Detective Pikachu

Inverse Codex

Can Netflix’s live-action Pokémon recapture that Detective Pikachu magic?

Will this show be another terrible anime adaptation?

Legendary Pictures, The Pokémon Company

Netflix is reportedly developing a live-action Pokémon show.

Variety dropped the news in late July 2021, noting that “sources” have confirmed the series is in the early phases of production, though Netflix has yet to confirm this.

Assuming this report is accurate, it raises a lot of questions about its release date, cast, and which monsters we’ll see in the flesh. Live-action anime and video game adaptations notoriously have a history of poor critical reception, with few exceptions throughout the years.

We’ve gathered as much information as possible to answer some of those questions below. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming live-action Pokémon Netflix series.

When is the live-action Netflix Pokémon series release date?

Detective Pikachu is a leading example of a video game/anime live action adaptation done right. Legendary Pictures, The Pokémon Company

According to the report, the series is still “in its early days,” so it’s tough to say when it’ll be ready to watch on Netflix. Typically, TV series like these take several years to produce from inception to release, so you shouldn’t expect to watch this anytime soon.

Consider Netflix’s The Witcher series, which was announced in May 2017 and then debuted in December 2019. The live-action Pokémon series could follow a similar timeline, which is to say we may not see the first season until 2024.

Who is producing the Netflix Pokémon series?

Joe Henderson is set to write and executive produce the upcoming Netflix Pokémon show. Henderson is best known as the co-showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s Lucifer, which gearing up to conclude later in 2021.

Henderson doesn’t have a history of producing live-action video game/anime films, but given Lucifer’s positive reception, it’s possible the Pokémon show will be of a similar quality and following.

Is there a Netflix Pokémon series trailer?

The upcoming live action Netflix Pokémon show will likely be similar to Detective Pikachu in presentation. Legendary Pictures, The Pokémon Company

Since the show is in the early stages of development, there isn’t a trailer or even a screenshot of what it’ll look like. Considering it’ll be live-action, we imagine it’ll be similar to Detective Pikachu in its presentation, with CGI Pokémon alongside real actors.

What will the Netflix Pokémon series be like?

It’s tough to say what the show will be like when it’s all said and done. But if Detective Pikachu is any indication, the Netflix show will likely be something like that. Other live-action anime adaptations like Dragon Ball: Evolution, Death Note, and Ghost in the Shell received less than stellar reviews — and while Detective Pikachu wasn’t that much better, it was a step in the right direction.

Anime adaptations like those listed above have a history of low quality, but live-action video game films are even worse. Films like 1993’s Super Mario Bros., 2005’s Doom, and 2002’s Resident Evil are prime examples of poor quality, with dozens of others released throughout the years. Filmmakers have nailed lots of different types of adaptations from other mediums, but live-action video game and anime films are exceptions.

Thankfully, the Netflix Pokémon show will have the benefit of a longer runtime than a movie, allowing for more character development. Shows like Netflix’s The Witcher and Castlevania proved that interesting characters can shine through if they have more time to breathe on screen.

Hopefully, the series will stick closely with the source material so as to not alienate longtime fans. Since Pokémon is such a popular franchise across various mediums, it’s feasible to find a production crew that knows the series well enough to adapt it to live-action, just like Detective Pikachu.

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