I motivated to invest my time and money in playing the game(s) or reading the tie-in novels.
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