Mass Effect is one of those game series that many fans would love to see made into a movie; however, I think to capture all the great things this trilogy has to offer it would be best suited for a TV show. With shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, television has become a serious form of entertainment and a way for more original ideas to be seen by people, without having to rely on box office performance. Mass Effect should be handled carefully, having so many options in the game, the creators would have to be very careful in what aspects of the games they choose to bring in. I will point out what I think some of the necessary things are to make a Mass Effect show not just successful, but meaningful. Plus, having it as a TV show would give plenty of time for story, having a full season for one game as opposed to two to three hours.
1. The Right Commander Shepard
In the first game, Shepard is made a Spectre because the Galactic Council says they embody the best of humanity. To represent this, Shepard needs to be relatable and likable. Although there are two paths you can take in the game, renegade and paragon, the shows Shepard should follow the paragon path because the renegade path mainly involves being a racist A-hole.
2. The Right Background
Shepard also needs a compelling background. In my playthroughs of the first game, my favorite background options are the Colonist and Sole Survivor options. The Colonist option has Shepard living on a colony on the planet Mindoir until the colony was wiped out by slavers and Shepard's family and friends were all killed when Shepard was only sixteen. In the game, this option comes with what, in my opinion, is one of the best side-quests in the game and definitely something that should be included in a TV episode. "I Remember Me" is the name of a quest where a recently rescued slave, taken in the same attack that killed Shepard's parents is threatening to commit suicide. Severely traumatized, the young girl, named Talitha, must be talked down before she shoots herself. This quest is very emotional and can show a side of Shepard that isn't grand gestures and heroic deeds, but rather someone who deep down really cares about people. Moments like that are the moments that will make people love Shepard, similar to how people loved Steve Rogers before he became Captain America because of all the little things he did.
The Sole Survivor option would be best for a TV show because it would make people empathize with Shepard and, similar to the "I Remember Me" story, would show the more human side of Shepard. In the Mass Effect wiki, the sole survivor is described as follows: "During your service, a mission you were on went horribly wrong. Trapped in an extreme survival situation, you had to overcome physical torments and psychological stresses that would have broken most people. You survived while all those around you fell, and now you alone are left to tell the tale." Shepard's entire unit, consisting of fifty people, were all killed by a Thresher Maw on the planet Akuze.
Having a Shepard who suffers from PTSD because of this background would not only lead to some great character development, but also give representation to people who suffer from PTSD today. People are tired of 'perfect' heroes who never falter and are asking for more complex characters with their weak moments, that makes it all the more exciting and makes us cheer even more for them when they get back up. On several missions, you have the opportunity to fight a Thresher Maw, these attacks are all sudden and unexpected. Imagine Shepard and her crew driving around a desolate planet when all of a sudden, a horrible monster bursts through the ground and begins attacking.
Shepard sees it and screams in terror then freezes while the rest of the squad takes it down. Later on the Normandy, we see Shepard in Dr. Chakwas' office going through a therapy session, these sessions could be repeated after various events in Mass Effect 1 and will lend a great deal to Shepard's growth as a person. This quest also gives us an insight to Cerberus, an organization that plays a very important role in Mass Effect 2 and 3. Shepard also fights a Thresher Maw in Mass Effect 2, now imagine Shepard freezing at first, but then being able to get past their shock and take it down. That would be a huge moment of personal triumph and would show the viewers just how far Shepard has come.
3. A Female Shepard
Having Shepard be female is a must. There are plenty of male sci-fi protagonists out there and way too few female ones. People are demanding more and more female protagonists and with the success of Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa in [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445), Marvel fans asking for a Black Widow movie, the renewal of Marvel's Agent Carter, and the upcoming Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel movies, why not have a female Commander Shepard?
4. The Right Choice
In the first game, on the planet Virmire, Shepard must leave one of her two human squadmates behind to die while saving the other.
Ashley Williams should be the squadmate who is saved. Not only would Kaidan's death have a bigger impact since Shepard would know him the longest, but his character is more dull I think than Ashley's.
5. Save the Council
There are some moments in movies or shows that are so epic they just make us cheer. When Hal Solo swoops in to save Luke at the end of A New Hope,
the Rohirrim's charge in Return of the King,
Ripley saving Newt,
the Hoist the Colours scene in Pirates of the Carribean 3,
and many many more. Well, get ready to add one more to that list. Saving the Destiny Ascension is one of the most epic scenes in the Mass Effect trilogy, and fits in very well with theme of 'what humanity has to offer' and the Normandy leading the charge is the icing on the cake. Having this choice as opposed to letting the council die will add much more to the plot and will make for an amazing scene.
Now imagine that in your season one finale.
Please for the love God have Wrex survive Virmire, he's one of my favorite characters and having him live would lead to a great reunion in Mass Effect 2.
7. The Team
Shepard's team needs to have a sense of camaraderie, they have to become like a family, similar to the crew of the Serenity in Firefly. To do this, there have to be scenes where everyone is interacting together, and not in combat, in a relaxed environment; like eating dinner or playing poker. People will have their differences but what will be enjoyable is seeing the crew overcome those differences and not just work together but appreciate each other.
This could also show the racism present in Mass Effect, mainly towards krogans and quarians. The show could even depict crew members like Ashley and Pressly overcoming their racism.
Of the romance options available in Mass Effect, the show should portray, at least in the first season, the romance between Shepard (female) and Liara T'Soni. Whether this romance is continued throughout the series or not, having a same sex relationship portrayed would be great representation, and in my opinion is the best written romance in Mass Effect 1 and the one that feels the most genuine.
The show would need a lot more things obviously, these were just the first things that popped into my mind. I will be making a Mass Effect fancast that should be up soon so keep your eye out for that.
Thoughts? Please let me know below!