Video games are crossing over into the world of TV like never before. Netflix has The Witcher, Showtime is betting big on its upcoming series Halo, and the most high-profile HBO in development has to be Craig Mazin’s adaptation of The Last of Us. There’s still one uber-popular video game that is just begging for an adaptation. It’s not just one of the best games of 2020, but it comes structurally tailor-made for TV. Quite frankly, Netflix is stupid if it doesn’t make a Hades show.
Hades is a “roguelike” action roleplaying game following the literally rouguish god Zagreus as he attempts to escape from hell. If Zagreus isn’t a familiar name to you, that’s because he’s a lesser-known Greek deity with a couple of different origin stories. The Supergiant video game leans into Aeschylus’s version of the god and casts him as Hades’s disaffected son. In Greek mythology, Hades drew the short lot of the Olympians, making him the Lord of the Underworld. Zagreus, by virtue of his birth, is also stuck in this Cthonic prison…or is he? Can he escape Hades or is he doomed to die an infinite amount of deaths?
The point of Hades quite simply is to try to escape hell, only to spectacularly die, and start all over again. Zagreus needs to escape Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and the Temple of Styx to face down his father in a final boss battle. Aiding him on this journey are a variety of Olympic deities offering him “boons,” aka power upgrades, Underworld gods, and a few friendly shades.
The joy of Hades is twofold, though. Not only are the dungeon runs super fun button-smashing fight sequences, but each run deepens the myriad of storylines Hades juggles. Key performance upgrades are only available after investing significant time talking with these characters, so skip the small talk at your peril. However unlike other games where NPCs (aka non-playable characters) can grate on one’s nerves with their one-dimensional talking points, Hades magically makes you incredibly invested in all of Zagreus’s relationships. So much so I’m at a point in my play-time where I had to walk away for a spell because I was so upset at the idea that I would have to soon have to decide which of Zagreus’s romances I’d pursue. (I’m sorry! I love Megaera and Thanatos and Dusa.)
Photo: Supergiant Games
Furthermore, where other games give the player a simple objective of beating a boss, Hades complicates matters. Zagreus and his father’s final battle is less a good versus evil showdown than the culmination of father’s secrets and lies. In fact, each run you embark on doesn’t just give you the opportunity to get closer to the final battle; it also gives you clues explaining why Zagreus is stuck in Hell in the first place. With each dungeon run, the emotions of Hades go deeper and hit harder. Soon you’re not playing to beat a boss, but help other characters find closure.
The truth is while other video games are tough to adapt, Hades feels tailor-made for TV. The whole structure of play is episodic, opening with Zagreus interacting with gods, shades, and monsters in the House of Hades, and then embarking on a run. Once Zagreus dies, he returns to the House of Hades, where he reckons with what he learned on the last run before trying again. The further he gets, the more emotionally invested we are, and the more I’m screaming at the screen that I need to see this story on TV!
Specifically, I think Hades is a no-brainer for Netflix. It’s not just that it could be a great title to fill the gap in between seasons of The Witcher, but Netflix isn’t afraid of sex. And Hades is horny. The Olympian gods flirt with Zagreus (and bicker with each other). Key plot-lines follow failed romances between legendary warriors Achilles and Patroclus and Zagreus’s own love triangle. A proper Hades adaptation could be a raw mix of bloody action, creepy horror, hilarious jokes, and yes, sexy times for all.
So this is my fervent plea: Netflix, make a Hades show already.
Originally published at https://decider.com/2021/02/23/netflix-make-a-hades-show/ on .