Netflix has premiered its live-action version of the manga/anime Death Note, and the reaction from fans has been pretty volatile. While it's arguable which elements of the Death Note Netflix movie work, and which don't, there's been one bit of consensus: the film seems to cram too much story into too little space.
Right now, the talk about if/how the Death Note Netflix franchise should continue is going strong, and for our part, we have a suggestion that we think a lot of other fans will agree with.
Here's why Death Note Needs to be a Netflix series instead of a movie.
Death Note's premise was presented first in manga and then anime, and there's a reason those formats have served it well. It's not hard to see why: the premise of being able to kill whomever you wrote into a mystical book of death comes with a lot of trial, error, and slow-burn character arc that is much better suited for an episodic series rather than a two-hour movie.
Besides the fact that seeing a character figure out and use the Death Note would be better in stage-by-stage format, the fact that the book can pass from one owner to another creates the opportunity for multiple seasons or even an anthology format that could present very different circumstances and perspective for each Death Note holder.
Another point of positive consensus regarding the Death Note Netflix movie is that for all its deficiencies, is Willem Dafoe's portrayal of Shinigami (or "death god") Ryuk.
This Death Note Netflix movie barely scratches the surface of the Shinigami lore and all the rules that go with it; however, a Death Note Netflix series would be able to get into all of that, and bring Dafoe's Ryuk along for the ride.
The thing about Death Note is that it isn't just a small story; it's an entire mythology. The Death Note, the Shinigami, and even the saga of Light Yagami in the manga/anime is much more extensive then the introductory appetizer we got in the Netflix movie.
A Death Note series could actually dip into the longer story of cat-and-mouse between Light and "L," and the more extensive story of the Task Force hunting Kira. Once the original source material ran out, a series could take a page from he U.S. version of The Office and begin to tell its own American culture-themed stories while still exploring the larger mythology established by the source material.
That's all to say: instead of trying to imitate anime, a Death Note series could actually be used to expand the lore of the franchise, while also exploring it in much deeper fashion.
The Final Destination film series made a franchise hook out of elaborate kills by some unseen hand of fate. Death Note operates in much the same way, and the creative ways of using the Death Note to kill could provide an equally good hook for a series.
Like the ending of the Death Note movie, these kill sequences could provide plenty of surprises and twists - especially if they follow the blueprint of the original manga/anime.
Death Note is now streaming on Netflix.