Battlefield is one of the most successful first-person shooter franchises of all time. The anticipation for the upcoming entry, Battlefield 1, is at a fever pitch. So now is the best time to go for that sweet brand integration and attempt to conquer multiple media platforms! Paramount Television and Anonymous Content are pairing up to bring a Battlefield television series to the small screen.
Let me start with the positives. First, the show will be executive produced by Michael Sugar. This guy has a solid track record with Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick and the Oscar-winning Spotlight under his belt. Also, the Battlefield brand is wide enough to incorporate any number of stories. The vast timeframe of the games could even lend itself to a generational story that charts how war has changed (and stayed the same) throughout the ages. If you get the right showrunner guiding things, you could end up with something that’s truly special. But there are warning signs as well.
Battlefield isn’t a series that is known for having immense narrative weight. It’s an excuse to shoot your friends and strangers in cool locations with even cooler weapons. Will a Battlefield show actually try to tackle the hardships and emotional costs of war? They might but at the end of the day, this is a property whose sole purpose is to make war exciting. Doing the whole “war is hell” schtick or examining the moral quandaries of war is going to feel disingenuous when the next scene is a thrilling, fist-pumping action sequence. I doubt we’ll be getting the television equivalent of Spec Ops: The Line.
The best case hope for the show is that it would use the brand name to sneak in something that’s a little more subversive. Battlefield doesn’t have a deep roster of memorable characters or sacred mythology that cannot be deviated from. The narrative potential is practically limitless. I only hope that it’s in service of a story that can transcend the simple idea of, “Wasn’t it cool how he shot/stabbed/blew up that guy?” If I want such base pleasures, I’ll go play a video game.
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