Netflix is developing a new live-action Death Note, and the project has already fixed the 2017 version's first big mistake. Following the success of Stranger Things season 4, volume 2 on Netflix, the streaming platform announced that it would continue to work with producers Matt and Ross Duffer through their new production company Upside Down Pictures. The announced Duffer Brothers projects for Netflix include, among other things, a Stranger Things spinoff and a Death Note live-action TV show.
This will be the second American live-action version of the popular anime and manga. The first was the 2017 Death Note movie, also a Netflix production, directed by Adam Wingard (Godzilla vs. Kong). The Netflix film was poorly received by both critics and those who had already read the Japanese comic or seen the Death Note anime, and it currently stands at just 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Death Note movie repeated classic Hollywood anime adaptations mistakes, including (but not limited to) non-Japanese actors for the lead roles and major changes in the story in order to fit in a traditional three-act action-packed film.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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However, the very first mistake of Netflix's 2017 live-action Death Note was to make it a movie. Death Note was conceived in a serialized format for the manga, something that was continues with the Death Note anime's 37 episodes. Death Note's story involves dozens of characters, sees several twits, and spans more than five years. Not only that, but Death Note is much more about long-term mind games than it is about spectacular action like Naruto or Dragon Ball Z, and thus it works much better in a TV format. Trying to adapt such a convoluted story into a 100-minute movie as the Netflix Death Note movie tried in 2017 would never work, and that is why it is great news that the next live-action Death Note will be a TV show.
Duffer Brothers' Death Note TV Show Can Fix Pacing Issues
No matter how good a director or a team of writers is, adapting a story as big as Death Note in just one movie would result in a flawed project. As a comparison, the first Japanese live-action Death Note adaptation happened in the form of a series of movies, followed by a new TV show in 2015. All those examples were much better Death Note iterations than the Netflix live-action anime adaptation, even though they also made changes to the source material. A longer runtime, whether in the form of a TV show or a series of movies, is one of the first requirements for the story of Light Yagami and L to work, which helps explain why the 2017 Netflix Death Note movie failed. Now, with the announcement of the Duffer Brother's Death Note for Netflix, the streaming platform can fix its first and fatal error with the 2017 movie.
Death Note is not that difficult of a story to be adapted, especially when compared with other classic anime like One Piece and Naruto. That said, Death Note's slow pacing is one of the reasons why the investigation of Kira is so entertaining, and thus it should be preserved in any live-action version of it. Netflix has not given up on anime adaptations, and it is currently working on a live-action One Piece, but it is still not possible to say if the new live-action Death Note project will be successful. Regardless, it is exciting to know that it will be a TV show rather than a movie — an important first step in adapting the famous anime.